click above for more high-res live shots of the 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring

While the official unveiling of the 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring took place in Montreal a few weeks back, the Chicago Auto Show is the first place that we at Autoblog got a chance to eyeball it in person, and we like what we see. While we'd certainly not classify the Elantra Touring as a "hot hatch," fuel efficiency is becoming an increasingly larger concern for many buyers. As a result, sporty little cars like the Elantra Touring will likely become increasingly relevant. The fact that the car is also a wagon adds plenty of usefulness for everyday driving needs. This version of the Elantra is sold as the i30 outside the U.S. and we welcome its arrival, joining the Saturn Astra as a Euro-designed five-door recently making its way here. Like the Astra, the Elantra Touring offers your choice of either a four-speed automatic or a more desirable five-speed manual, featuring a B&M shifter.

Premium options include seventeen inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats and a power sunroof, but standard gear is pretty good with power windows, remote keyless entry, eight-way adjustable driver's seat, heated mirrors and a stereo equipped with an auxiliary jack and standard XM radio. Also included are safety features such as Electronic Stability Control, ABS and Electronic Brake-Force Distribution. Like other Hyundais, this one comes equipped well and should be priced very competitively against its competition.

Related Gallery2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring

PRESS RELEASE

FUEL-EFFICENT 2009 HYUNDAI ELANTRA TOURING ARRIVES IN UNITED STATES

CHICAGO, February 6, 2008 – Hyundai Motor America took the wraps off its Elantra Touring five-door compact at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show today. Making its United States debut, the all-new 2009 Elantra Touring is a sportier, more functional variant of Hyundai's popular Elantra sedan, and is slated to hit dealerships in the winter of 2008. Elantra Touring is based on the i30 CW model that was designed for the European market.

"The all-new Elantra Touring is a fun-to-drive, functional five-door," said John Krafcik, vice president, product development and strategic planning, Hyundai Motor America. "Elantra Touring provides buyers a unique offering in the compact segment, raising the bar as Hyundai likes to do in value, safety and quality."

The Elantra Touring, with its modern, sleek styling and fun-to-drive qualities, was developed by Hyundai in response to the growing demand for stylish and functional five-door vehicles, sales of which doubled from 2001 to 2006. Five-door vehicle sales are projected to be strong into the next decade. The Elantra Touring will also be the first five-door compact to offer standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC), in addition to a host of other class-leading safety technologies. As with all Hyundai vehicles, the Elantra Touring was designed and manufactured to meet the most stringent quality standards in the industry, exemplifying Hyundai's quality leadership position worldwide.

ASSERTIVE EXTERIOR DESIGN

Flowing curves and strong character lines highlight the broad stance and long wheelbase of the Elantra Touring. The clearly defined, unbroken, rising beltline unifies the vehicle's functional proportions. The effect is an exciting shape that provides a dynamic impression of performance and capability. Elantra Touring has a low coefficient of drag for optimal fuel efficiency at highway speeds and minimal interior noise. Up front, the pronounced dual air intakes flow smoothly into the hood and A-pillar lines. Sharp projection headlamps, fog lights and available 17-inch alloy wheels complete the modern design.


ROOMY AND REFINED INTERIOR

The long wheelbase and generous width of the Elantra Touring, combined with Hyundai's expertise in interior packaging, have produced an interior that delivers class-leading comfort, functionality and practicality. Elantra Touring has the most interior volume (passenger volume plus cargo space) of any five-door in its class at 125.5 cubic feet. In fact, Elantra Touring's cargo capacity is 65.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down, more cargo space than many larger wagons and crossovers.

