By on August 27, 2009

In a very short time, Hyundai has made an amazing transformation from basket case to the automotive equivalent of a “nice girl”—dependable, easy to live with, and undemanding. But can Hyundai get its nice girls to do tequila shots and dance on tables from time to time? The conventional wisdom was that the much-heralded Genesis sedan and coupe would be the Hyundais that buck the trend, but they were variations on the same old Hyundai theme. As it turns out, the rebel Hyundai is an unlikely one—the Elantra Touring, a five door hatchback version of the Elantra sedan. Unlike the sedan, which has all the excitement of C-SPAN, the European-developed Touring has the same eager, quick-to-corner, drive-me-until-I-cry-uncle feel that you normally find in a Mazda 3, with the interior space of a midsize sedan and hatchback practicality tossed in as part of the deal.

Aside from some slick-looking 17-inch chrome-trimmed alloys, you wouldn’t know from looking at it that the Touring wants to have fun. It’s a tall-boy five-door hatchback, à la Scion xB and Toyota Matrix, albeit one that’s been super-sized. There are some neat styling touches, like the aforementioned wheels, and a Volvo-esque taillight treatment, but otherwise, the Elantra Touring’s styling restates a familiar theme.

Inside, a simple but stylish interface greets the driver; the seating position is high, as in a Ford Focus, with excellent sight lines all around. Simple, no-nonsense instrumentation and ergonomics highlight the interior, which is tastefully trimmed in high-quality, soft-touch materials that wouldn’t look out of place in a Volkswagen. Workmanship inside and out was notably high quality, with tight panel fits and a neat, well-sorted look.

Like most Hyundais, the Touring is comprehensively equipped: in addition to the stuff you expect (power windows and locks, cruise control, etc.), the test vehicle featured a power moonroof, heated seats, a useful multifunction trip computer, a short-throw B&M 5-speed, and an integrated satellite-ready radio. Two especially neat features: an optional ($325) hands-free Bluetooth system and a standard USB/iPod interface that allows the user to control the external device from the dash-mounted sound system. For the record, these two items alone cost about $1,000 on the average BMW.

The Touring’s interior features an overabundance of charcoal-colored trim, but the large, glassy greenhouse lends a light, airy feel. Rear seat passengers are treated to a well-shaped seat with vast headroom and legroom—more legroom, in fact, than the midsize Sonata. The rear seats feature a 60/40 split, and fold down fully; the molded-plastic rear floor folds up to reveal a padded, segmented storage area. All this would make the Touring an excellent weekend companion for family getaways or trips to Home Depot.

Fire up the Touring, and you’re greeted with an eager growl from the 2.0-liter, 138 hp four-banger, which is shared with the sedan. The engine features variable valve timing, and revs eagerly, but it feels a bit overwhelmed with the Touring’s 3,080-pound curb weight, and the thrumming under the hood reminds you where Hyundai didn’t spend its money. On the other hand, the B&M hort-throw shifter is a real pleasure to use, and the powertrain returned excellent fuel economy, even under spirited driving—the standard trip computer indicated a very respectable average 29 mpg.

Driven hard, the Touring reveals its European-designed roots with quick, linear steering, minimal body roll (especially for a vehicle this tall) and an eager attitude. The ride is somewhat firm but never harsh. On the highway, the Touring takes a firm, direct set, tracking straight as a laser. At higher speeds, some mechanical noise intrudes, but wind noise is minimal, and the seats are comfortable and supportive. Overall, this would be a fine vacation hauler for a young family. Taken as a whole, the Touring’s dynamic qualities are reminiscent of a Volkswagen Jetta or Mazda 3, and it’s light-years better than its dull-as-dishwater sedan cousin.

Of course, the Touring is a Hyundai, so it’s going to be value-priced—$19,625 for the fully-loaded example I drove. A comparably equipped Mazda 3 will run at least three grand more. And the surprises keep coming here. Hyundai resale values have improved to the point where the Touring can actually be leased.

All this adds up to a pretty compelling package—a spacious, well-equipped, practical, fun-to-drive runabout with plenty of attitude. And if the Touring is underpowered, at least it doesn’t know it. Here’s hoping this is the first of many Hyundais to add driving pleasure to its value proposition.

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73 Comments on “Review: 2010 Hyundai Elantra Touring...”


  • avatar

    I’ve been wanting to drive one of these. Could it be a contender to replace my Protege5?

    Must say this is the first time in recent memory I’ve read a review of a front-drive Hyundai where the shifter was praised. Usually this is a weak spot. European influence?

    On the handling front, I don’t find ANY of the current crop as fun to drive as my Protege5. They’re all larger, and insulate the driver more from what’s going on. I suspect the same is the case here. But maybe not?

    Because this car isn’t closely related to the sedan, TrueDelta will track its reliability separately. So far we’re halfway to the minimum sample size–more owners needed (for all cars):

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar

    I’ve seen a few of these on the road, but the styling is just…off. I think the sedan looks better, but I appreciate the utility of the wagon.

    Excellent sight lines and an airy greenhouse…that’s a features you can’t get on many modern cars for any price, and one that’s much more useful that backup cameras and beeping sensors.

    If it had the turbo 4 from the Genesis coupe that would be nice.

  • avatar
    rockit

    This review reminds me of the Kia Forte review- it sounds a lot like a newspaper review. Not one negative thing was said, and no clever writing is found.

