Overview & Reviews
Introduced in the early 1990s, the Hyundai Elantra didn't exactly get off to a good start, earning a well-deserved reputation for overall shoddiness and unreliability. But more than two decades later, the Elantra has become one of America's most popular small sedans. Take one for a spin and you'll likely be impressed with its smooth ride, roomy interior, high fuel economy and solid build quality. The Elantra also offers plenty of features for the money and long warranty coverage. While those long-ago Elantras are best forgotten, any new or used Elantra (that you'll realistically come across) is an excellent choice for a small car shopper.
Current Hyundai Elantra
The Hyundai Elantra sedan is offered three trims: SE, Limited and Sport. A coupe and Elantra GT four-door hatchback are also available and reviewed separately.
Standard SE feature highlights include alloy wheels, full power accessories, air-conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and USB/iPod interface. An option package provides 16-inch (versus 15-inch) wheels, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, voice controls, a rearview camera and heated front seats. The Limited comes with all that as well as 17-inch wheels, leather upholstery, a power driver seat, heated rear seats and Blue Link telematics. The Sport includes the Limited's features minus the heated rear seats and Blue Link and adds a more powerful engine, a sunroof, a sport-tuned suspension and keyless ignition and entry. The Limited can be had with a larger 7-inch touchscreen display, dual-zone automatic climate control and a navigation system.
The SE and Limited trims are powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with 145 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the SE, while a six-speed automatic is optional. The Limited comes only with the automatic. The Elantra Sport has a 2.0-liter four that makes 173 hp. With the Sport, the manual transmission is standard, while the automatic is optional.
Slide inside the Elantra and you'll find a cabin that matches or betters most others in it class. A stylized center stack and controls lend some flair to the cabin, and the materials, while not best-in-class, offer a rich look. Ample headroom and a smaller-diameter steering wheel contribute to the interior's spaciousness.
On the road, the 1.8-liter engine has decent punch and the automatic transmission provides smooth, well-timed shifts. This volume-selling powertrain should be fine for the majority of drivers. The added punch provided by the Sport's bigger engine should be appreciated by those willing to sacrifice a few mpg in favor of some added oomph. A compliant ride and a quiet cabin make the Elantra a comfortable choice for daily driver and road trip duty alike. The only significant downside to this Elantra is a lack of rear headroom compared to what's available from some other top small sedans.
Used Hyundai Elantra Models
The current Hyundai Elantra represents the fifth generation, which was introduced for the 2011 model year. Apart from lacking some slight styling tweaks, upgraded touchscreen displays, added sound insulation and the Sport trim level, these Elantras are otherwise identical to the current version.
The fourth-generation Elantra ran from 2007-'10. Having established the Elantra as a legitimate contender in the compact segment with its previous-generation car, Hyundai updated the Elantra's styling, improved its handling and ride quality, and revamped the interior to near-premium levels.
Two main trim levels were available: GLS and SE. The GLS came reasonably well equipped, though it lacked stability and traction control. Those came standard on the SE after 2007. The SE also had more features and a sport-tuned suspension. In your used-car search, you might also encounter the top-line Elantra Limited ('07 only) and the Elantra Blue, which was an entry-level model offered for 2010 only.
Fourth-generation Elantras came with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 138 hp and 136 lb-ft of torque. The transmission was either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Cars sold in California-emissions states could have cleaner tailpipe emissions (PZEV) but were rated for 132 hp.
Changes were minimal for this car. For 2009, the Elantra received enhanced suspension and steering tuning, along with new interior instrument and radio displays. A USB/iPod audio jack also became available. But in general, we were very impressed by this car and praised its roomy and comfortable interior, agreeable ride quality and value for the dollar.
The third-generation Elantra was produced from model years 2001-'06 and represented a considerable step up from the earlier cars. The sedan was bigger inside and out, and revised sheet metal gave it a more upscale look. Reliability and overall quality were also much improved. The standard features list was generous for the car's price, and included amenities like air-conditioning, full power accessories, side airbags, 15-inch wheels and an AM/FM cassette player. The 2.0-liter engine generated 135 hp (138 after 2003) and was mated to either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic.
