The Final Quarter
August 07, 2012
By Kirill Ougarov
| Photos Motor Trend Staff
May was an unusual month for me, in large part because I spent a relatively small amount of time in themy trusty Hyundai. A comparison test, an Aston Martin Virage, and a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, among others, got in the way -- what can I say, it's a hard -knock life. Though the Elantra is no $200,000+ exotic, it does have one thing going for it that some of the exotics don't: an easy way to listen to my tunes, something I grew to take seriously thanks toduring years of a painfully long collegiate commute while in college.
It's no secret that mass-market automakers tend to be much better when it comes to consumer-oriented features (exhibit A: Ford), but the contrast between the Elantra's crisp high-resolution screen and intuitive interface and the Virage's hacked-in Garmin and clunky circa-2006 interface would be hard-pressed to be more stark. Even the AMG's COMAND system gives some ground to that of the Hyundai. Before you scroll down to the comments section to light me up for having the gall to make the absurd comparison between six-figure exotics and a humble compact runabout, keep in mind that I'm just comparing this one particular aspect that has more to do with an automaker's tech savvy than the quantity of cylinders in the car or anything else of the sort.
On an unrelated note, the Elantra's stay with us is entering its final stretch -- at the time of this writing, there's with just less thanroughly two three months left before it's time for it to heads home to Hyundai. Though it's unlikely to wow any of us in an unexpected way during these last few weeks, it is just as unlikely to create any more fresh sour impressions and unless somebody takes it for another long trip, its also unlikely to need another visit to the dealer thanks to its 7500-mile service intervals. As for the inevitable fuel economy question, I'm blaming the traffic. In Kim Reynolds' recent six-way of the current crop of 40 mpg compacts, the Elantra hit 36.2 mpg -- 3.2 mpg higher than the EPA's combined figure and well above out city-dwelling Elantra's average mpg - on roads well outside of Los Angels and free of the pervasive gridlock and periodic leadfooting..