Sporty Hyundai Elantra wagon will arrive in '08
The Elantra wagon will be taller than the sedan, and the suspension will be tuned for sportier handling, says Wayne Killen, director of product planning at Hyundai Motor America.
The vehicle is derived from the i30, a five-door hatchback Hyundai first displayed at the Geneva auto show in March. But Killen says the U.S. model will look sportier than the i30, which goes on sale in Korea and Europe this spring.
"We want people who are looking for something sporty with good space but don't want a small SUV," he says.
"They still want the car look. This car is important in the entry-level segment."
Hyundai launched an Elantra GT wagon in December 2001. But it didn't replace the five-door when a redesigned Elantra sedan went on sale last October.
"Almost 40 percent of the Elantra sales were the GT five-door," Killen says. "We established a market there so we could not leave it behind."
Unlike the i30, which has a base 1.6-liter engine, the Elantra wagon will be powered by the same 138-hp 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine in the Elantra sedan. It will come with a five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic will be optional.
The new Elantra sedan could use some help. Hyundai projected it would sell 100,000 units in 2007. Through March, U.S. sales totaled 22,832 units, down 11.5 percent.
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