  • avatar
    r129

    When I first heard about the Elantra Touring, I was hoping we’d get the slicker hatchback version of the i30:

    http://www.hyundai.co.uk/newCars/i30/exterior/

    Instead, we received a version of the “i30 Estate”, which although more practical, is a bit more frumpy. I think the hatch version would have drawn in more potential VW Rabbit/Golf and Mazda 3 buyers, especially now that the styling of the Mazda 3 is… let’s just say questionable.

    Even though this seems to have the right driving dynamics, its styling makes me think it would be cross-shopped against the Matrix, xB, and maybe even the Kia Rondo. And those buyers don’t care how it drives.

  • avatar
    shaker

    HEY! I’m the owner of a “dull as dishwater” Elantra Sedan…

    And I can agree with some of your points. As it is, I wanted to buy the Touring, but I couldn’t wait until it became available.

    Oh, and around Pittsburgh, there are no 5-Speeds to be found.

    Next year, if they upgrade the motor to DI with maybe 20-30 more HP, that may give me a reason to have a peek at one; they also have to upgrade that 4-speed auto pretty soon as well – that’s so like… last century.

    Edit: Oh well, maybe not – the Touring has the same front legroom as the sedan; a sore spot with me.

  • avatar
    twotone

    Another winner from Hyundai. Too bad about FWD though.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Malibu Maxx reincarnated:

    http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1419/1141785522_143253094a.jpg

  • avatar
    Orangutan

    I drove an Elantra Touring right after testing out a Kia Soul a few months ago. I went into the test-drives thinking I would prefer the Elantra Touring but came away impressed with the Kia and underwhelmed with the Hyundai. The two basically share their powertrains but the Soul has much more personality (even soul, you might say) inside and out. I appreciate the cargo volume of the ET and the telescoping steering wheel but otherwise the Soul wins out in my book. Both would be much better vehicles if they used modern powertrains instead of the antiquated four-speed automatic and the weak and thirsty 2.0 I4. Give them the 2.4 and 5-speed out of the new Forte and restyle the Hyundai to be a bit more interesting and they’d be winners in most every respect. I’m going to test out an Elantra Touring again soon to see if my initial drive was mistaken but I’ll wait on getting one until they drop their prices with the next year models (which they’ve announced they will). Right now the Soul is a cheaper, more interesting version of the Elantra Touring.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Nice review – it’s good to see that small wagons aren’t completely dead in the US market. However, I would have to disagree about the handling comparisons with the Mazda3. I found the Elantra wagon much softer and less precise than the last generation Mazda3 (I haven’t driven the 2010 yet).

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    This really is a good car, but it really ought not have been a Hyundai. Kia should have gotten it as it fits what they’re trying to do with that brand in North America.

    But it is good. The space is excellent, like most tall, European wagons the seating is top-notch: I’m not sure, but the seats actually seem reminiscent of the excellent ones in the Rondo. I don’t think Mazda has a whole lot to worry about, nor does Subaru, but If I were to pick a car that this will put the hurt to, the Matrix comes immediately to mind. The Hyundai beats it six ways from Sundays in everything except fuel economy.

    The other car it could contest, though, is the aforementioned Rondo, and that is a problem. The five-seat Kia is only a little bigger, but not a whole lot more versatile. Hyundai seems to have a real problem sorting out who it is versus Kia in North America. I don’t think they have a good idea, as the products have been really scattershot (Genesis coupe: Hyundai, Tiburon: Hyundai, Borrego: Kia, Accent 3 door: Hyundai, Rio sedan: Kia, Amanti, Kia) as of late. They need to sort this out and fast.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I’ve been wanting to drive one of these. Could it be a contender to replace my Protege5?

    As a fellow (if former) owner, I’m going to say no. It’s more sophisticated in it’s ride (like the first Focus, the Mazda3 and the Golf/Rabbit). It’s not the fun-loving (if very jittery) go-kart the P5 was.

    I don’t think you’ll ever get a car quite like the P5 again. Mainstream buyers aren’t going to put up with a suspension like that, not when you can get better absolute handling and ride with a more modern chassis.

  • avatar
    nmcheese

    Ah – didn’t know they were importing the wagon – thought the closest the US would get is the Tuscon. In any case – my experiences with various rentals of the sedan version have been positive. In my opinion it looks understated enough, it has an impressively quiet and nice interior, comfortable seats, enough power and capable but not exciting handling. It is not fun enough for a car hooligan, but for a normal commuter or small family car it fits the bill perfectly.

  • avatar
    menno

    Yes, a direct injection engine for better MPG’s and more power; a five or even six cog automatic for those of us who’s other halves won’t drive stick; and something OTHER than a charcoal color for an interior choice would put this on my radar to replace my Prius.

    I’m moving away from hybrids. It’s driving me insane to watch the MPG meter down at least 10% now that I can’t get anything except E10 to fuel it.

    I’ve switched to Tier 1 fuel (in my area, this means Shell and Shell only) but it’s still E10 and the Prius treats the ethanol as completely invisible.

    I was down 15% on MPG’s now it’s “only” 10% down; during the winter it was down as much as 25% on E10 compared to real 100% gasoline.

    I can use a calculator and have figured out that yep, for my next ride, I’ll spend a lot less up front and more on the fuel. Given the fact that my imbecilic state charges annual plate costs on the new car price, this also puts hybrids at a disadvantage.

