With a “Best in Class" Interior and Exterior, guess what else it appears to do “Best in Class”?
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- May 21, 2011
2011 Hyundai Elantra – The most significant vehicle launch at the 2010 LA Auto Show thanks in part to a 29/40 mpgUS city/highway rating and starting at just $14,945.
Following on the heels of some unexpectedly spectacular fuel economy provided over very long distance drives in the award winning 2011 Hyundai Sonata (“Sonta Challenge” - One day, 1,000 miles and just one tank of gas…
) and the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid (Transcontinental Challenge
), another Hyundai vehicle we have been waiting patiently for arrived at the door yesterday. Let me introduce the 2011 Hyundai Elantra.
Hyundai is proving that 40 mpg for its customers means 40 mpg and while competitors offer 40 to 42 mpgUS on the EPA highway rating with specialized and more expensive production units, none to date including every variant of the 2012 Ford Focus and even the highly touted Chevrolet Cruze ECO have provided what preliminarily looks to be the class leader in fuel economy when they are pushed to their respective limits. All have provided far beyond their EPA combined ratings including the 2012 Focus Titanium, SE and SFE
and the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco
but neither competitor has reached what the 11 Elantra has preliminarily provided in a non-verified or calibrated result.
In addition to the fuel economy quotient, current C-Segment competitors appear to be behind the 8 ball when it comes to the 2011 Elantra’s futuristic interior and exterior, size and price from preliminary impressions garnered over the past 24-hours. I have said this to friends, acquaintances and colleagues over the past few weeks and months:
“The Cruze exterior is going to date poorly over the coming years even though it has the best interior materials of anything in the affordable compact class. The Focus’ exterior will age gracefully thanks to its striking exterior design. However, its interior plastics and stalk controls are nowhere near “Best in Class” even though it incorporates possibly the best platform from a ride and handling perspective.”
Let us go for a ride...
2011 Hyundai Elantra - First Drive
An 18.3 mile around town drive in 55 – 56 degree temps and at a displayed 74.3 mpg without an SG-II or setup in any fashion.
Meet the 2011 Hyundai Elantra GLS
Hyundai released this North American “Super Model” to the general public in December of last year with the already famous “Fluidic Sculpture” interior/exterior design or “Wind Craft” as it is called in Korea. Along with the stunning appearance, the 11 Elantra’s most endearing attribute(s) include its excellent fuel economy, affordable pricing and an honest to goodness “mid-size car
” interior volume!
The 2011 Elantra is available with two audio systems. Standard is a 172-watt AM/FM/Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system with six-speakers and iPod/USB/auxiliary input jacks. A 360-watt system with external amplifier is also available.
The GLS Interior.
An available high-resolution 7.0-inch touch-screen based and voice activated navigation system is available on both the GLS and Limited trims. The sound system plays compact discs, accesses digital music files via Bluetooth streaming audio or allows driver and passenger to access their personal listening devices through the iPod/USB/auxiliary inputs. Bluetooth audio wirelessly streams music from select mobile phones to the head unit. The XM Satellite Radio interface is also integrated into the navigation unit and features channel logos, real-time NavTraffic and XM Data services, such as XM NavWeather, XM Stock Ticker and XM Sports Ticker. The system also integrates a rear-view camera, Users can even upload personal pictures from a USB rather than a CD to be displayed on the system’s home screen.
Elantra owners can also add premium features, such as a proximity key with push button start and immobilizer, power sunroof, one touch driver’s window and leather seating surfaces.
With all of the above available, some might ask why request an entry level trim? Hyundai’s entry level trims means you receive the standard PW, PL, PM, height adjustable seats, cup holders, 12V outlets, i-Pod adapters, good sound system and even a trip computer. You also receive color keyed door handles, interior chrome accents on the vents and instrument surrounds, damped doors for miscellaneous driver/passenger storage and sunglass holder plus attractive wheel covers vs. other manufacturers pie plates on their lesser trims.
Other manufacturers want you to pay up for the nicer looking trims whereas Hyundai expects “all” its customers to drive an attractive looking vehicle regardless of price. After all, a cars appearance describes the brand and unlike most other manufacturers, Hyundai apparently wants to make sure its “Brand
” no matter the trim looks as good to everyone else as it does to you and I
The 2011 Hyundai Elantra GLS Standard Features
The 2011 Hyundai Elantra - 40 MPG Powertrain Detail
The Elantra is powered by an all-new 1.8L I4 providing up to 148 HP and 131 lb-ft of torque (145 horsepower and 130 lb-ft of torque for the PZEV variant sold in California, Oregon and several Northeast states).
The 1.8L is equipped with Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-CVVT) camshafts and hydraulic engine mounts for good power and exemplary efficiency. Using D-CVVT on both camshafts provides a two percent improvement in performance (increased volumetric efficiency), two percent improvement in fuel economy (reduced pumping loss) and a 30 percent reduction in hydrocarbon emissions. In the valve train, roller swing arms and hydraulic lash adjusters reduce valve driven friction to improve fuel economy one percent compared to a direct valve lifter to cam lobe setup. The new engine also features a maintenance-free silent timing chain system to enhance durability and improve Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH).
