2006 Elantra New Car Test Drive
The Hyundai Elantra is comfortable and fun to drive. An exceptional value, it's comparable to competitors costing thousands more. Available in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback body styles, the latter offers cargo capacity and versatility.
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. It comes with a 138-hp 2.0-liter engine with variable-valve timing and is a leader in fuel economy, earning a 27/34 mpg City/Highway from the EPA when equipped with the manual transmission.
The four-door sedan is popular, but we prefer the five-door hatchback for its practicality.
Elantra is available in base GLS and sporty GT trim and, for 2006, it's also available in an upscale Limited trim.
The Elantra's interior is nicely finished and it's roomier and more comfortable than many subcompacts, including big name brands such as the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. 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 come with a 10-year/ 100,000-mile warranty, and Hyundai warrants Elantra against rust-through for five years or 100,000 miles.
The 2006 Hyundai Elantra is offered in two body styles and three trim levels. The GLS is available as a four-door sedan or a five-door hatchback, while the sporty GT is available as a five-door hatch. For 2006, the Elantra is also available in a new Limited sedan model with premium trim.
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). SULEV models with automatics run cleaner and produce slightly less power.
Safety features that come standard on all models include dual frontal airbags and front seat-mounted side-impact airbags. Three-point seat belts are used for all five seating positions; the front seatbelts feature pretensioners, force limiters and adjustable-height shoulder anchors. Wear them; seatbelts are your first line of defense in a crash. As mentioned, ABS and traction control are part of the Premium Package available for all models.
The GLS sedan ($13,675) comes with air conditioning, cloth upholstery, stereo cassette radio, power windows, mirrors and locks, center console with armrest, cruise control, 15-inch wheels, and keyless remote entry with alarm.
The GLS five-door hatchback ($14,075) 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.
The GT ($14,995), available only in the five-door body style, adds leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped gearshift and steering wheel, a trip computer that projects range, instrument lights that glow purple, front fog lamps, and alloy wheels with Michelin tires.
The Limited ($15,475), available only as a sedan, comes standard with an automatic and has the upscale trim of the GT plus woodgrain accents but the GLS sedan's rear drum brakes and steel wheels.
Optional on all models is a package that includes ABS and traction control and a power tilt/slide moonroof with sliding sunshade ($1,100).