    Hyundai cars don’t get as badly “dinged” as many others, on E10. My wife’s 2009 Sonata and our prior 2007 Sonata (both 4 cylinder cars) “only” lose about 6% MPG on E10. This is the best results I’ve seen in 30 years of testing cars.

    E10 is a disaster. Between 40 and 200 gallons of aquafer water per gallon of ethanol so that many cars can simply waste it? Unreal.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Another winner from Hyundai. Too bad about FWD though.

    What were you expecting? It’s an economy car, putting AWD or RWD would drive up the price, weight, and fuel consumption while severely compromising interior space. That wonderful rear-seat space would vanish if it had to accomodate a longitudinal engine and driveshaft, while the rear diff and suspension would chew trunk space.

    I know it pains enthusiasts to think this, but front-drive is the best choice for something like 95% of what people do.

  • avatar
    dwford

    This is a hot car. These became the car of choice for the C4C customers. The 2009′s sold out quick – at full sticker. Now the 2010s come out with lower MSRPs. Should be a great year for this car. Too bad about the 4 speed automatic. Totally changes the character of the car vs the stick.

  • avatar
    segfault

    Needs a refined and quiet 200+ horsepower engine and a five or six speed auto.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    Like almost all front drivers, too much nose overhang

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Needs a refined and quiet 200+ horsepower engine and a five or six speed auto.

    Again, it’s an economy car.

    Be thankful we get the 138hp unit. Europe gets a 60hp 1.1L that will get you to from 0 to 60 eventually. Even the 2.0L diesel is pokey.

    I think we’re getting out of touch. A 200hp base-trim economy car is stretching the concept of economy. Honda has trouble selling the Civic Si, while VW and Subaru have to resort to turbocharging and a much higher price. And then there’s the MazdaSpeed3.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    Gotta say, this is a pretty neat car. Someone in my office purchased one a few days ago and getting an up-close look at the styling had me intrigued to say the least. Have yet to drive one but if the car drives as good as it looks, I’d place ir right up there with the Mazda3 in terms of handling and quality.

    The fact that the engine is the only downside to the vehicle (a slight one at that) makes this a compelling choice and one that anyone in the market for a solid hatch should look at the very least, look into. Wonder if the Genesis Coupe’s turbo 4 would fit? Would make for a great looking sleeper.

  • avatar
    segfault

    @psarhjinian:

    I’ll revise my statement: Needs a refined and quiet optional 200+ horsepower engine and a five / six speed automatic (which every other car in its class already has).

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Looks like a very nice vehicle for around $17-18k.

  • avatar
    rockit

    That this goofy thing does not even offer a 5 speed automatic, just a 4 speed is just crazy.

  • avatar
    Toyondai92

    We’re looking into one of these to replace- I mean supplement our 2000 Elantra Wagon. (My father’s the drive-it-’til-it-dies type. Which at 120K, doesn’t look like any time soon.) Needless to say, this review’s encouraging.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    @segfault: 200hp+ compact wagon? There are hardly any compact wagons in stateside to begin with, because hardly anyone wants one.

    rockit: Hyundai’s not the only one with a 4AT in this class, increased cost with minimal performance/fuel economy improvement. Toyota’s low-end lineup comes to mind.

    I’m beginning to think that North American wagon enthusiasts are to TTAC as cryptozoologists are to biologists at a retreat. They’re longing for a beast long gone, imaginary, or both, but hoping that their coelacanth is just around the corner. And vocal about it.

  • avatar
    pb35

    Slightly OT but I rented a Sonata for my trip to Long Island last week. I was going to ask for something else but decided to have a “no worries, mon” attitude this trip so I didn’t complain.

    What a nice surprise! The best part was that it had an AUX port for my iPod. That’s all I really care about! I was ready to turn it in after 4 days, however.

    This wagonlet looks like a nice little piece.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    segfault: I’ll revise my statement: Needs a refined and quiet optional 200+ horsepower engine and a five / six speed automatic (which every other car in its class already has).

    rockit: That this goofy thing does not even offer a 5 speed automatic, just a 4 speed is just crazy.

    Many economy cars offer a four-speed, and just about all of them did until a year or two ago.

    If you buy a base Matrix (this car’s competition), it comes with a 4AT. So does the Focus, Cobalt, and Impreza. Up until last year, so did the Mazda3. The Sentra and Calibre use CVTs. Only the Civic, Rabbit and upper-trim versions of the Corolla have five or more gears in their automatics and they cost more as a result.

    While I think there’s something to having more gears in a compact—CVTs work well in this class—there’s no sin in making a car that tracks the content of the competition. As long as the transmission is smart (if it’s the same four-speed as the Rondo it will be) and the fourth gear is nice and tall (it is) then it’s a moot point as far as the buyers of this car are concerned.

    Again, I have wonder about the split personality of TTAC’s readership. It’s an economy car. We as a group whine endlessly about the feature creep that’s made modern cars heavy and expensive, and the virtues of tin-can compacts of the 1980s but also bitch about a lack of power or gears or AWD or whatever.

    I’m reminded of the Acura TSX or Scion xB. People complained endlessly about the insubstantial build, low power and general lack of upmarket feel versus their premium competition. So both cars get revamped, adding what people whined for, and now they’re reviled. So what do we want?

  • avatar
    paulie

    rockit
    No clever writing…?
    “Unlike the sedan, which has all the excitement of C-SPAN”

    Nothing negative…?
    “it feels a bit overwhelmed with the Touring’s 3,080-pound curb weight, and the thrumming under the hood reminds you where Hyundai didn’t spend its money.”

