NEW FOR 2009:

– All-new model

A new model for 2009, the Hyundai Elantra Touring shares its name and engine with the Elantra sedan, but is built on a different platform. In other world markets, it’s known as the i30. It takes the place of the Elantra Hatchback, last seen for 2006.

All Touring models use a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, with five-speed manual transmission or available four-speed automatic. Trim lines are the L, L with Preferred Package, GL, and GL Sport.

Features on the L include 15-inch steel wheels, CD/MP3 stereo, floor mats, power locks, power windows with driver’s auto-down, rear washer/wiper, and cargo hooks.

The Preferred Package adds air conditioning, keyless entry, anti-lock brakes, side and curtain airbags, active front head restraints, and heated front seats.

The GL adds heated power mirrors, tweeter speakers, centre console with armrest, illuminated vanity mirrors, manual driver’s seat height and lumbar adjustment, trip computer, fog lamps, cruise control, tilt and telescopic wheel, cargo cover, windshield wiper de-icer, and 12-volt power outlet in the cargo area.

The Sport Package adds 17-inch alloy wheels, CD/MP3 stereo with USB, auxiliary and iPod control, exterior temperature display, power sunroof, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, cooled glovebox, and rear spoiler.

With its long wheelbase, wide track and suspension tuning, the Elantra Touring feels sportier and handles better than its sedan sibling; although it isn’t the most powerful engine in its class, it feels peppy and the package is tight and nice to drive. The ride is firm, but the suspension is quiet over bumps. Its huge storage area makes it as handy as some small SUVs for carrying cargo, but it would be nice to see more safety features in all models, especially as electronic stability control is standard or optional on the i30 in almost all other markets.

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