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#14

in 2010 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $8,503 - $10,172
Original MSRP: $14,145 - $17,845
MPG: 26 City / 34 Hwy
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2010 Hyundai Elantra Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The Elantra offers excellent handling and will work well as a daily driver. Moreover, its quiet cabin makes it a favorite among test drivers since affordable small cars aren't known for their quiet cabins. Still, its acceleration isn’t exactly spirited. If you’re looking for something a bit more fun to drive that's in the same general price range, check out the Mitsubishi Lancer. It has more aggressive styling that is well-liked by reviewers and offers considerably more powerful engine options.

  • "The engine is noisy at high rpm but is never unpleasant. Some wind rush is evident around the exterior mirrors. Road and tire noise on sedans are impressively low for the class." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The Hyundai Elantra offers spirited handling with predictable response and calm confidence. The Elantra rides softer than the sportier Nissan Sentra or Mazda3. The ride is good, although after a couple hours on a bad freeway, the sharp bumps might wear on those who are perhaps more tender." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Not good only in traffic jams, the…Hyundai Elantra SE is stable on the highway, however, and with no wind noise and only modest tire noise, conversation is easy and even listening to classical music, with its greater differences in dynamics than pop music, is possible." -- Examiner.com
  • "Zippy little engines are no longer a surprise in economy cars, but the Elantra's 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, 138-horsepower CVVT ULEV engine, teamed with the five-speed transmission, is particularly impressive, especially on uphill climbs." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

Both around town and in highway passing maneuvers, reviewers say the Elantra is a capable performer. Furthermore its excellent fuel economy makes it well worth checking out. The EPA rates the base Elantra Blue at 26/35 mpg city/highway, a rating that puts the Elantra near the top of its class in terms of fuel economy.

All 2010 Elantras use the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that offers 138 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on all models. Four-speed automatic transmissions are available.

If you’re looking for more power, and perhaps more aggressive styling, check out the Mitsubishi Lancer. It offers more powerful engine choices that make it more fun to drive.

  • "The engine offers the latest four-cylinder technology; it can power the Elantra to 80 miles per hour without much effort and delivers good fuel economy when driven conservatively." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Acceleration in both the sedan and Touring is adequate but far from snappy. The manual transmission has a slightly notchy feel and throws that are on the long side. The automatic is smooth and responsive." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The clutch on our manual transmission-equipped car was light, and Hyundai doesn't make much about it, but the Elantra SE is equipped with a B&M Sport shifter. No wonder it feels so good. Altogether, we'd list the Hyundai Elantra SE as one of the Manual Transmission Cars to Get Caught in Heavy Traffic With, if of course [someone] wants to get caught in heavy traffic." -- Examiner.com

Handling and Braking

The Elantra earns high praise for its handling, which allows it to maneuver easily in and out of tight spaces and stop quickly without breaking a sweat. Its abilities are well suited to the needs of a daily driver who spends time on both the highway and in the parking lot at the grocery store.

  • "The sedan's suspension allows some cornering lean, but the tires furnish good dry-road grip. Elantra's electric power steering is quick but feels a tad light. The brakes on all furnish fine stopping control and pedal feel." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The brakes are excellent. We really used them hard a few times, and they didn't cause the car to dart or weave while they sharply, and evenly, brought down the speed." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "The Elantra definition of 'handling' would focus more on urban maneuverability and the ability-thanks to a tight turning radius-to slip into a parking place in the supermarket parking lot before anyone else sees it. Push it on a winding road, however, and a certain squishiness comes out." -- Examiner.com
  • "More refined is the ride quality, which is smooth and stable, even at highway speeds. Wind and road noise are also negligible, making the Elantra one of the better choices in its class if you do a lot of highway driving. Although it's not especially fun to drive, the Elantra manages to hold tight through turns, offering plenty of grip and decent steering response." -- Edmunds

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