    I for one appreciate that there isn’t negativity for negativity sake alone.
    I get that feeling a lot when reading reviews on TTAC.
    So this is a good thing.

    And never a real Hyundai guy, I also appreciate there being yet another attempt at a hatch into our market.

    The one thing this car does miss, for me, is the rakish rear. Too much wagon/van her.

    That’s why I so love the 3 hatch.

  • avatar
    dean

    psar: I think we just want to complain.

    I just bought an ’07 Mazda 3 hatch. Too bad I didn’t see this review first or I might have checked this out.

    No regrets, though.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    psarhjinian

    Humans are just a bunch of whiners.

    Sure, with the TSX I’d want more power while preserving the light and quick nature of the vehicle. The RDX’s turbo 4 fitted that bill but apparently Honda got the message a little skewed.

    The xB was just right (the 1st gen) but the Toyota Americanized it, thus killing it’s quirkiness.

    That’s it right?….Americanized?

    Yup

    • 0 avatar
      xbiatch

      Yes, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Toyota has killed the scion xb with extra bloat. I love my 05 xb. for the size, the interior space is as good as it gets, the handling is sharp, seat height is between a car and truck so it’s easy in and out, even the exhaust sounds good. My only advice to toyota… keep the boxiness, just make it longer and a tad wider, like a baby ford flex. my wife is a bit cramped between the two baby seats in the back. Maybe I’ll go to a limo bodyshop and have it stretched. Anybody want to start a XB club? my dream is to see a ton of us first gen xb’s on the road together.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    SupaMan- USA-thenized? It might work.

    Take care.

    Bumter

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Orangutan :
    August 27th, 2009 at 12:27 pm
    I drove an Elantra Touring right after testing out a Kia Soul a few months ago. I went into the test-drives thinking I would prefer the Elantra Touring but came away impressed with the Kia and underwhelmed with the Hyundai. The two basically share their powertrains but the Soul has much more personality (even soul, you might say) inside and out. I appreciate the cargo volume of the ET and the telescoping steering wheel but otherwise the Soul wins out in my book. Both would be much better vehicles if they used modern powertrains instead of the antiquated four-speed automatic and the weak and thirsty 2.0 I4. Give them the 2.4 and 5-speed out of the new Forte and restyle the Hyundai to be a bit more interesting and they’d be winners in most every respect. I’m going to test out an Elantra Touring again soon to see if my initial drive was mistaken but I’ll wait on getting one until they drop their prices with the next year models (which they’ve announced they will). Right now the Soul is a cheaper, more interesting version of the Elantra Touring.

    Thanks for pointing that out – I hadn’t realized these two cars share components. It would make sense that the Soul does better with the same engine – it weighs about 300 pounds less than the Hyundai.

  • avatar
    ajla

    @psarhjinian:

    I really don’t think it’s unreasonable to complain that Hyundai is not even offering the 2.4L 5-spd auto combo or the high-MPG 2.0L 5-spd auto setup for the Elantra Touring.
    ——
    The Elantra Touring is not a mega-cheap economy car. Look at the price/powertrain rundown with its stable-mates:

    $18,600- entry price of the Elantra Touring with the 2.0L 4AT.

    $19,900- entry price of the Sonata with the 2.4L 5AT.

    $18,950- entry price of the Optima with the 2.4L 5AT.

    $17,900- entry price the Soul! with the 2.0L 4AT.

    $18,195- entry price of the Forte SX with the 2.4L 5AT.

    $18,090- entry price of the Forte EX with the 2.0L 5AT.

    All these cars from Hyudai/Kia get 25 (Optima and Sonata) or 26 MPG combined- except for the Forte EX which gets a very nice 30 MPG combined.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    dean :
    August 27th, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    psar: I think we just want to complain.

    I just bought an ‘07 Mazda 3 hatch. Too bad I didn’t see this review first or I might have checked this out.

    No regrets, though.

    I haven’t driven the new-gen 3, but if it is powered like the last-gen model, it’ll eat the Elantra for lunch. On the other hand, the chassis dynamics of the Touring are really good – they remind me of the 3, in fact – and the interior space is incredibly impressive.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    What’s in front of the driver looks nice and clean, however I don’t know why center consoles have to be designed by JVC boom box engineers.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I really don’t think it’s unreasonable to complain that Hyundai is not even offering the 2.4L 5-spd auto combo or the high-MPG 2.0L 5-spd auto setup in the Elantra Touring.

    I’d say they have a pretty good excuse: the 2.0L four is not bolted to a five-speed anywhere in Hyundai’s global offerings. There’s a serious cost inherent in that.

    You’re right that offering the 2.4L (which does come bolted to the 5AT) might help, but the don’t even offer an engine of that size in the European i30, which may make it a tricky fit. At least Hyundai isn’t pulling an Astra and sticking this car with a unique (read: hard to find) European-only powerplant just so we can get an automatic.

  • avatar
    ajla

    @psarhjinian:
    I’d say they have a pretty good excuse: the 2.0L four is not bolted to a five-speed anywhere in Hyundai’s global offerings. There’s a serious cost inherent in that.

    The Kia Forte EX offers a 156hp (18 more than the Elantra Touring) 2.0L I4 attached to a 5-spd auto. It gets an EPA 27/36. I don’t understand why Hyundai didn’t acquire that setup from Kia for the Elantra family.

