2005 Elantra New Car Test Drive
The Hyundai Elantra is handsome, comfortable, versatile, and fun to drive, comparable to competitors costing thousands more. With the 2005 addition of a five-door hatchback at the base trim level, Elantra now comes in twelve different permutations of body style, trim level, transmission, and emissions rating.
The Elantra is one of the quickest cars in its class. It handles as well as many of its competitors and has a sporty feel. Elantra comes with a newly engineered 2.0-liter engine with variable-valve timing and is a leader in fuel economy. Elantra is rated 27/34 mpg City/Highway by the EPA when equipped with the manual transmission.
The four-door sedan is popular, while the five-door hatchback merges the practical advantages of a wagon with the sleek look of a sedan. Each body style is available in GLS and GT trim.
The Elantra's interior is nicely finished and more comfortable than many subcompacts, including the big name brands. Standard equipment surpasses that offered on cars costing thousands more, and includes side airbags, designed to provide torso protection in a side impact.
Hyundai's warranty is one of the best available. The basic warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles for the original owner, with free roadside assistance throughout. The engine and transmission are warranted for 10 years or 100,000 miles, and Hyundai protects Elantra from rust-through for five years or 100,000 miles.
Hyundai Elantra is offered in two body styles: four-door sedan, and five-door hatchback. Each comes in two trim levels, base-level GLS and sporty GT. All Elantra models share the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission is standard. An automatic transmission is optional ($800).
Safety features are anything but economy grade; two frontal airbags and front seat-mounted side-impact airbags come standard. Three-point seat belts are used for all five seating positions.
The GLS sedan ($13,299) comes well equipped with air conditioning, stereo cassette radio, power windows, mirrors and locks, center console with armrest, and keyless remote entry with alarm. The GLS five-door hatchback ($13,599) comes with a firmer, sport-tuned suspension and four-wheel disc brakes (to replace the disc/drum combination on the GLS sedan). A rear-window wiper-washer comes standard on hatchback models. Cruise control is optional ($195) on GLS models. Other GT features are available for the GLS in packages. For example, Group 4 ($1,140) adds ABS and traction control, cruise control, and an electronically tuned stereo/CD upgrade.
The GT ($14,849) is available in four-door and five-door body styles (same price). The GT adds leather seating, a leather-wrapped gearshift and steering wheel, a trip computer that projects range, cruise control, instrument lights that glow purple, front fog lamps, and alloy wheels with Michelin tires. The GT comes with a 200-watt Kenwood CD/MP3 player with six speakers and a removable faceplate, and remote control. Options for the GT models include the sunroof ($750) and sunroof plus ABS/traction control ($1,345).
Port-installed accessories include woodgrain trim ($225), mud guards ($60), a cargo net ($40) and a cargo tray for the hatchback ($70). The GLS four-door can be fitted with a rear spoiler ($395) and carpeted floor mats ($75), which come standard with the GT.