For more information on the latest Hyundai compact sedan, including safety, performance, styling, utility, and features, see our full review of the 2013 Hyundai Elantra sedan.
Hyundaiís Elantra has been available in the U.S. since 1992, at first offering a competent compact sedan or wagon package for a bargain price. Today, the lineup consists of an Elantra sedan, the 2012 North American Car of the Year, and two new models for the 2013 model year, an Elantra Coupe and an Elantra GT hatchback
Over the four generations of the carís development, the Elantra has grown slightly in size and hugely in recognition, earning top picks and awards in its latest iteration, against competition like the Honda Civic
, Toyota Corolla and Nissan Sentra.
Angular Front Exterior View - 2010 Hyundai Elantra 4-door Sedan Auto GLS PZEV
The first two generations of the car, which covered the period from 1992 to 2000, were, like most Hyundais of the era, minimalist, often cheaply built, economy cars. After 2000, the Elantra made great strides toward mainstream levels of equipment and quality, including standard front and side airbags, power locks, air conditioning, and power windows. Redesigned again in 2007, the last-generation Elantra and Elantra Touring offered even more room, more powerful and efficient engines, and standard safety features like electronic stability control, brake assist, side curtain airbags, active head restraints, and all-disc anti-lock brakes.
With that 2007-2010 model, Hyundai managed to earn a new level of respect for reliability and resale value--even against stalwarts like the Civic and Corolla. This Elantra was offered in just three trims, with the Limited model available from 2001 to 2006 cut from the lineup. The GLS and SE trims were complemented by the Blue, a special fuel-efficiency-focused version of the sedan available only with a five-speed manual transmission. The Elantra Touring was only available in GLS and SE trims.
For 2011, Hyundai introduced a new Elantra sedan, the first of what would become a family of cars. With a radically different design, the sedan builds on the automaker's "fluidic sculpture" theme seen on the larger Sonata. On the Elantra it has a slightly more athletic look, and a stylish new interior, that gives it a more dynamic stance. Power comes from a new 148-hp, 1.8-liter engine, and with weight reduced, the model gets a 40-mpg highway figure across the entire lineup. While these models aren't especially enjoyable to drive, they're well-equipped small sedans
, with refinement a step above past efforts, and wind and road noise much improved.
The Elantra sedan offers some standout options like touch-screen navigation with real-time traffic and weather, a rearview camera system, and heated rear seats. Safety features are strong; although crash-test results were a mixed bag in its first model year, the latest Elantra is an IIHS Top Safety Pick and now achieves an overall rating of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe
The 2013 model year marks the introduction of a new Hyundai Elantra Coupe, as well as a Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback. The Coupe model is more directly related to the sedan, sharing much of its body structure, suspension and steering components, and drivetrains. Like the sedan, it's technically a mid-size car, with good interior room and a swoopy two-door look all its own that's reminiscent of the smaller Honda Civic Coupe
and Kia Forte Koup. With the same 148-hp four and choice of six-speed transmissions, the Coupe earns EPA gas-mileage ratings of up to 29/40 mpg when equipped with a manual transmission; with the automatic gearbox, it's pegged at 28/39 mpg. Standard features include a 172-watt audio system, satellite radio, and a USB port; options include navigation; Bluetooth; a rearview camera; pushbutton start; heated leather seats; and automatic climate control.
2013 Hyundai Elantra GT
The Elantra GT, in contrast, has more in common with the compact Hyundai hatchbacks sold in Europe. It's related to the Elantra sedan and coupe, but has its own bodywork that's about 9 inches shorter overall, with sharp fastback styling with some overt Mazda3
cues. The interior isn't quite the same as that in the other models: the dash is shallower, without the hourglass shape that defines the center stack of controls. Powertrains are shared, but the GT doesn't quite hit the 40-mpg mark, with a 39-mpg rating earned by both the manual and automatic transmissions. The GT does have its own rear suspension design, and a three-mode electric steering rack that offers added heft, though effort isn't variable. Priced just under $20,000, the GT comes with standard satellite radio; a USB port; power windows, locks, and mirrors; steering-wheel audio controls; Bluetooth; and cruise control. Options include a panoramic sunroof, a sport suspension, leather seats, and a navigation system.