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.