The Elantra Touring was conceived from the beginning as a driver's car. The clarity of the instruments, standard B&M Racing sport shifter, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, and a supportive eight-way adjustable driver's seat all contribute to a superior driving experience. For extra clarity, Hyundai's signature blue LCD lighting technology has been used for the central information display and gauge cluster. Two-tone interior trim, with special attention to the upholstery fabrics and materials, delivers a more premium feel. Black and beige are the two interior color choices.
The Elantra Touring is the first compact five-door to offer XM Satellite Radio® and USB/iPod® auxiliary inputs as standard equipment. When an iPod or flash drive is connected through the USB port, which is located in the center storage compartment, not only does it play music through the vehicle's six-speaker audio system, but it also charges the iPod and allows the driver to access tracks with the steering wheel audio controls. This system also allows both driver and passengers to easily view song/artist/title information and control the music from the audio head unit rather than only the iPod itself. The center storage compartment location of the USB assures that iPods can be safely stowed out of sight.

The roomy and functional interior is also a quiet place to be. Based on internal tests, Elantra Touring has four decibels lower road noise levels than Mazda3 five-door.

INTELLIGENT ERGONOMICS


With its leading-edge designs, Hyundai has proven through the years that vehicles do not need to be large to feel spacious, nor carry a premium price when offering intelligently designed interior cabins. The Elantra Touring is just the latest expression of this thoughtful approach, incorporating conveniently located steering wheel audio/cruise controls and column stalks, easy-to-reach heating and air conditioning knobs, as well as conveniently positioned power windows and mirror controls. Even the positioning and precise feel of the automatic gearshift has been optimized. The integrated 172-watt AM/FM/XM Satellite Radio®/CD/MP3 audio system, map pockets and other storage areas round out the car's conveniently and intelligently designed interior space.


Sporty front seats, designed to complement the athletic driving dynamics of the vehicle, and carefully contoured rear seats, provide long distance comfort and support. Hyundai engineers focused not just on the seats' form and function, but also on the stitching, materials and bolstering. The front driver seat is fully height adjustable and includes lumbar support. The result is seating fit for the spirited driving that Elantra Touring inspires.

IMPRESSIVE PACKAGE EFFICIENCY

The Elantra Touring's exterior dimensions (176.2 inches long, 69.5 inches wide and 59.8 inches high) make it a great fit in the compact five-door segment, while its long wheelbase (106.3 inches) means that Elantra Touring offers class-leading interior volume. Elantra Touring features outstanding front legroom and front and rear shoulder room. In addition, every Elantra Touring has 60/40 split folding rear seats that fold when needed for added storage, functionality and practicality.

The Elantra Touring matches best-in-class passenger volume with best-in-class cargo capacity. There is a useful 24.3 cubic feet of luggage space with rear seats upright and a cavernous 65.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat. As in any Hyundai, the utility and convenience in the Elantra Touring has not been overlooked, with a stow-and-go removable luggage cover that stores conveniently out-of-site under the trunk area compartment. An optional restraining net is also offered.

The Elantra Touring includes a number of convenient, standard stowage and storage features, including a sunglass holder, two front and two rear cupholders, door bottle holders, dash storage, central console storage, front storage tray, front seatback pockets and a cargo area under-floor storage. For tailgaters, the cargo area also has a power-retained 12-volt outlet, where the vehicle does not have to be turned on, for consumers who desire an outlet to plug in their portable electronic devices.

ENGINE PERFORMANCE

Elantra Touring is powered by the same fuel-efficient 2.0-liter, in line four-cylinder found in the Elantra sedan. This sophisticated 16-valve powerplant employs Dual Overhead Camshafts (DOHC) and Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) for a very broad power band, coupled with high fuel efficiency and low emissions. Elantra Touring is certified as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV).

TRANSMITTING THE POWER

Hyundai understands that performance means more than just engine output, which is why transmission choices have been optimized for real driving satisfaction.

An ergonomically located gear shift with a SHIFTRONIC® manual feature controls the Elantra Touring's four-speed automatic transmission, delivering confident mode selection and quicker, easier, more precise manual overrides. A unique-in-segment B&M Racing sport shifter delivers smooth, short-throw shift control for the standard five-speed manual transmission.


AGILE STEERING, SUSPENSION AND BRAKING
The Hyundai Elantra Touring offers a dynamic driving experience. A MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension have been fitted to perfectly complement the body structure's high rigidity. Ventilated 11.8-inch front and solid 10.3-inch rear discs with ABS and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) provide excellent stopping power with added handling control.

