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The 2011 Hyundai Elantra Wins Motor Trend's Compact Car Comparison
The following are exerpts from Motor Trend Magazine's Compact Car Comparison test. The 2011 Hyundai Elantra was number one.
By: Jennifer Paine
Below are excerpts from the Motor Trend Magazine comparison test of 8 compact sedans. Despite the tough competition, Hyundai was named Number one, the winner in the test.
Corolla, Civic, Focus...you know the names, but do you know the numbers? Last year, these three sold nearly 700,000 compact cars combined in the U.S., a staggering sum for a slowly recovering economy. This year, analysts expect sales for the entire segment to reach approximately 1.7 million, making it one of the most fiercely contested battlegrounds, and the ideal subject of our latest comparison test.
Since Japanese automakers defined this segment, we took their top-three-selling models (Toyota Corolla, the all-new ninth-generation Honda Civic, and Mazda3) and put them up against the top two from America (Ford Focus and Chevy Cruze) and Korea (Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte). We also included Germany's best-selling C-segment model, the Volkswagen Jetta.
Just what does it take to appeal to the masses in America?
Well, take a spin through the specs and note the many similarities. Each vehicle represents its brand's attempt to crack the C-segment code, so there is little variance when it comes to basic dimensions and standard features. For this test, we wanted to compare nicely equipped volume-sellers in the low $20,000 range, but not all the manufacturers were able to fulfill our requests.
All eight vehicles had four-cylinder engines, automatic transmissions, front drive, alloy wheels, and stability control, but there was more variance than we'd hoped for when it came to optional equipment. To help equalize these differences, we focused on the more practical attributes of each vehicle and balanced elements like value, efficiency, ride comfort, and styling against performance and driving pleasure.
In trying to be so many things to so many people, do some manufacturers lose their way? Indeed. So, with all respect due to Gang Starr, let's see who is losing the race for mass appeal..
1st Place: HYUNDAI ELANTRA
When MC Guru (RIP) and DJ Premier came together in 1994 to produce "Mass Appeal," the seminal, bass-backed discourse on the evils of trading authenticity for popularity (also known as selling out), they most certainly were not explaining how to build America's best C-segment sedan.
Yet the song's theme matches the Hyundai Elantra's secret to success: Keepin' it real. In this case, really stylish, authentically sophisticated, and content rich. Check it out: The Elantra achieved no distinction on our spec charts; it was not the fastest nor the lightest, not the cheapest nor best at the pump. Yet when it came time for our judges to discuss which vehicle should finish on top, the capable and charismatic Elantra was always in the mix without diesel-ringer rancor or anti-Civic animosity.
"Wow, Hyundai's done a great job here. The Elantra's styling is a welcome addition to the copy/paste mindset," said Lago. Others found the atomic guppy styling modern and fresh, if busier than the staid Civic, leering Mazda3, and starched-collar Jetta. Inside, however, the Elantra was king. "I hate tan interiors, and I was still impressed with this. This cheap Hyundai is better inside than some Lexuses," noted Febbo.
When it came to ride quality, Elantra marries the lightness of the Japanese sedans with the big-car comfort of Jetta and Cruz."The Elantra's ride is easily the most comfortable of the bunch: smooth, quiet, and well-controlled. If I had to drive one of these cars from San Francisco to Los Angeles, this would be my hands-down choice," said Jurnecka.
Sure, there were complaints, primarily about an EPA-certified 29/40-mpg fuel economy number that we did not come close to replicating. Among the gas burners, the Elantra's 25.9 mpg in mixed driving was solidly midpack. Our crew also wished for a bit more crispness in the handling dynamics and steering.
"Definitely not a sport sedan as there is more body roll than the others on turn-in. It grips pretty well and the chassis is composed, but you can tell it's not meant for high-g cornering," said Evans.
Also obvious is the breadth and value of the Elantra Limited's standard equipment, which includes a power sunroof, Bluetooth connectivity, and heated front and rear leather seats-all for only a bit more than Civic money. ("Seriously?
Lassa offered a 35,000-foot view: "Closest to the ideal of what a modern compact needs to be if Americans are really going to downsize their sedans. Compacts don't need to look or feel cheap."
And the Elantra certainly does not.
"Compared with every other car here, the Elantra feels grown-up and sophisticated,"
The All-New Hyundai Elantra is available at Gartner Hyundai (http://www.gartnerhyundai.com) in Aurora, IL. Visit us today on Ogden Ave, just one block west of Route 59, to experience for yourself why the Hyundai Elantra is Motor Trend's Top Compact Sedan.
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Gartner Hyundai Saab is one of the largest Hyundai and Saab Dealers in the Chicago Market. Located in Aurora, IL, Gartner has been in business for over 31 years. We carry both large New and Pre-Owned inventories, which allows us to give YOU low prices!