you’re in the market for a smallish well-equipped vehicle for around $25 grand,
there’s a huge variety to choose from.
and specs are ultra-competitive in this segment, but if power and plenty of
features are high on your list of priorities, Hyundai has a vehicle for you – the
top-line Elantra Elite.
Elantra Elite is available as a sedan or liftback and retails from a base price
of AUD$23,495. Add an optional automatic transmission and cruise control (as
fitted to our test vehicle) and the price increases to AUD$25,980. This competes
well with similarly equipped models from other manufacturers.
its budget price, the Elantra Elite brings luxury features normally reserved for
much more expensive cars. Be prepared for a surprise the first time you open the
door – you’ll find the seats and door trims are covered in standard leather. The
Elantra’s leather trim is a great selling advantage over its competitors but,
not surprisingly, it’s relatively low-grade leather. It isn’t soft and
cabin is also equipped with a competent sounding CD/tuner (with MP3
compatibility), dual airbags and a basic trip computer. A security alarm, air
conditioning, map lights, power windows and a leather-trimmed steering wheel and
gear knob complete the list of luxury features. Note that our test car was also
equipped with optional cruise control – at AUD$495 extra.
contrast to many other high trim versions of cheaper cars, the Elantra Elite’s features are well
integrated and user-friendly. There are no obvious after-thoughts or fiddly
cabin offers good space for four occupants and there’s enough rear cabin width
to accommodate a fifth person when necessary. The centre rear passenger is
secured by a 3-point retractable seatbelt together with an adjustable head
restraint. The most noticeable limitation is rear headroom which is an issue if
you’re taller than about 180cm. All armrests fall nicely to your side (the
folding centre rear armrest incorporating twin slide-out cup holders), the
waistline is low enough to avoid claustrophobia, and access is
only criticisms of the cabin are the firm seats and dated looking dashboard. The
blue instrument lighting is also questionable.
liftback Elantra offers a good size rear cargo area augmented by a handy
shopping bag hook on the back of the front passenger seat. To accommodate bulky
loads, the 60/40 split rear backrest can be folded forward. Unfortunately, this
is not a plain-sailing operation – the rear head restraints need to be removed
and the steel-backed backrest is quite heavy. If a near-flat cargo floor is
required, the lower cushions can also be pivoted forward against the front seats
in a second action.
the false floor of the cargo area and there’s easy access to a full-size steel
spare wheel. A removable storage tray is also found in the centre of the spare
wheel – a great place for a first aid kit.
the cabin with passengers and cargo and the Elantra has no problems performing.
by a 2.0 litre DOHC four cylinder with infinitely variable inlet cam timing, the
Elantra boasts a class-leading 105kW and 186Nm (at 6000 and 4000 rpm
respectively). Coupled to the optional automatic transmission fitted to our test
car, the Elantra is zippy off the line and always has plenty of mid-range oomph.
The 4 speed auto transmission is brilliantly matched to the engine – willing to
down-shift, smooth and nicely adaptive to driving conditions. Open-road passing
maneuvers are easily achieved with 105kW, although the engine’s high rpm noise
and vibration are poor.
1269kg, the auto Elantra Elite liftback can accelerate to 100 km/h in under 10
seconds; no problem there. However, the fuel consumption we achieved during our
test was eye-opening – in separate fills we recorded 12.5 and 15 litres per
100km. Note that this was achieved in mostly heavy traffic conditions and with a
lot of stop-starting. We imagine the ADR 81/01 figure of 9.1 litres per 100km is
a better guide for typical driving conditions. Conventional 91 RON unleaded fuel
is all you need to fill the 55 litre tank.
the cut-and-thrust of traffic, the Elantra Elite is very comfortable – with one
obvious exception. The ride is simply too harsh in low speed conditions. On the
open road the ride is pleasant, but the suspension settings are too firm for
typical Australian city/urban conditions.
MacPherson struts under the nose and a multi-link IRS, the front-wheel-drive
Elantra’s handling is characterized by understeer – safe, predictable
understeer. Note that compared to the base model, the Elite scores bigger 195/60 15 Hankook 866 Radials.
power-assisted rack and pinion steering is fine overall but on country roads it
lacks feel and linearity. We often found ourselves making small steering
adjustments through sweepers.
is by means of ventilated front discs and solid rear discs with EBD and ABS. The
3-channel ABS system is capable of maintaining steering control during maximum
braking but it feels like a relatively old and coarse system.
the Elantra is conventional and dated - the body shape could be out of the
mid-late ‘90s. At least the ’03 facelift is carried over and the Elite is
further distinguished by its fog lights, 15 inch alloy wheels and rear spoiler.
Interestingly, the hatchback version receives a high-level rear spoiler (which
looks quite awkward from some angles). The sedan version is equipped with a less
what about build quality – the question most people ask when talk turns to cheap
the build quality of our test vehicle was a pleasant surprise. The doors shut
beautifully, the paint and panel fitment was good and there were no rattles. The
standard leather trim also appears durable. The Elantra’s
warranty is another gigantic plus – its 5 year/130,000km coverage is unequalled
by anything else in the class.
AUD$25,980, the cruise control and auto-equipped Elantra Elite is good, safe
buying. If you don’t mind the firm low speed ride, we think you’ll be quite happy
Elantra Elite was provided for this test by Hyundai Australia.