2012 Car of the Year, the Hyundai Elantra, Gains New Models

     The Hyundai Elantra was named the North American Car of the Year at the 2012 North American International Auto Show.  A major reason is that it is a compact car that gets very good mileage, 40 mpg highway.  The price is reasonable in the compact segment.  Also, it has many nice tech options like an excellent navigation system, heated front and rear seats, iPod/USB connection, proximity key, and Bluetooth.  You also get a powertrain warranty of 10 years and 100,000 miles.  The excellent features and warranty make it a good value in the compact segment.  Since the Elantra has emerged as a great car, it’s worthwhile to see what you get with other models within the Elantra lineup.

Pulpit rock

Recently, Hyundai unveiled a coupe and hatchback version of the Elantra, their four door compact sedan.  The Elantra Coupe is a two-door model, which will compete directly against Honda’s Civic Coupe.  The Elantra GT is a five-door model that will compete directly against models like the Ford Focus hatchback.  The Elantra lineup will have three models, the sedan, coupe, and hatchback, which will be great for a variety of buyers.

Elantra Coupe

Pulpit rock

The Elantra Coupe is the two-door version of the Elantra.  It is very similar to the current Elantra Sedan because it has many of the same features.  It has the same Fluidic Sculpture design as the sedan.  The Elantra Coupe is offered in two trim levels, the GS and SE.  The rear of the Elantra Coupe features dual exhaust tips, and the SE version gets a rear spoiler and a sport-tuned suspension.  Much of the same cabin tech as the sedan is offered in the Elantra Coupe, like navigation, Bluetooth, heated seats, etc.  The coupe has a 1.8 L inline-4,  producing 148 horsepower and 131 foot pounds of torque, as seen on the sedan.  Both a 6-speed manual and an available 6-speed automatic are offered.  The Active ECO system on the automatic transmission models can help improve fuel economy by around 7%.  Fuel economy is rated at 29 city/40 hwy/33 avg for manual gearboxes and 28 city/39 hwy/32 avg for automatics.  We do not know the price of the Hyundai Elantra Coupe yet.  We will find out when it hits showrooms in spring of 2012.

Elantra GT

Pulpit rock

The next entry into the Elantra lineup is the Elantra GT.  The GT is a 5-door or hatchback Elantra, which will replace the rather dull-looking Elantra Touring.  The GT looks a lot nicer with the Fluidic Sculpture design Hyundai’s been using on many of their latest cars.  The Elantra GT has exceptional room inside and nice touches like a cooled glove box, Bluetooth, heated front leather seats, navigation, etc.  It’s got much of the same tech as the coupe and sedan.  The Active ECO technology is offered on models with the automatic transmission, just like the coupe and sedan.  Interestingly, there is a Driver Selectable Steering Mode.  This allows you to change the steering feel from comfort to normal to sport, depending on what type of driving style you want.  Just like the coupe and sedan, the GT offers the same 1.8 L inline-4, producing 148 horsepower and 131 foot pounds of torque.  You’ve also got the same gearboxes, either a 6-speed manual or an available 6-speed automatic.  Both gearboxes result in fuel economy of 28 city/39 hwy/32 avg.  This being a hatchback, it’s got plenty of cargo space.  We will have to wait to find out pricing of the Hyundai Elantra GT when it hits showrooms in summer of 2012.

In sum

I think the new Elantra models are worth checking out.  I think Hyundai has made a smart move by adding two additional models to a car of the year, because their sales will rise with new types of models.  If buyers prefer two doors, or they need more cargo space, the coupe and hatchback provide that.  I would recommend buying the coupe or hatchback if you are looking for a nice, reasonably priced compact car.

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