Elantra Touring delivers high performance steering and adds unique springs, front and rear stabilizer bars and dampers. Elantra Touring features a 24 percent stiffer front spring rate, a 39 percent stiffer rear spring rate, a larger front stabilizer bar (24 mm) and larger rear stabilizer bar (21mm) than the Elantra sedan. Both 16- and 17-inch alloy wheels, with low and ultra-low profile tires, add visual impact and extra grip to the Elantra Touring's sporty dynamics. The result is a car that simply demands to be driven.

Elantra Touring steering character is another key driver of its sporty driving nature. Hyundai chassis engineers focused on delivering an agile feel, with direct responses to driver inputs. That spirit translates to a fun-to-drive character in everyday driving situations. And all drivers will appreciate Elantra Touring's nimble turning diameter – at 34.2 feet it is better than Rabbit's 35.8 feet and Caliber's 37.2 feet.

UNSURPASSED STANDARD SAFETY TECHNOLOGIES

Like every Hyundai, top-tier safety was a key development goal for the Elantra Touring, which is fully equipped to protect driver and passengers. In terms of passive safety, it features dual front, side and curtain airbags, for a total of six protective airbags in the vehicle. The Elantra Touring also features active front headrests, seatbelt pretensioners and seatbelt reminders. The combination of side and curtain airbags, which help protect the head and body during side impacts, can reduce fatalities by more than 52 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Also according to the IIHS, active front head restraints improve rear crash protection.

These passive safety technologies are fully grounded in a state-of-the-art body structure, which includes deformable zones, occupant protection cell and three-way load distribution technology. Further rigidity has been achieved with reinforced A pillars, strengthened bulkhead, front and side members, and strengthened B and C pillars.

The Elantra Touring comes standard with Electronic Stability Control, one of the industry's most effective life-saving technologies. ESC compares the driver's intended course with the vehicle's actual response. It then brakes individual front or rear wheels and/or reduces engine power as needed in certain driving circumstances to help correct understeer or oversteer. NHTSA studies show passenger cars equipped with ESC experience 30 percent fewer fatalities in single-vehicle crashes. Santa Fe, Veracruz, Tucson, Sonata, Azera, Elantra SE, Entourage and Genesis are all equipped with standard ESC. Approximately 73 percent of Hyundai vehicles offered in 2008 come equipped with standard ESC – a commitment to this sophisticated and effective automotive safety technology that is unmatched by any other popular automotive brand.

In developing and refining the safety features of the Elantra Touring, Hyundai employed advanced design systems and sophisticated computer simulation, combined with intensive component testing. This is a process used in development of all Hyundai vehicles. From drawing board to prototype testing to final product development, Hyundai uses this extensive process to assure that all its vehicles – including the Elantra Touring – meet or exceed government safety standards, as well as the expectations of vehicle buyers.

THE GOOD STUFF COMES STANDARD
Elantra Touring builds on Hyundai's reputation for offering loads of standard equipment, offering air conditioning, power windows, heated mirrors, door locks, remote keyless entry with alarm, steering wheel-mounted cruise control and audio controls, eight-way adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support, and plenty of storage compartments. For audiophiles, an integrated 172-watt AM/FM/XM Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system with six speakers, USB input and auxiliary input jack are standard. The Premium-Sport package adds a power sunroof with tilt and slide functions, heated front seats and 17-inch alloy wheels with P215/45VR17 tires.

AMERICA'S BEST WARRANTY
The 2009 Elantra Touring is protected by the Hyundai Advantage, America's Best Warranty. Coverage includes five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper protection, 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and seven-year/unlimited mileage anti-perforation coverage. In addition, Elantra Touring buyers receive 24-hour roadside assistance coverage at no extra charge for five years (no mileage limit) and that service includes emergency towing, lockout service and limited coverage for trip-interruption expenses. There is no deductible on any of this coverage.