Big boys will have to look out for Elantra

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News
Ford and Chevrolet have high hopes for their new small cars.

But the redesigned 2011 Hyundai Elantra likely will woo buyers from the 2011 Ford Fiesta, redesigned 2012 Focus and the 2011 Chevy Cruze. Why?

• Luxury-like interior and exterior styling, heavily borrowed from the highly successful 2011 Sonata.

• Interior space categorized by the government as mid-sized. The wheelbase was stretched two inches.

• 40 mpg fuel economy for all models, manual and automatic.

• A long list of standard features with a base sticker price around $15,500, including destination.

2011 Hyundai Elantra
The new Elantra is being unveiled Thursday morning at the Los Angles auto show.

There's been no opportunity to drive the redesigned Elantra. That comes later this year.

But my first impression, based on walking around the car and sitting behind the wheel is that even the big guys, namely Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, will be keeping a close eye on Elantra sales.

It's an impressive package for an equally impressive price.