Vehicle Type: Compact Car

History/Description: On my advice, my mother bought a 2011 Hyundai Elantra. It was that, or a Honda Civic, and the logic was simple: for the money she wanted to spend, she’d have an older, higher-mileage and more basically-equipped Civic, short a safety feature I wanted her to have: ESC.

As it was with my mom’s new-to-her ride, the Elantra has a blend of higher-than-average feature content and lower-than-average pricing that make it a compelling buy, both new and used.

This generation Elantra launched for model-year 2011, and was a success. Among a number of accolades, it was the first compact car in almost ever to get within just 200 units sold of the Honda Civic in a given month.

Feature content included Bluetooth, heated leather, a sunroof, steering-wheel audio controls, auto-off lights and plenty more, depending on the model selected.

Engines/Trim: At launch of this generation Elantra, all models were four-door, four-cylinder and front-wheel drive.

A coupe and hatchback Elantra GT variant became available too. All units got a 1.8L four-cylinder engine, good for 148 hp at launch, though a 2014 update saw a 2.0L unit with direct injection become standard kit, bumping power into the 170’s. All transmissions were six-speed units, with manual or automatic available, depending on driver preferences.

What Owners Like: Owners commonly praise the Elantra’s looks, ride quality, a robust and durable feel from the suspension, decent mileage, peppy performance and a nicely laid-out interior. Typically, good safety scores and high standard equipment levels attracted shoppers to the Elantra, with highly reasonable pricing sealing the deal.

What Owners Dislike: Typical gripes centre around an engine that’s noisy when pushed, limited rearview visibility on account of the Elantra’s low roofline, and limited headroom on models with the sunroof. Some drivers also complain of poor high-beam performance, and here’s a little write up on how to fix it, if you’re a do-it-yourselfy sort of gal or fella.

Here’s a look some owner reviews.

The Test Drive: Filtering through countless pages of reported issues and weeding out ones that could have been, or were, caused by poor maintenance was a particular challenge in this write up.

Here’s my assessment.

Test drivers are advised to check all four tires for signs of excessive wear, and interestingly, sidewall bubbling, on any used Elantra they’re considering, as many owners have reported durability concerns from factory tires, though this can be attributed, at least partially, to locale and maintenance. When checking for sidewall bubbles, which compromise the integrity of your tire and can negatively impact safety, remember that tires have an inner sidewall, which could be damaged, too.

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