First came the Genesis sedan and coupe. The Sonata followed. Days away is the Equus, a big luxury sedan.
They're all sculpted, sleek, relatively powerful for their segments and hell-bent on one thing -- changing the perception Hyundai is a car you buy when you can't afford anything better. Now comes the Elantra, with similar styling to the Sonata -- fluid and curvy all at once -- and a fuel-sipping four-cylinder and roomy interior.
The 2011 Elantra will be revealed Thursday at the Los Angles auto show, and it features dramatic new exterior design and a well-appointed interior.
It arrives before the end of the year. The top-shelf model is will be available with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine making 148 hp and 137 lb-ft of torque. The spotlight figure: 40 mpg on the highway, backed up by 29 mpg in city driving. It comes with six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes.
The spotlight figure: 40 mpg on the highway for all models, backed up by 29 mpg in city driving. It is available with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
This new Elantra is an inch longer and 2 inches longer between the wheels and replaces a model that launched in 2006. The exterior has flowing lines with bulging wheel arches in the same vein as the Sonata. Elegant features include the wraparound headlights and taillights. It's all fronted by a hexagonal grille and creased hood.
The interior is dressed with solid materials and features a nifty center stack with a circular button to operate a number of climate controls. Leather, power sunroof and heated front and rear seats are standard on the Limited model. There are 15-inch wheels as the base option, and 16s and 17s are available.
The goal is to take on other compacts with an interior that Hyundai says is mid-sized.
The Elantra is a touch lighter than its predecessor and tips the scales at 2,661 pounds with a manual and 2,701 pounds with an automatic. Weight is also reduced due to the new engine which uses an aluminum engine block. The previous engine was cast iron.
Hyundai says the car is 37 percent stiffer due to the use of high-strength steel.
Road noise is quieted with more sound-proof plastic shields and foam padding.