Heated rear seats may make buyers warm to an Elantra

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News
Sometimes all it takes is one feature to change the perception of a vehicle.

Sometimes it takes one feature to start a trend.

What caught my attention is a standard feature on the redesigned 2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited -- heated rear seats. That well-equipped Elantra model comes with a six-speed automatic, power windows and door locks, leather seating surfaces and a long, long list of other equipment, all standard. The sticker price with transportation is just under $21,000!

The feature isn't new, of course. We have seen luxury models offer heated rear seats for years. But I believe this is the first time that feature has been offered in the price-sensitive compact segment.

If you're a dealer in Tampa, Dallas or San Diego, touting heated rear seats probably won't close the deal. But for dealers in the Snow Belt, that's an attractive feature that could move a buyer from a Ford Focus, Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla into an Elantra, especially for a car with a total price under $21,000.

I bet some automakers have already been on the phone with their suppliers, talking about the heated rear seats they need in their next-generation compacts.

It's certainly a hot feature for a cool price.



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