An Elantra hatchback, the Elantra GT, was also offered starting in 2002 and came with additional standard features, including leather seats and a CD player. Initially, the sedan was available only in base GLS trim, but by 2003, Elantra sedans could be purchased in two trims -- GLS and the top-of-the-line GT. Although it still lacked the refinement of segment leaders like the Honda Civic, the third-generation Hyundai Elantra shone as a solid choice for buyers seeking maximum value for their money.
One would probably do best by avoiding the second-generation Elantra – built from model years 1996-2000 -- though it did at least take a turn for the better from the forgettable original. The car got a welcome boost in power with the addition of a new engine, a 1.8-liter four-cylinder capable of 130 hp and 122 lb-ft of torque. Airbags were added to the safety features list, and a wagon body style was also offered. The Elantra's engine was upgraded yet again in model year 1999, to a larger 2.0-liter. Overall, the second-gen Elantra represented a decent buy in the economy car segment. It wasn't as polished as the offerings from Honda, Nissan or Toyota, but it was well-equipped and fun to drive.
The first-generation Elantra was produced from model years 1992-'95; during this period, Hyundai's hauler was available as a sedan only. Sadly, the car's build quality and reliability reflected its bargain-basement price. Elantras from this era were notorious for being sloppy in most of the areas that matter. They were none too quick either, as all models were motivated by a 1.6-liter inline-4 good for 113 hp and 102 lb-ft of torque.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 2,696.00
Engine blown - 2014 Hyundai Elantra
By Carla Soleski - May 1 - 11:53 am
I purchased a 2014 Hyundai Elantra in late 2014 new. The only reason was the 100,000 mile warranty.The car has 31000 miles and I owe approx $15,000 to Hyundai for it.I have owned Hondas, Toyotas and must say they have exceptional customer service and stand behind issues involving their vehicles. Hyundai fails in this area.I have never had an issue with this car, I have maintained it. On April 28th I was driving on the expressway, having no issue, when suddenly the oil pressure light flashed and I heard a loud noise and the engine shut down. I rolled to the shoulder. There was oil all over the ground under my vehicle.I called Hyundai roadside assistance and they were there within 30 minutes.They towed my car to the nearest Hyundai dealer, Webb Hyundai in Merrillville Indiana. Within a couple hours a technician named Jim called me to say that my engine was locked. He said it was ruined and would cost $7000 to replace.He went on to say that they will not honor the warranty because whoever changed my oil filter last overtightened it and the gasket was crushed, sticking out, which caused all the oil to leak out. #1 The oil change was in January, the car is parked daily and nightly on a white concrete driveway. #2There is no sign of oil, not one drop. If it was an issue with the oil filter, I would have had a problem within days of the filter installation. A mechanic friend believes it was a problem inside the engine that caused the regulation valve to stick, the high pressure cause the catastrophic event, deformed the filter & the gasket between the filter and the base blew out and the system lost oil causing the engine to seize. I have filed a complaint with the corporate office to no avail. I have spoken with the district manager at Duke of Oil in Hobart Indiana, who claims no negligence. He told me the same thing my mechanic friend says, that it is an engine issue and Hyundai should replace my engine. Webb Hyundai told me to tow my car out and they offered no resolution at all. Now I will sit with a car that doesnt run in my driveway, I cant afford to repair it , and I have to make the payments to Hyundai every month or my credit will be ruined. I am hoping everyone will share this so others will not buy Hyundai vehicles. Warranties are important, that is why most of us buy new cars. Hyundai is lax in not taking care of their customers and it needs to change . I believe Hyundai legally has to prove that it is not their engine issue to void the warranty? They seem to be making up a story to get out of standing behind their product.I will be consulting an attorney.