    I think from a marketing standpoint, it looks bad to have the Forte offering more power, more gears, and higher fuel economy than the Elantras. Not to mention, one can get the 2.4L 5-spd on the Forte SX.

    IDK, maybe I’m over-thinking it and shoppers won’t really care.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Does the ET have the aluminum-block Theta engine, or the old iron not-quite-a-4G63-clone Beta mill?

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    With every new car Hyundai has released over the past few years, it really drives a huge point home:

    Hyundai has their s**t together.

    Maybe it had to do with the C4C incentive, but I’m seeing a ton of new Hyundais on the steets now (along with more 2009 Civics than I can count), but for the vast majority who want an inexpensive vehicle that is reliable and has current features, a Hyundai makes sense.

    I don’t know if is still the case (and maybe a new owner can answer) but do new Hyundais still have that burned crayon plastic smell? That is just so overpowering and I can see it being a deal killer.

  • avatar
    punkviper

    Simple, no-nonsense instrumentation and ergonomics highlight the interior, which is tastefully trimmed in high-quality, soft-touch materials that wouldn’t look out of place in a Volkswagen.

    really?
    i’ve been in the interior of one of these and A) the seats are mouse-fur city B) the center stack is about as noteworthy as Mindy Cohn after no beers and C) soft-touch materials? where?

    to these eyes the interior was typical, bland, boring, crime-against-automobile-interestingness Hyundai and the exterior looks just as awkward and pained as its even more conventional sedan brother (‘Volvo-esque tail-lighting?’ really?) I mean, would it kill them to put just ONE line SOMEWHERE on the car? my gaze kept looking for somewhere to go, and all i saw was formless, slightly humpy sheet-metal & plastic.

    judging from the walk-around, i’d rather drive a cardboard box.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    When I first read of the Elantra Touring, I was excited about having the choice of a Hyundai wagon. Then I saw it…it’s just not attractive, I don’t even think I could grow to like it. The styling is too Korean, generic, clumsy.

    The 4-speed auto, combined with a rather dull interior, and ho-hum mileage killed it altogether for me.

  • avatar
    menno

    theflyersfan – the burnt crayon smell is gone. I noticed it for the first 5000 or so miles in our (South Korean manufactured) 2002 Sonata, but it wasn’t in our 2007 (US manufactured) Sonata, nor our 2009 Sonata (also built in Montgomery, Alabama).

    Likewise, I didn’t notice it in the loaners when the car was in for service, so I think the funky glue they were using was gotten rid of by about 2005 worldwide.

    As for the 2.4 not being in the Elantra Touring, that engine is physically larger than the 2.0 engine that is used. I’m dead certain it is shared with the Kia Forte, however, so you can expect a 5 cog automatic in the Elantra and Elantra Touring (assuming it physically fits) soon.

    Notice that the Kia Rondo (based upon the Optima platform, not shared with Hyundai Sonata platform) uses a 4 speed automatic on the 4 cylinder cars, while the V6 cars have a 5 speed automatic – yet on the Optima, both engines have a 5 speed automatic. Don’t know if there are clearance/physical fit issues with the 4 banger and 5 cog automatic but that’d be what I’d suspect, given the weird various turning radius’s given in the Rondo brochure depending upon the engine, transmission and even wheel size!!!

  • avatar
    orc4hire

    I drove the ET and the Mazda3 hatch back to back (within about 20 minutes of each other). The Touring is a pretty nice car for the price. I was surprised at how nice it was, in fact. But the Mazda handled better, was quieter on the highway, and felt a little better bolted together, with nicer materials. The Touring was a little bigger behind the front seats, and cheaper. I bought the Mazda, but I could certainly see the Touring as a good choice for someone on a tighter budget, or who needed the extra back seat and cargo space.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @psarhjinian :
    Be thankful we get the 138hp unit. Europe gets a 60hp 1.1L that will get you to from 0 to 60 eventually. Even the 2.0L diesel is pokey.

    Europe gets a 109hp 1.4 as the base engine. My mother has one, it’s fine, but has very short gearing, so it’s buzzy at speed. 1.6, 1.8, 2.0 gas and 1.6 and 2.0 diesel engines are optional. The 1.6 diesel is the most pleasant engine in the range.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Europe gets a 109hp 1.4 as the base engine.

    You’re right. I was going by Parker’s specs and they must have misprinted, because there’s a 1.1ES (maybe it’s supposed to be an i10?) trim listed there.

  • avatar
    2Goldens

    Just bought a Sonata Limited (during C4C) after trading in my Isuzu Trooper LS with 199,425 on the clock. Looked at Camry’s, Accords and Altimas (I also drive an ’03 Kia Sorento).

    Love cars, but sometimes the reality of economics intervene. Bottom line, my car stickered for $26,800 – fully loaded with Nav. When all was said and done, with C4C cash, $3k rebate and additional discount, I walked out with a great car for $16,800. Is it a Honda, Toyota or Nissan? Nope. Can I live with the deficiencies and the 100k drivetrain and 5yr/60k bumper to bumper? You betcha. Can I squirt my I4 off the line and have a little fun? Absolutely. Does it have all the toys I’d ever want in car? Yup.

