2007 Hyundai Elantra

At the 2006 New York Auto Show, Hyundai, the Korean automaker that’s become the industry poster-child for the term ‘successful turnaround’ introduced an all-new iteration of the car that, 20-plus year ago, originally brought the brand to the States — The Hyundai Elantra.

That original Hyundai Elantra was plagued with build quality and reliability problems, but by the time the most recent generation was introduced a few years back, Hyundai had shed that perception completely, thanks in part to a competition-beating warranty. In fact, the current Elantra was one of our favorite choices in the compact segment, especially in five-door GT guise. Some reviewers claimed it lacked in refinement, but we found it to be more fun, better-equipped, and in many cases a lot better-looking than the average Corolla, Civic or (eep) Cavalier. And the price, plus the 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty, made it easy for us to recommend it.

From what we’ve seen, there will be a lot to recommend the all-new 2007 Elantra, too. The exterior design has certainly grown up; the Elantra now evinces a rounder, softer, more contemporary look. The interior has gone a bit upscale, too, with softer shapes and nicer-looking materials. Passenger space is now up to 98 cubic feet, in the four-door sedan, which is the only body style yet released.

Carried over is the 138-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which seemed plenty peppy in the old Elantra (which was admittedly smaller and probably lighter). We’d again recommend the five-speed manual transmission here, which, along with the optional four-speed automatic, too returns for duty in the new model. The new chassis is said to be significantly stiffer, and the suspension now features anti-roll bars at both ends.

Six airbags and antilock brakes now come standard and yet Hyundai says pricing should remain similar to the outgoing Elantras, at $14,000 or so to start.

Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai, New York International Auto Show

Charlie is Roadfly’s founder and publisher, and was taught to drive by his father in a 1974 Porsche 914. That made poor Charlie a Porsche fanboy for life, and after driving a 911SC at 16, he bought and campaigned a variety of 944s at racetracks up and down the East Coast, earning awards and track records in his twenties. Charlie never really got over the car bug, and after a career in real estate development he founded the Internet media firm that became Roadfly. Charlie lives in McLean, VA with his wife and two daughters, and between the demands of family and business doesn’t have much time to play with cars anymore, excluding the machinery we review.

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