2008 Hyundai Elantra Limited
2008 Hyundai Elantra Limited. Click image to enlarge


Review and photos by Michael Clark

Photo Gallery: 2008 Hyundai Elantra

Winnipeg, Manitoba – Meet the new Elantra. Same as the old Elantra? The easy answer to that question is ‘Pretty Much’, which has to be expected for a design that bowed some 12 months previous. However, the Elantra redo has yet to feel the fury of my flying fickle finger of interior debate. This week, the not-so-bad finger is aimed squarely at the new Limited trim level, which was previously known as the GLS. Full option whack still doesn’t mean angina attack for the top juice Elantra, with a total MSRP of $24,540, plus fed and Your Backyard taxes. Is the wallet dent Heaven-sent, or just plain bent?


Cabin

Controls: Tactile Supreme! Whether it’s the steering wheel-mounted cruise and audio control tabs, or the power window switches with driver’s auto-down, the Elantra has an invoice of Sweet Zip in the Apologies Department. The Limited includes a telescopic thrust for the tilt column.

2008 Hyundai Elantra Limited
2008 Hyundai Elantra Limited. Click image to enlarge

An Auto-setting HVAC system seems delightfully out of place in this price segment, with a cool-blue display array. A prime example for an inner engineering nod is the power sunroof. It is one of the cleanest operations for a slider of any vehicle, which makes it all the more rare for this particular bag of Loonies. The simple gauge layout is relative to many current Hyundai models. The trip odometer display includes average speed, and a reset-capable litres-per-100 kilometres fuel consumption tally. Mirrors are power-positionable, with the heat treat, as well as breakaway-style for parking lot bumps.


Convenience

2008 Hyundai Elantra Limited
2008 Hyundai Elantra Limited. Click image to enlarge

I haven’t had this many useful pockets since my cargo pants, circa 1989. The front door side pockets have a provision specifically labeled for a water-size bottle. By the way, the inserts on the door panels are real leather. The console box has an upper tray, with a healthy underlid pocket for maps or notepads. The dual cupholders each use four spring-loaded cinchers to grab your favourite standard-sized bevies. The dash-top covered cubby has a removable rubbery tray, which makes clean-up a snap, especially for us Brainiacs who place frozen chocolate bars inside to warm them under the Sun’s rays, then leave the car for eight hours parked at the beach. (This is a dramatization and may not have happened to an actual press car.) There’s an open cubby below the audio system, which makes for a perfect drop-spot for an MP3 player. The Elantra has finally captured the elusive and wiley MP3 jack for Oh-Eight.

2008 Hyundai Elantra Limited
2008 Hyundai Elantra Limited
2008 Hyundai Elantra Limited. Click image to enlarge

There are two 12-volt DC powerpoints ahead of the shifter. You’ll find an additional cubby North of the powerpoints, with a privacy door. Now your funky cell phone can get some shut-eye.

A rear armrest folds down from the centre, revealing two cupholders with rubber nib catches. Front seatbacks possess see-through mesh pockets. Visors include lighted vanity mirrors, with extenders for maximum glare control. A spring-loaded flip-down hook lives on the wall of the passenger-side IP stack. It’s good for a purse, or possibly the ‘murse’ carried by another CD journalist, who will remain nameless. Speaking of flip-down, the passenger-assist handles on the roof possess luxo-dampening, and integrated coat hooks in the rear. There’s a dedicated flip-down sunglass holder, near the upper sunroof controls. Glove-box size is reasonable for the segment.


Seats

The Limited is the only Elantra trim level to be awarded leather seating surfaces.

2008 Hyundai Elantra Limited
2008 Hyundai Elantra Limited
2008 Hyundai Elantra Limited
2008 Hyundai Elantra Limited
2008 Hyundai Elantra Limited. Click image to enlarge

Front seats are one-step heated, with a manual height control lever for the driver. The rear 60/40 split seats are dumped forward from the trunk-mounted pull handles only.


Fit and finish

Be afraid, Toyota. Be very afraid, because Hyundai’s quality control is getting that good.


Safety features

In addition to the usual frontal assault of explosive pillows, the Elantra Limited uses front-seat side impact airbags, and roof-mounted curtain airbags fore and aft. Latch points for child seats are clearly marked and accessible. The Limited uses front active head restraints, and shingle-style units in the rear, adding to rearward vision when not in use.


Spare/Trunk/Cargo

The trunk cavity receives impressive finishing, with the only exceptions being the lack of Velcro catches to keep the carpet in place during seat fold-down, and a trim finisher for the underside of the trunk lid. There are two easily-opened hatches for tail light access. The emergency spare tire uses a Styrofoam-style biscuit to retain all of the jacking tools, which should eliminate any rattles. Roadside assistance is offered for three years, with no kilometre limit. The rear seatbacks have been treated to a hard plastic surface, which should be more durable than synthetic fuzzies. There are minimal angle issues with the seats folded forward for cargo.


Engine

The plastic engine cover has been tossed for 2008, revealing a clean layout for service access on the Elantra’s 2.0-litre mill. All of the fluid check and fill points are clearly marked, even colour-coded. Headlamp bulb replacement won’t drive you to drink.


Clarkey rating

This particular trim level for Elantra should be rebadged ‘Unlimited’; that’s how good all of these goodies feel. A five-star showing.

Special thanks to Focus Hyundai, Winnipeg, for their supply of this week’s Inside Story feature vehicle.

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