2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited
2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited. Click image to enlarge

Related links
Hyundai Elantra on Autos.ca

Manufacturer’s web site
Hyundai Canada

Review and photos by Greg Wilson

Photo Gallery:
2011 Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai is on a tear. If you hadn’t noticed, the new Hyundai Sonata, Tucson, Elantra sedan and Accent have all been dramatically re-shaped in the past couple of years and the reaction has been generally positive. Still, major styling changes are always a bit of a gamble: they can backfire if the styling is seen as too trendy, overstated, or perhaps even ugly – just ask Acura! While handsome new styling is often the easiest and most cost effective way to attract new customers, bad styling is also the easiest way to lose them.

But you can’t argue with Hyundai’s sales numbers: since its introduction in December, the new Elantra has shot to the top of its class, a considerable achievement when you consider that its main competitors include Canada’s (formerly) best-selling car, the Honda Civic, the popular Toyota Corolla and Mazda3, and a host of other worthy compact sedans and hatchbacks.

While the 2011 Elantra might look like a “baby Sonata”, we think its sculpted bodywork, flowing form, and wraparound head and tail lights work better in this smaller package. The Elantra is tighter, leaner, more cab-forward with shorter front and rear overhangs. It has presence.

2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited
2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited
2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited. Click image to enlarge

The general kerfuffle over its styling has overshadowed other important changes to the Elantra, primarily its new, more technologically advanced 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine that offers improved acceleration and excellent fuel economy, new six-speed transmissions, improved handling and fun-to-drive factor, and its very competitive price.

Pricing and standard equipment

In Canada, base 2011 Elantra L models, for example, start at $15,849, and include standard six-speed manual transmission (replacing a five-speed), 15-inch tires and steel wheels, four disc brakes with ABS, electronic stability and traction control, power windows (with driver’s automatic down feature), power door locks and power, *heated mirrors, height-adjustable driver’s seat, USB/auxiliary ports, CD/MP3 player and six speakers, and six airbags. A six-speed automatic transmission (replacing last year’s four-speed) is another $1,200.

GL models ($17,999) add 16-inch tires, air conditioning, telescopic steering wheel, keyless door unlocking and alarm, heated front seats, audio controls on the steering wheel, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, and cruise control.

GLS models ($19,799), segment-first heated rear outboard seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, sunroof, alloy wheels, fog lights, and XM satellite radio.

Limited models ($22,699), like this week’s test car, add a standard six-speed automatic transmission with “Shiftronic” manual mode, leather seats and leatherette door inserts, automatic climate control, 17-inch tires and alloy wheels, pinch protection in the power windows, sliding centre armrest, and automatic headlights. Limited models also have a chromed lower front grille with black surround.

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