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
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