    Hyundai and Kia are typically the whipping boys of the auto industry. Just like Toyota, Honda and Datsun, er, Nissan were years ago. During last year’s gas prices, I seriously considered an Elantra Touring, but they were slow hitting dealer showrooms. In retrospect, I can honestly say that Hyundais and Kias are killer deals no matter what you choose. The Touring is no exception. If you can just stop doing the cranial-rectal inverion thing, you’ll be pleasantly surprised…especially if you wait for end-of-model-year rebates.

    My two cents…

  • avatar
    V6

    rockit: That this goofy thing does not even offer a 5 speed automatic, just a 4 speed is just crazy.

    hey well i’d rather a 4speed auto than a CVT

  • avatar
    ronin

    Hyundai had this model as a future product on its website last year, with intriguing hints at its euro fun-to-drive nature. It was at that time positioned to be a grand-touring car, a driver’s car. Sounded great.

    Don’t know what happened between there and here, but the engine/transmission is a major miss.

    Another major miss is the price. They are charging a lot of a Hyundai that lacks dirty-bits sophistication (and I say that as a Hyundai owner).

    I can buy a new very nicely equipped Sonata for less.

    It seems Hyundai is trying to position this model as a premium product in its class, without really delivering a premium product.

    Don’t play around, drop the price and have a true contendah

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @ronin :
    It seems Hyundai is trying to position this model as a premium product in its class, without really delivering a premium product.

    That’s funny, as in Europe they are marketing it as “cheap, well-equipped, with a good warranty”.

  • avatar

    I really like this car. I sat in it at a dealership. It’s very comfortable, has a cool dash. The exterior looks good, too. I would like to put it on my shopping list for 2010 (when my current lease expires), but how’s the long-term reliability? If it breaks down during warranty, it’s not a big deal, but a poor long-term reliability could turn into an empty wallet. Also, if you buy this car you have to add the cost of replacing the timing belt at least twice during a 10-year ownership, so that adds to the car’s price.

  • avatar
    don1967

    It seems Hyundai is trying to position this model as a premium product in its class, without really delivering a premium product.

    Gotta agree. The upscale, Euro-chic commercials being aired here in Canada are a bit of a stretch. But all’s fair in love and marketing I guess.

  • avatar

    I think it’s silly to expect a wagon like this to have a 200 HP engine. The current engine has enough horses. What it could use is more torque at lower RPMs. HP gives you top speed, and torque how quickly you get there. With a maximum legal speed of 100 km/h it doesn’t make sense to have high HP engines – that’s just a testosterone stupidity. However, giving it more torque at lower RPMs would ensure the car could get to 100 km/h much faster.

  • avatar
    mountainman

    I’ll take a base Subaru Impreza for the same price as this any day. 4 out of 5 stars, seriously?

  • avatar
    drivemycar

    I recently purchased a 2009 Elantra Touring. I was a Subaru Impreza L Wagon owner before that. I don’t like the way that Subaru is going mainstream with the looks of their cars.

    I also no longer need AWD so this car was a perfect fit for me.

    I like functional, slightly ugly or funky cars. But I really think this car has Euro good looks.

    I also test drove a VW Rabbit (afraid of the maintenance costs) Honda Insight (really liked that but I think the next Hybrids are going to blow away what’s available now), a 2009 Impreza (wanted to love it – loved my old car – but I just don’t like what the company is doing to “my” Subarus and the gas mileage is not good) and the 2010 Mazda3 (don’t like the styling – especially the clown smile grill).

    I love the way the ET looks inside and out. The drive is not as good as my Subaru, but I didn’t feel that it was that far off from the Mazda. I can live with a slightly pokey engine to get the better gas mileage.

    Time will tell how much I love it later on, but for now, I’m pleased.

  • avatar

    Mountainman, what kind of experience do you have with this car? If you haven’t tested it, then you have no authority to make such a comment.

  • avatar
    Accords

    psarhjinian:
    Again, I have wonder about the split personality of TTAC’s readership. It’s an economy car. We as a group whine endlessly about the feature creep that’s made modern cars heavy and expensive, and the virtues of tin-can compacts of the 1980s but also bitch about a lack of power or gears or AWD or whatever.

    I’m reminded of the Acura TSX or Scion xB. People complained endlessly about the insubstantial build, low power and general lack of upmarket feel versus their premium competition. So both cars get revamped, adding what people whined for, and now they’re reviled. So what do we want?
    —————————
    I agree with you on many many fronts. Personally.. I would HAVE LOVED to drive a first gen TSX. Lightweight powerful with the turbo, not in black, primer (silver) or white. The car is essentially perfect.

    Acura takes that.. and adds more weight and the 3.5ltr motor from the TL. And turns it into an atrocity that makes me want to drive a Malibu (Id rather eat pork — IM JEWISH)!!!

    And as for as the xB.. essentially the same argument.

    Just like VIRTUALLY every car made in / for the U.S in the past 10+yrs.. the car is better, lighter and more efficient vs the heavier model.
    (Look at the Legacy and wagon, and current and last gen Accord / Camry for proof of bloat)

    There is DEFINITELY a happy medium when “safety” or features or needed.

    As for the constant drone about RWD and a stick.. are hard to find. Add AWD to that mix and ya asking for a impossibility. And asking for a wagon… It might as well just rain cheeseballs and popsicle. NEVER-GONNA-HAPPEN-.COM! Ya can thank LUTZ for the non-availability of the Holden COmmodore Wagon / Torana for the U.S.. THANKS BOB FUCKIN LUTZ!

    Most of that can be totally negated, with a decent front driver, with snow tires and knowing.. how to drive the DAMN CAR.