Engine replaced at 4YO 35K Miles - 2012 Hyundai Elantra
By Jennifer - January 24 - 10:21 am
Was very excited to have the heated seats and ipod cable for my first car, when I was 25 yrs old female. It has been downhill ever since. Noticeably different handling and seat comfort after 3 years and new tires didnt really help. Most maintenance has been covered by warranty, but this does not seem realistic for Chicago road/highway driving: replaced rear shock absorber after 2 years, cleaned fuel injectors ($200 out of pocket) due to some additive required for this elantra engine (?), and now engine replaced after 4 years (only 35K miles!). Happy that Hyundai is replacing the engine (currently in-progress, so not sure if just the short engine, or full engine with header) however had to wait a week for dealership to confirm the issue (was inconsistent grinding on start/shaking at idle approx. 10% of the time over the last 6 mos). Having a rental car in the city of Chicago for that long - worried about damaging the rental car with street parking in the middle of winter. Will be another 1-2weeks for engine to ship from LA by truck, and then install. Dealership has been great, we both win with this finding, however would have loved to avoid altogether in the first place. The hassle and nuisance are not worth the additional skin-deep features. Also there is still not an ipod cable compatible with Lightning. The Apple lightning cable has been out for years now, and Hyundai still sees no reason to manufacture usb > lightning so I can charge and listen to music through the console electronic system. Maybe should have purchased a sonata - for better build? Now looking to avoid Hyundai completely and will offload this car around 5 years 40K mi, too worried about future problems not worth it impacting my commute.
Great Car for Daughter College Bound - 2013 Hyundai Elantra
By Cory - January 20 - 5:58 pm
Get a 4 door. I bought a 2 door for my daughter because I thought it was "cool", found out 4 door better, even for her, dealer let me switch to a comparable 4 door. I have bought cars from this Used Car Dealer, now my friend, since 1989. He finds the cleanest, low mileage cars around. This 2013 Elantra had 9,500 miles when I bought 4 months ago. Now, under 11,000 miles. It has leather, seat warmers, blue tooth for phone, sunroof, great back seat leg room and huge trunk for my daughters guitar, amp and equipment. I paid $13,800 for the car. Do not tell on me, but while test driving it on the Interstate, I punched it and the car went quickly to 120 miles per hour. It sips gas. I usually do not get extended warranties, but for a few bucks, I got a 100,000 mile, cover everything warranty and my daughter has to make one phone call if anything goes wrong. This should last her through college and beyond. I am very pleased. By the way, it has a snappy design that is an eye catcher. This is a great car.
Amazing Car. Tons of cool upgrades! - 2001 Hyundai Elantra
By Da-Mi-An - January 7 - 12:45 pm
I drive a 2001 Hyundai Elantra GLS. The car is fantastic on gas mileage and is rather cheap to fill up! I love how easy the steering is along with how fun it is to drive. My brakes work great. The interior is rather ugly as is in most Elantras the good part about that is they come with so many cool options for seats and dash kits that you can purchase to really make the car feel like your own. It is a great buy and I would recommend all of my friends and family to purchase one just so they can see how comfortable and smooth driving the elantra gls really is. I do plan on purchasing a newer one this year and turning mine into a rally car. So if you wanna race lets be in touch haha.
