Hyundai Elantra, 2011: Sleek, handsomely sculptured

James Raia

Introduced at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, the newly designed 2011 Hyundai Elantra has attracted as much attention during its first six months in circulation as any car in the country.

There was little wrong with the previous version of the Elantra other than its staid appearance. But all the criticism of the previous styling is likely gone now with the car’s fifth edition.

Previous editions of the Elantra were often described as frumpy. But the new design is sleek and handsomely sculptured.

The new Elantra has a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine matched to a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. The gas mileage averages have been tweaked, allowing the Elantra to join the select, small group of vehicles averaging at least 40 mpg in highway driving.

2011 Hyundai Elantra
2011 Hyundai Elantra

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

The 2011 Elantra is classified as a compact, which used to, at least in part, define cheap. But the Elantra’s interior space qualifies it as a midsize car, and that was always evident during my week with the car.

Yes, there are more spacious vehicles. But I never felt that the car’s economical status meant compromise.

Likewise, compact cars don’t often offer features available on the Elantra, notably keyless ignition/entry, a rearview camera and heated rear seats.


Exterior styling, with classy looking angular line and a distinctive design around the wheels.

Navigation (with back-up light) is an option, but the system’s quality is outstanding and worth the $1,750 price as part of the navigation package. The screen position is ideal and visibility is superior as is the clarity of the view of the back-up camera.

Good front and back seat head and leg room.

Textured design of the cloth seats and interior door panels.


No sunroof.

No spare tire. (The Elantra has run-flat tires.)

Facts & Figures: 2011 Hyundai Elantra

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 8.5 seconds.
Airbags: Front, side and side curtain.
Antilock brakes: Standard.
First aid kit: not available.
Fuel economy: 29 mpg (city), 40 mpg (highway).
Government Safety Ratings: Not rated.
Horsepower: 138.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $17,080.00.
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.hyundaiusa.com.
Price As tested: $19,510.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 5 years/60,000 miles; Powertrain, 10 years/100,000 miles; Corrosion, 7 years/unlimited mileage; Roadside Assistance, 5 years/unlimited mileage.

What Others Say:

“With the next-generation Honda Civic and 2012 Ford Focus on the horizon, the 2011 Hyundai Elantra will be facing some stout competition in the future, but right now, the little sedan has the bones to be king of the compact roost.” —-Autoblog.com.

“Howlin’ enthusiasts might want a more sporty Mazda 3 or a Civic, but the majority of buyers in this segment aren’t enthusiasts. For them, Hyundai has offered a solid option to consider in the class, loaded with available features such as a seven-inch navigation screen, 360-watt premium audio and proximity entry key.” —- AutoWeek.com.

“Optioned smartly, the Elantra is more than just a lot of car for the money. It’s a sharply dressed, roomy and amply equipped car for the money. It was before to some degree, but now it has classy looks to match. And when it comes to economy sedans, that still matters.” —- Edmunds.com.

What The Wife Says:

“Like others have mentioned, it has great styling. I might sell my Honda and get one of these.”

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“Not even halfway into the reviewing year, is there a better top-runner for car of the year than the Hyundai Elantra? It’s likely the best new car on the market today for under $20,000.”

Article Last Updated: May 27, 2013.

1 thought on “Hyundai Elantra, 2011: Sleek, handsomely sculptured”

  1. My wife, my four-year-old son and I were in our 2002 Hyundai Elantra when the front control arms collapsed. It turns out that these control arms were the subject of a Hyundai recall — of which we were not notified until well after our incident. When I asked why we were not notified, a Hyundai employee told me it takes awhile to send out recall letters. Our accident happened about six months after the recall. We had to have our car towed to a Hyundai dealership and Hyundai refused to reimburse us for the $90 towing fee — even though Hyundai could have killed us, or someone else, through its shoddy recall practices.


Leave a Reply

Share to...