We recently received a 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring into the Top Speed test fleet. Starting at only $17,800 this Vivid Blue beauty is easily one of the most stylish Korean cars we have seen in a while. The Korean design team has hit a home run with the new car’s flowing curves and strong character lines that highlight the Elantra Touring’s broad stance and stretched wheelbase. We love the dual finish 17 inch rims and appreciate that Hyundai equipped our car with a B&M sport shifter to send the 138 HP and 136 lb-ft of torque from the 2.0 Liter DOHC CVVT ultra low emissions four cylinder engine to the front wheels. The Elantra Touring gets as much as 23 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway.
Our car came equipped with the $1,500 Premium Sports Package that not only included those rims we liked so much, but also a large power sunroof and heated seats. The audio system consisted of an AM/FM/XM radio complete with in dash CD player and auxiliary input for MP3 connectivity. Despite the car’s compact footprint, there is tons of storage space inside of the roomy interior; in fact it has the most interior volume of any five door model in its class, 125.5 cubic feet to be exact. The Elantra Touring represents a return to the compact five door segment for Hyundai and offers class leading standard safety technologies like Electronic Stability Control with Traction Control, ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist as well as the peace of mind that comes from having six standard airbags.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time with the Elantra Touring, not only was it attractive but it was fun to drive as well. If the automaker from the free half of Korea can continue to build cars of this caliber and offer them at the same competitive price points, the rest of the manufacturers around the world will have to take an even closer look at Hyundai as their newest competitors.
Continued after the jump.
One of the first things that attracted our eyes to the 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring that we tested was its Vivid Blue paint job that instantaneously told us that this little Hyundai had character. We were also attracted to the Elantra Touring’s design that combines the practicality of a wagon with a sporty hatchback in one fun package. The Korean engineers team carefully sculpted quite a few flowing curves into the front end that in turn create a host of sharp lines that direct your eyes from the chrome trim on the grill all the way to the back of the little five door hatchback.
Not only is the body attractive but also tasteful, whereas most automobile manufacturers have a tendency to add a little too much jewelry and bling to their creations, the Elantra’s design team was able to use just enough of the reflective material on the front bumper to dress up the car without overdoing it. Another area where that chrome appliqué came in handy was with our car’s 17 inch rims that come equipped with the $1,500 Premium Sports Package. In theory adding strips of brilliant polished metal to a painted piece sounds like a horrible idea, usually an automaker or even the aftermarket will come out with a piece that combines both light and dark elements to create an interesting contrast, but there is just something about our bright blue Elantra Touring’s playful personality that makes this very unique set of rims well worth the extra expense.
When our editorial staff first sat inside the Elantra Touring, we were amazed at just how spacious the cabin is, especially considering the Hyundai’s rather small footprint. The Premium Package that brought our sweet 17 inch rims also adds a power sunroof and heated seats to the Elantra’s interior, which was particularly interesting considering that they are wrapped in cloth, a feature offered by few automakers. The in car entertainment system serves up tunes in the form of an AM/FM/XM radio complete with in dash CD player and a very convenient AUX input for any digital audio storage device that you may own, and despite the Elantra’s economy car character the sound quality was superb.
Thanks to the Elantra’s touring body style there is a plethora of storage options. The trunk offers a hidden shelf underneath the floor and plenty of storage with the back seats up and a whole lot more when they are down. In fact, our Vivid Blue Hyundai offered 65.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the rear seats folded down which is more room for your personal items than many larger wagons and even a few crossovers.
As much as we loved the Elantra Touring, we are not trying to say that it came without any faults. The shifter offers a reverse lock out feature, which is nice, but on our model the knob would remain engaged even after you let go of it. This made it a chore to find first gear at times and wouldn’t be such a big deal except that it is one of the first things that you will experience inside the Hyundai; that is if you have to back out of a parking space. The only other foible that our crack team of automotive experts could find was the blue LCD screen in the center stack, it was only clearly visible from head on and faded out from any other vantage point. It was a constant reminder that we were driving around in an economy car. If Hyundai was willing to spend only a few dollars more per model they could add an incredible sense of class to the Elantra Touring.
The Elantra Touring is powered by an ultra low emissions 2.0 Liter 16 valve four cylinder engine that thanks to continuously variable valve timing makes a maximum output of 138 HP and 136 lb-ft of torque and go from 0 to 60 MPH in a relaxed 8.1 seconds. Those 17 inch wheels that we raved about so much were wrapped in rather sporty low profile Kumho Solus KH16 tires sized 215/45. These high performance doughnuts were a big help to the Hyundai’s handling, working with the sport tuned suspension to give the Elantra a bit more grip in the turns. The Elantra’s 14 gallon fuel tank gives the efficient Elantra a range of up to 420 miles getting as much as 23 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway. Speaking of fuel efficiency and highway driving, the Elantra Touring was designed to have a low coefficient of drag which means that you will go farther and experience less outside noise when traveling at speed.
The five speed manual transmission was one of the other features that led us to fall in love with the Elantra; there is absolutely nothing worse than a mildly powered economy car that makes use of an extremely sloppy slush box. Hyundai has a history with the aftermarket manufacturer B&M Shifters and has previously featured their high performance products straight from the factory. The Elantra Touring is no different, however B&M are known for making some of the best short throw units on the market, the distance between the gears on our model led us to believe that this one could be a little tighter.
Why to buy
At $17,800 the Hyundai Elantra Touring is an affordable attractive vehicle with plenty of cargo space and a few key creature comforts that go a long way to making it an extremely user friendly vehicle, not to mention that it was extremely fun to drive and comes loaded with standard safety features. If you are looking for a quality car that can not only transport you and your family but whatever cargo you can throw at it without breaking the bank, the Elantra Touring is for you.
Why not to buy
The Hyundai Elantra Touring is indeed an economy car, which means that there will be no ultra high end interior nor turbocharged power plant under the hood. What you do get is a great car at a good price, but if Korean cars aren’t your cup of tea then consider other models from that side of the Pacific like the Toyota Matrix or the much smaller Mazda3 .