Used Vehicle Review: Hyundai Elantra, 2007 2010 used car reviews hyundai
2007 Hyundai Elantra GL Comfort. Click image to enlarge
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Review and photos by Chris Chase

Originally published on December 9, 2010; updated December 13, 2012

The importance of compact cars means that very few designs in this class languish for more than five or six years. Even that’s a change from the 1980s and ’90s, when many little cars were redesigned every four years. The Hyundai Elantra, though, never followed that four-year cycle, being redesigned every six years at the most.

So, call me surprised when, just four years after its previous redesign, a fifth-generation Elantra arrived in Hyundai dealers.  It looked like a solid improvement over the outgoing, fourth-gen model. That doesn’t mean that that fourth-gen car, introduced for 2007, isn’t good in its own right.

The 2007 Elantra arrived with dramatically different styling, but a largely carried-over drivetrain. The engine was an evolution of Hyundai’s “Beta” 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, a motor that, in one form or another, had powered Elantras since 1995. In this car, it made 138 horsepower and 136 lb-ft of torque. Lower trims could be had in either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, while higher trims (GLS and/or Limited, depending on model year) came strictly with the automatic (until 2010, when every trim could be optioned with the manual).

Fuel consumption ratings in 2007 were 8.4/6.0 L/100 km (city/highway) with the manual transmission; choosing the automatic dropped the city rating to 8.2 L/100 km. In 2010, Hyundai made some changes that helped lower fuel consumption to 8.1/5.7 L/100 km with the manual or 7.8/5.8 with the automatic. An Elantra Blue trim, that came fitted exclusively with the manual transmission, boasted figures of 7.8/5.6 L/100 km.

Used Vehicle Review: Hyundai Elantra, 2007 2010 used car reviews hyundai
2007 Hyundai Elantra GL Comfort. Click image to enlarge

There’s little to report on the reliability front for this fourth-generation Elantra; Consumer Reports’ (CR) used vehicle data suggests that there are no serious issues to look out for.

No serious issues, but a couple of smaller things to be aware of. A number of owners posting at Hyundai-Forums.com talk of trunks that open on their own. This seems to be limited to cars with the remote trunk release function that allows the trunk to be opened via a button on the key fob.

A clunking noise from the rear end heard over rough roads is related to a suspension problem noted by CR. See this thread at Hyundai-Forums.com for more information. There are a number of comments at TrueDelta.com suggesting that in some cases, this noise is not a suspension problem at all, but is caused by rear window glass that comes loose in its tracks and rattles over rough roads.

TrueDelta.com also shows a few complaints about a bad transmitter in the key fob that prevents the car from starting.

The Elantra earns the same Better/Much Better Than Average overall reliability rating as the class-benchmark Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. It’s strange, then, that the Elantra is left off of the publication’s “Recommended” used vehicle list, while the Civic and Corolla are on it.

Used Vehicle Review: Hyundai Elantra, 2007 2010 used car reviews hyundai
Used Vehicle Review: Hyundai Elantra, 2007 2010 used car reviews hyundai
Used Vehicle Review: Hyundai Elantra, 2007 2010 used car reviews hyundai
2007 Hyundai Elantra GL Comfort. Click image to enlarge

Crash tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) yielded mostly good results, but it bears mentioning that U.S. Elantras were fitted with standard side and head curtain airbags, while these items were optional in Canadian cars.

From the IIHS, the Elantra earned a “good” rating in frontal offset crash tests, but 2007-2009 models scored “marginal” in the side impact test, thanks to a high likelihood of injuries to the front seat occupant. Hyundai waited until the 2010 model year (production beginning in November 2009) to make changes to the car to improve performance in this test, after which point it scored a “good” rating.

From the NHTSA, the 2007 Elantra scored five stars for driver and front passenger protection in frontal crash testing, and four stars each for front and rear-seat occupant protection in side impact tests. The changes made for 2010 models didn’t affect the NHTSA’s scores.

Despite the massive strides that Hyundai has made in the quality of its vehicles, of which this generation Elantra is a prime example, resale values remain lower than those for key competitors like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

Those lower values make this Hyundai a terrific bargain for basic transportation in a car that offers far more comfort and performance than smaller cars (the Honda Fit, a subcompact that nonetheless trumps many larger cars in utility, is worth almost as much, if not more, than the Elantra, depending on model year). Take the usual precautions when shopping for a used Elantra – look for a car with maintenance records and that passes an inspection by a trusted mechanic – but going by this car’s record so far, there shouldn’t be much to worry about.

Online resources
Only one Elantra-related site I found has a section dedicated to the fourth-generation Elantra, and that’s Hyundai-Forums.com. ElantraXD.com is mostly specific to the third-generation car, but not exclusively. ElantraClub.com covers all generations, as does HyundaiPerformance.com.

Recalls

Transport Canada Recall Number: 2009120; Units affected: 67,976 (Including Accent, Elantra, Entourage, Santa Fe, Sonata, Tucson, Veracruz models)

On certain vehicles, the stop lamp switch may have been incorrectly installed during vehicle assembly. This could prevent proper brake lamp operation. Failure of the brake lamps to illuminate when the brakes are applied may result in the following road users being unaware of the driver’s intentions, increasing the risk of a crash causing injury or death. A malfunction of the switch may also cause the brake lamps to remain illuminated when the brake pedal is released. Additionally, a faulty switch may affect the operation of the brake-transmission shift interlock on automatic transmission-equipped vehicles so that the transmission shifter would not be able to be shifted out of PARK position. It may also cause the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) light to illuminate, and it may not deactivate the cruise control when the brake pedal is depressed. Correction: Dealers will replace the stop lamp switch assembly.

Transport Canada Recall Number: 2008302; Units affected: 8,541

On certain vehicles, the stop lamp switch may have been incorrectly installed during vehicle assembly. This could prevent proper brake lamp operation. Failure of the brake lamps to illuminate when the brakes are applied may result in the following road users being unaware of the driver’s intentions, increasing the risk of a crash causing injury or death. A malfunction of the switch may also cause the brake lamps to remain illuminated when the brake pedal is released. Additionally, a faulty switch may affect the operation of the brake-transmission shift interlock on automatic transmission-equipped vehicles so that the transmission shifter would not be able to be shifted out of PARK position. It may also cause the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) light to illuminate, and it may not deactivate the cruise control when the brake pedal is depressed. Correction: Dealers will replace the stop lamp switch assembly.

Crash test results
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.For information on recalls, see Transport Canada’s web-site, www.tc.gc.ca, or the U.S. National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA)web-site, www.nhtsa.dot.gov.For information on vehicle service bulletins issued by the manufacturer, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.For information on consumer complaints about specific models, see www.lemonaidcars.com.

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