    Me personally.. Id like to keep the weight under 3000lbs.

    And umm..
    A base Impreza hatch.. doesnt compare to this. Ive driven the Impreza with the hatch — not having the hatch makes me feel I’m driving a Corolla.. and that’s just stupid. The Mazda 3 hatch does… and maybe a Golf. But thats it.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    I’ve looked at one of these, but over $19k is too much for a small wagon when a Mazda5 is in the same price range, and more practical. It doesn’t seem to be a good value/size proposition.

    I asked the Hyundai rep if there were plans to sell a decontented version. They said to their knowledge, no plans to import a cheaper trim level.

  • avatar
    Accords

    TAXMAN:

    Funny you say that.

    Not worth 19g, when the Mazda5 is more “practical”?!

    That is the exact same discussion that people have when ya COULD take a loaded (c-segment car) luxo Focus against a (d segment car) base Taurus.

    Im sure its worth it.. for those who want a Hyundai. They load up the content like crazy.. and tell H and T buyers ya payin too much… ((aggravates me to no end))

    I personally have no problem with spending 22g for the Mazda 3 hatch.

  • avatar
    v7rmp7li

    Elantra Touring is a wagon-like hatchback.
    It is more spacious, roomy version of elantra.
    ——————–
    “As a hatchback, the Elantra Touring provides a surprising amount of space. According to Hyundai, it can hold a maximum of 65 cubic feet of space, which is twice that of a Mazda 3 hatchback and a few more cubic inches than many compact SUVs.”

    http://www.nydailynews.com/autos/2009/06/02/2009-06-02_the_perfect_mix_hyundai_elanta_combines_popular.html

    ——————–
    if you want more cargo space, shipping surfing board & folded bicycle, elantra touring is a good choice.

    shipping surfing board
    shipping folded bicycle
    shipping Ski
    shipping camping & tent

    …etc…

  • avatar
    v7rmp7li

    Elantra Touring = i30 in europe

    The i30 scored high on the Euro NCAP crash tests: (It is better safety score than Mazda 3)

    The i30 cw (a.k.a Elantra Touring in US) scored high on the NHTSA (US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) crash tests:(It is better safety score than Mazda 3)

    The i30 awarded the full five star safety rating by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program.

    The i30 named as safest imported mid–size car in Argentina.

    ==Reception==
    Awards and recognition

    2007

    Car of the Year for 2007 by CARSGuide [11] with the 1.6L CRDi model winning the Green Car of the Year award.

    Hyundai’s i30 Diesel Picked as Australia’s Car of the Year

    2008

    ‘Best Mid-size Car Under $28,000′ by Australia’s Best Cars to the Hyundai i30 SX petrol and i30 CRDi Turbo Diesel

    Hyundai i30 chosen as 2008 Car of the Year in Spain.

    2009

    Best Family Hatch by New Zealand news(STUFF.co.nz)

    The Hyundai i30 has been judged the Supreme Winner in the 2009 AA Motoring Excellence Awards in New Zealand.

  • avatar
    v7rmp7li

    *Safety

    Elantra Touring >>> Mazda 3 hatchback

    *Space
    Elantra Touring >>> Mazda 3 hatchback
    Elantra Touring can hold a maximum of 65 cubic feet of space, which is twice that of a Mazda 3 hatchback

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    taxman100 :
    August 29th, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    I’ve looked at one of these, but over $19k is too much for a small wagon when a Mazda5 is in the same price range, and more practical. It doesn’t seem to be a good value/size proposition.

    I asked the Hyundai rep if there were plans to sell a decontented version. They said to their knowledge, no plans to import a cheaper trim level.

    FYI, the model I tested was the top of the line. The base version goes for under $18,000, and the only things you sacrifice are the fancy alloys, a moonroof, and Bluetooth.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    It’s amazing how ‘stick in the mud’ many car buyers can be – myself included. For years in Europe the butt of many jokes were Skodas – “Why do Skoda’s have heated rear windows? To keep your hands warm whilst you push it.”
    Even when they started producing well built, respectable, reliable cars back in the mid 90′s, it has taken over a decade for many people – myself included – to actually contemplate buying one. Now Hyundai seem to have come from a similar sort of background – a brand that no-one would buy because…. well… just because. Because only boring people bought Hyundai’s and they were about as interesting to look at as a slab of concrete. Functional yet dull.
    And now they’re producing cars that my ‘logical’ part of my brain says I would like to drive. The Genesis Coupe looks great fun to drive – the Accent looks like the ultimate bargain buy, and now the Elantra Touring… all well made, well equiped, well priced cars… but it’s my stick in the mud attitude that would probably mean I bought a Mazda… or a Ford.
    C’mon Hyundai – we need the X-Factor – no not the sh*tty TV programme – an engine that makes everyone go “WOW!”

  • avatar
    Accords

    Sinisterman:

    I HAVE to inform you.. car people (people like me.. who absolutely live for cars and any info and vehicle related)… aren’t at all stuck in the mud. If ya smart.. YA ALWAYS comparing the best or leaders to the shit of the market.

    I would take quite a long time for me (a good 20-30yrs) to buy a Hyun / Kia.

    I don’t buy a VALUE. I buy a solid car.
    Another reason why I refuse to buy domestic, because all they have to show for themselves.. is a bucket of cash on the hood.

    The Koreans are the same way..
    Give people a warranty..
    Shit cars that have really no merit but are covered by some warranty..

