Combating high gasoline prices, the popular Hyundai Elantra gets even better for price-minded consumers with a new-for-2012 ActiveECO System. Newly added convenience features also boost the Elantra's competitive value in the compact and midsize sedan segment.
The 2012 Elantra is available starting at $15,345 in two trim levels: GLS and Limited.
Both models are powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 148 horsepower while developing 131 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine can be paired with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed Shiftronic automatic with manual shift capability. Fuel economy expectations are 29 miles per gallon city with a highway rating of 40 mpg, regardless of transmission choice.
For 2012, Elantra gets a new ActiveECO System that provides real-world fuel economy by modifying engine and transmission control to smooth out throttle response. In addition to the ActiveECO System, the new 2012 Elantra now provides several new convenience features to enhance passenger comfort. Added highlights include: a dual-shell horn for improved sound; new steering calibration for better on-center feel; fog lights added to GLS Preferred Package; passenger-side sun visor extension added to GLS Preferred Package; an optional roadside assistance kit; and new exterior color choices.
The Elantra GLS is well equipped with many standard features, while offering a host of premium options and equipment, such as heated rear seats. The Limited edition Elantra obviously delivers more features and equipment with a minimal increase in expenditure.
My test 2012 Hyundai Elantra was the Limited trim, finished outside in Harbor Gray metallic and inside in Charcoal and Black. The base sticker read $20,445.
The Elantra delivers interesting perspectives such as: the fact that an affordable car can be sleek and modern while providing an emotional and sophisticated design; that it can offer advanced safety features at affordable prices; and that it delivers exceptional room in a compact car, virtually eliminating the need for a midsize sedan; and, it yields the fuel economy of a subcompact vehicle in the form of a compact sedan.
The ride quality of the 2012 Elantra is quite comfortable. The handling characteristics deliver a positive on-center feel. Acceleration is peppy in and around town and even on the highway. Steep grades at freeway speeds when attempting to pass present a somewhat different scenario and a turbocharged version engine would be a plus here, and will probably be included in Elantra's future before long.
The Hyundai Elantra has a sporty stance. The design language reflects Hyundai's overall "Fluidic Sculpture" styling. The interior design takes on the same fluidic, sculpted styling cues as the exterior. The center console offers a flowing appearance, with ergonomic and intuitive placement of gauges and switchgear. The seating is constructed of eco-friendly soy-foam material. Elantra provides multiple storage areas, with more storage capacity than many key competitors.
The 2012 Elantra provides a full complement of safety features as well, with six airbags, Vehicle Stability Management, Electronic Stability Control with Traction Control, ABS with Electronic Brake-Force Distribution and Brake Assist, along with daytime running lights and new dual rear door beams. In the final analysis, the 2012 Elantra Limited sedan is an extremely attractive sedan with a surprising level of amenities and features.
2012 HYUNDAI ELANTRA LIMITED
VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 5-passenger FWD midsize sedan
BASE PRICE___________________ $20,445 (as tested: $22,675)
ENGINE TYPE__________________ 16-valve 4-cylinder w/MPFI
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 148 at 6500 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)________________ 131 at 4700 rpm
TRANSMISSION_________________ 6-speed automatic
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 178.3 in.
TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb)___ 34.8 ft.
CURB WEIGHT__________________ 2,877 lbs.
FUEL CAPACITY________________ 12.8 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 29 mpg city, 40 mpg highway