My Car Air Bags dont deploy - 2006 Hyundai Elantra
By Raul E. Garcia Sr - January 5 - 9:03 am
I was involved in an accident and the airbags did not deploy. I contacted the Dealer here in town (Mesquite TX) and they send me to the Manufacturer, did not fix my airbags. Manufacturer did not accept any responsibility and just said: contact your dealer. Never heard of them again. I have to drive my poor car, with no airbags, and the dealer wont listen to you. Dont buy Hyundai cars. They stink! No customer service, and they dont care if you are injured or not. Tires have to constantly be replaced, specially the right rear tire. And Power Steering pump went out at 35000 miles. no warranty cover. Ralph in Mesquite Texas
Stay Away from this hunk of Crap! - 2015 Hyundai Elantra
By Nik - December 9 - 6:51 pm
Chief complaint: the freaking (and I dont mean freaking) trunk goes thru spells where it just pops up whenever it wants. Seriously, I stood in the parking garage at work for 45 freaking minutes closing my trunk because it pops open every 3 minutes! I took it to the dealership and the guy from the service department told me that he was familiar with the problem because it happened to him when he drove a loaner vehicle, however, the techs werent going to be able to diagnose and fix it unless they actually saw the trunk popping up with their own eyes! Are you freaking kidding me! Now Im standing guard at my trunk because it keeps popping open and I live in a freaking apt complex! Next complaint: the alignment or something is off... You cant hold the damn car straight in one lane. No matter how straight and steady you hold the steering wheel, you still end up swerving and veering into someone elses lane. Additional complaint: the worst acceleration that Ive ever experienced in a vehicle... good luck pulling a heel. Haha! You can mash the gas to the floor and youll literally be going 10mph, but give it about 2-3 minutes itll respond to you pushing the accelerator. Last complaint: Idk why, but the windows fog up like crazy! Myself and a coworker who has this same car discussed this... you literally need the defroster year-round...the windows just fog up... no talking or singing with the radio --the windows just fog up. This was a horrible purchase and Im counting the days until I can trade it in. I purchased this car in March 2015 with 4 miles on it. Today it has 4,500 Miles exactly...and the freaking trunk wont close! Im seriously considering speaking with an attorney re: our local Lemon Law. No way a brand spanking new car should have these issues! Why am I outside, in the dark, closing my trunk every 3 minutes... at this very moment...
2007 Hyundai Elantra - 2007 Hyundai Elantra
By email@example.com - December 5 - 8:06 pm
I bought a 2007 Hyundai Elantra my car before that was a 1995 Isuzu Rodeo, so getting a bit old. The Hyundai so far in 2 months has been very reliable, great fuel economy as well. The tech is a little behind the current times, but it was made in 2007 so I wont be so critical on that aspect.
what a bargain! - 2013 Hyundai Elantra
By mik mastrian - November 28 - 11:47 pm
great buy for 14000
Disappoints - 2013 Hyundai Elantra
By Dan Yodet - November 27 - 3:07 pm
Bought the elantra 6 months ago. Car noise is significant. My chevy cobalt was much quieter. Have the rough idling when I come to a stop. This is a common issue. On the plus side I get good gas mileage and enjoy heated front seats. I will never purchase a Hyundai vehicle again.
PISSED! - 2011 Hyundai Elantra
By Ronald - November 27 - 12:38 am
I bought the 2011 Elantra new. Hyundai avertized 39mpg on the road, the best was 34mpg. I fought with the deal about one year. Then it appears they were taken to court for that, and now each year I take it in to slow them my miles I have, and then I get a gift card for $80-100. Next the car started locking in gear, the towed it in and fixed that problem. This was followed by having transmission problems, that finally they put another TRANS (79, 000 miles) in it (only after a number of trips back to the dealer. After that I had to take it in for something on a recall. Then around 95,000 it started having difficulty shifting into third gear. This problem came and went. It ALWAYS seemed to improve as I was about to take it into the shop. This time it continue non stop for about a week so I took it in. Well they said I need the SECOND NEW TRANS. But now I was over bought warranties. They said the original warranty is for 100,000 and Im at 104,000, so Im over that, and the warrenty for the replacement TRANS that I got a 79,000, is only good for 12,000. So that means I 4,000 over origin warrenty, and 25,000 over warrenty for the second TRANS. Now they want me to pay $2,900 for the second TRANS! Well, I was told this the day before thanksgiving, Ive had time to calm down, so I go back tomorrow I speak with someone else. I guess if they dont cover the cost, then I begin a campaign of writing on these forums/blogs, etc. Letting people know of my experiences. This is my 5th Hyundai, and if they dont do the right thing and put a new TRANS in at NO COST to me...it will be the last HYUNDAI I EVER PURCHASE! I also have concerns about the paint chipping and the floor mats wearing out! If anyone can help please respond here, [contact info removed].