Thursday, August 17, 2006

2007 Hyundai Elantra: Preview

2007 Hyundai Elantra: Preview By MALCOMM GUNN, Wheelbase Communications You might have taken the Elantra for granted in the past, but Hyundai challenges anyone to ignore its mighty marvel this time around. For 2007, this increasingly popular economy car hits the highway in a larger size and with more style and features to tempt buyers. If you haven't visited a Hyundai showroom lately, you're in for a big surprise. In the last two years, the company has completely revamped its entire lineup — seven models in total — adding the new Tucson mini-ute, Azera luxury sedan and Entourage minivan, and remaking the Santa Fe off-roader and Accent and Sonata passenger cars. The fourth-generation Elantra replaces a well-received version that was introduced in 2001, a model that managed to cut a wide swath through the North American small-car landscape. Hyundai has capitalized on this momentum and created a car that strives to out-do just about every other competitor in terms of size and features. Outside, the Elantra's packaging has been significantly altered with a more rounded front end that appears similar to that of the smaller Accent and bigger Sonata. Although not exactly head turning, the overall design carries a certain Euro-influenced style that is attractive in its own way. Thus far, the four-door sedan is the only body style available, but don't count out an eventual return of a four-door hatchback, a mainstay model of the previous Elantra. Twisting the ignition key engages a 138-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder that's essentially a carryover from the previous version. Note that the output in California and some northeastern states is reduced to 132 horses due to tighter emissions regulations, which traditionally have a negative impact on performance. The motor is matched to a five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic. Three trim levels include the base GLS that's fitted with the bare econo-car necessities although six airbags and anti-lock brakes are included. Opting for the SE adds air conditioning, heated side mirrors, remote keyless entry, cruise control, telescoping steering wheel, 16-inch alloy rims and a 172-watt audio system. At the top of the range is the Limited that includes all of the SE's content as well as leather-covered seats (heated in front) and interior trim. The stand-alone option list is short and includes a power sunroof and a 220-watt sound system with a six-disc CD changer. Always standard, of course, is Hyundai's warranty, which provides five years or 60,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper protection and 10 years/100,000 miles of powertrain coverage. Vehicles such as the class leading Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla are the professed targets for Hyundai and, given the Elantra's increased volume, features and safety content, the company is certainly closer. source:

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