    And ya got SOME people.. who might bite.

    As for buying a Mazda or a Ford.

    Id buy the Mazda, because the cars (3 box) are worth driving. Ford.. even though the Mazda and ‘Vo stuff is related just doesnt suit me.

    As for as the Elantra Touring..
    It screams snorer.

  • avatar
    v7rmp7li

    In 2003, According to Consumer Reports, Hyundai’s reliability rankings tied Hondas.
    http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2003-03-11-cr-picks_x.htm

    Hyundai’s reliability already same level with Honda 6 years ago.

  • avatar
    Accords

    I hate to tell ya..

    But JUST like Ford, Chrapsler and GM trying to publicly align the quality, workmanship and reliability of their vehicles…

    Hyundai / Kia are going to have the same long trip.

    It isnt news that Consumer Reports doesnt give the best information about what vehicles are the best.. just like J.D Power doesn’t give accurate results either.

    When a company tries to make a name for itself.. by pushing that warranty ahead of its cars..

    Or another SET of companies get money from the govt because their leadership ran the company into the ground..

    That JUST doesnt FLY!

    Ford is only doing MARKEDLY better.. because Mullaly has some manufacturing experience and the fact that Ford has mortgaged everything they have, name, buildings, trademarks… on coming out ahead.

    But that still doesn’t make me want to buy a Ford vehicle. Same can still be said for Hyundai.

  • avatar
    AlexD

    I took a walk with my kid through our urban gentrified neighbourhood last night. I counted three brand new Tourings within a four block area. I can’t say the same for any other make.

    Mind you, we love hatches up here, but I think it’s pretty indicative of a win for Hyundai.

  • avatar
    SpikedLemon

    I like this car.

    It handles well.
    It has a hatchback.
    It has a very nice manual transmission (especially that B+M shifter)
    It looks decent.
    It can tow 1000kg

    All boxes are checked.

    Though the review is missing the two niggling issues I had when test driving the car. The torque steer is very pronounces and the steering at highway speeds feels vague and almost digital in position (which drove me nuts on long highway ramps as it wouldn’t hold the line I wanted to hold; it was always a little too sharp or a little too wide). I also think Hyundai did the car no favors as well when they did not provide proper a roof rack or even mounts for one (like the attachment points on the Impreza).
    These are small issues.

    For a car that performs this well, this well executed and this well put together: Hyundai has a fantastic package here. Heck: my dad just bought one and he considered its only ‘real’ competition to be the VW Jetta TDI wagon (which was ~$5k more expensive).

  • avatar
    IanS

    “I’ll take a base Subaru Impreza for the same price as this any day”

    I’m baffled by comments like this. Is American and Canadian pricing that different?

    I live in Vancouver, B.C., and here is what I am getting for pricing of base models, with 5-speed manuals:

    Elantra Touring L – $14,999
    Subaru Impreza 2.5L 4dr Hatch – $21,895
    Mazda3 GX 4dr sport – $16,995
    Golf 2.5l Trendline 4dr – $21,175
    Kia Soul 2.0L 2u 4dr hatch – $17,995
    Honda Fit 1.5L DX 4dr – $14,980

    Note that the entry level Impreza is almost 50% more expensive than a well equipped Elantra Touring. (The only glaring omission on the base ET, IMHO, is ABS).

    Even the comparably equipped, similar engine Kia Soul costs a full 20% more than the Elantra.

    Around here, the only price competitors to the ET are the Mazda3 GX and the Honda Fit DX – but the Honda has a much less powerful engine.

  • avatar
    sacrat

    Elantra Touring L – $14,999
    Subaru Impreza 2.5L 4dr Hatch – $21,895
    Mazda3 GX 4dr sport – $16,995
    Golf 2.5l Trendline 4dr – $21,175
    Kia Soul 2.0L 2u 4dr hatch – $17,995
    Honda Fit 1.5L DX 4dr – $14,980

    Note that the entry level Impreza is almost 50% more expensive than a well equipped Elantra Touring. (The only glaring omission on the base ET, IMHO, is ABS).

    The “L” model doesn’t even get AC, heated seats, etc. until you add $2200 package (in Canada) so this comparison is not realistic. I agree with the above poster(s) who point out that the biggest problem with the ET is the Soul. There’s a lot more Souls on the road here in Alberta than ETs. I test drove an ET back in February and bought a nicely discounted Sonata Sport instead.The Soul wasn’t out yet, or it might have been in my driveway instead. I do, however like the Sonata’s bigger engine (2.4) and almost comparable mileage because of the 5-speed AT.

  • avatar
    johnny52

    Sitting in a car and test driving it on dealer’s track isn’t same as driving in city.

    Our touring rides like an army jeep with no tires on a rocky field.

    Dealer dealt with our complaint by letting air out of tires.

  • avatar
    gettinold

    One error in the review: The seats do not fold down “fully”. To fold down “fully” would mean they go flat -as in flush with the rear storage area. They don’t.  Real bummer in the cargo area when seats don’t fold down flat.
     
     

  • avatar

    gettinold, maybe it’s because my ET is a 2011 instead of a 2010, but the rear seats do indeed fold down flat.  I have a bit of problem where the passenger side rear seat catches on the passenger front seat, but if I flip the front seat back forward for a second, the rear set goes all the way down.  I’m 5’5″ so the driver’s seat is set further forward and I don’t have this problem on the driver’s-side rear seat…it just goes on down.


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