Do you think the Hyundai Elantra might be for you? So did a panel of 50 independent North American automotive journalists who selected the 2012 Hyundai Elantra as the North American Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this past January. It’s a compact car that’s changing all the rules for what a compact car can be.
In almost every appreciable measure, the 2012 Hyundai Elantra beats the competition at its own game. Familiar faces make up the Elantra’s competition: Corolla, Focus, Sentra and Civic. The Elantra provides a fuel economy advantage over every single one from a four mpg boost in highway mileage over the Civic to nine mpg better than the Sentra.
That fuel economy advantage is due in part to an all-new 1.8-liter four-cylinder Theta-II engine featuring Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-CVVT). The engine delivers 148 hp and 131 lb/ft of torque. Also new for the 2012 edition is the six-speed automatic transmission, which features a SHIFTRONIC mode, allowing drivers to shift gears on their own. The six-speed automatic is 11 pounds lighter than the five-speed transmission it replaces, due partially to the fact that there are 62 fewer parts, which also helps increase durability and reliability. A flatter torque converter also means that the transmission is half an inch shorter, despite the extra gear.
Inside, the Elantra features a passenger volume that falls outside the EPA’s classification for “compact,” instead making it a midsize car. With a total interior volume of 110.4 cubic feet, the Elantra has the most passenger volume in its class, beating the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, 2012 Ford Focus, 2012 Honda Civic Sedan and 2011 Toyota Corolla.
Ride quality is critical in a small car. The Elantra is equipped with a MacPherson strut front suspension with coilsprings and gas shock absorbers. The torsion beam rear suspension provides greater steering stability, and the monotube shock absorbers add to the comfortable ride. Motor-driven, electric power steering with instant adjustment to driving conditions also helps improve fuel economy by eliminating the power-robbing belt that usually drives a power steering pump. With its variable power steering and short footprint, the Elantra is a snap to park, providing a turning circle of just 34.8 feet, almost a full foot shorter than the Corolla.
Inside, the 2012 Elantra GLS begins with a two-tone interior in your choice of either gray or beige. Elantra Limited features black interior appointments. Heated seats are not only available up front, but in the rear, too, a feature normally only found on luxury cars priced upward of $60,000. The Elantra features a 172-watt AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system with six speakers as standard equipment, and also comes with iPod/USB and auxiliary input jacks. An optional 360-watt system is also available. GLS and Limited trims offer a voice-activated navigation system with a high-resolution seven-inch touch-screen.
Select mobile phones can stream directly to the head unit via Bluetooth. The XM Satellite Radio interface built into the seven-inch screen features channel logos, real-time NavTraffic, XM NavWeather, XM Stock Ticker and XM Sports Ticker. A rear-view camera enhances safety when backing up, a feature not found on either the Civic or the MAZDA3. The system’s home screen can even be customized with personal pictures uploaded through the USB port.
Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) help to keep the Elantra traveling on your intended path. A total of six airbag (driver and front passenger, front seat-mounted side-impact and front and rear side-curtain) help protect occupants in the event of a crash. State-of-the-art braking includes four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, and Brake Assist applies maximum braking force when the system detects that the driver is executing a panic stop. Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) adjusts brakeforce between front and rear wheels based on how the Elantra is loaded with passengers and cargo.
Customers, critics and the panel of jurors on the North American Car of the Year jury agree: The 2012 Hyundai Elantra is shattering conceptions of what affordable compact cars should offer. Visit with us today to find out more.