The application of a plastic two-stage Variable Intake System (VIS), enables switching between long and short intake manifolds that results in an across-the-board four percent improvement in performance, a 15 percent reduction in cost and 30 percent reduction in weight when compared with a single path aluminum intake structure.
An electronic throttle control or “Drive By Wire” (DBW) system is standard. The DBW system replaces the conventional cable and mechanical linkage with much faster responding electronics allowing much more accurate control over the air intake and engine output improving both drivability and fuel economy.
The 11 Elantra is also Hyundai’s first application of double-pipe plumbing (internal heat exchanger). Double-pipe plumbing improves cabin cooling performance, while minimizing the capacity of the compressor, further reducing fuel consumption. An external controlled variable compressor is used to improve fuel efficiency versus an internal variable vane unit.
Following in the footsteps of Honda’s engines, the Elantra’s I4 is designed with an offset crankshaft
that reduces friction between the piston and cylinder wall as the piston is more directly in line with the rod and crankshaft connection during the power stroke for a one percent improvement in fuel economy.
2011 Hyundai Elantra 6-Speed AT and MT
The 2011 Elantra can be equipped with a six-speed manual (standard) or automatic with SHIFTRONIC manual control.
The all-new 6-speed AT incorporates 62 fewer parts than its 5-speed predecessor offering increased durability, lighter weight and lower cost. It also features a thin torque converter design that shortens the unit's overall length by 0.43 inches, while being 2.6 pounds lighter.
This all-new 6-speed AT mated to the 1.8L helps the Elantra deliver a four percent gain in fuel economy.
The 2011 Elantra’s six-speed MT is also all-new and provides crisp shifts courtesy of triple-cone synchronizers for first and second gears, double-cone for third gear and single-cone for fourth, fifth and sixth gears. In addition, the wider ratio spacing was added to increase fuel economy at highway speeds while still providing good performance for the stop light to stop light throttle jockeys.
From first through sixth gear, the shift action is precise without the ever present notchiness of previous Hyundai MT’s.
The 2011 Elantra’s fuel economy is 29 mpg city and 40 mpg highway when equipped with either the six-speed AT or MT and that 40 mpg highway is for everyone, not just the modified one off specials from a number of competitor’s.
2011 Hyundai Elantra Safety
Fortunately, all new vehicles available today are much safer than their predecessors from even a year ago in most instances and the 2011 Hyundai Elantra is no different. All 2011 Elantra’s regardless of trim feature six airbags—including dual front, front seat-mounted side-impact and side curtain airbags. In addition, Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) manages ESC (Electronic Stability Control), Traction Control System (TCS) and the Motor-Driven electric Power Steering (MDPS).
The Elantra also features four-wheel disc brakes with Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) including Brake Assist and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD).
Finally, the Elantra incorporates a strong unibody construction featuring front and rear crumple zones while the rear doors have dual internal beams to prevent intrusion in case of a side impact collision.
2011 Hyundai Elantra Pricing - Where the competition weeps
The all-new Elantra offers a modern design, loads of comfort and convenience features, and is an outstanding weapon against high gas prices while starting at a low $14,945.
2011 Elantra Pricing
|Model||Transmission||MSRP (includes D&H)|
|Elantra GLS (Standard)||MT||$15,695|
|Elantra GLS (Popular)||MT||$16,945|
|Elantra GLS (Preferred)||AT||$18,495|
|Elantra GLS (Navigation)||AT||$20,345|
|Elantra Limited Premium||AT||$23,045|
GLS M/T Popular Equipment Package ($1,250) includes: A/C, CC, Telescopic Wheel, Solar Glass, Windshield Shade Band, 16” steel wheels with full wheel covers and P205/55R16 tires.
GLS Preferred Package ($550) includes: 16” alloy wheels, steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth hands-free phone system with voice recognition, cloth insert door trim, sliding center armrest, illuminated vanity mirror with drivers extension and illuminated ignition.
GLS Navigation Package ($1,850) includes: Navigation w/ 7” screen, rear view camera, 360 W Premium audio w/ external amp and auto headlights. It does require the Preferred Equipment package.
Limited Premium Package ($2,100) includes: Navigation w/ 7” screen, rear view camera, 360 W Premium audio w/ external amp, auto headlights, proximity key with electronic push button start and a vehicle immobilizer.
And before you ask, yes, there was a small price increase since this earlier build 2011 Elantra was delivered.
The “base” Elantra GLS
2011 Hyundai Elantra Early Impressions and Competitive Comparisons
The fuel economy displayed (received?) during our initial 100% city/suburban 18.3 mile drive was concluded without any warm up, without any external instrumentation and without any setup prior to taking the wheel. Not only has that result yet to be verified, I still need to drive higher speed suburban and highway roadways and complete both the odometer study and calibrated steady state fuel economy results before any actual conclusion about the fuel economy capability of the Elantra can be made.
On the ride and handling front, the 2012 Ford Focus SE w/ the Sport package and Titanium with the optional 18” alloys take top honors with the 2012 Civic in second and the Elantra and Cruze ECO tied for third.
Regarding the exterior appearance, it is the 2011 Elantra way out front with the 2012 Focus in second, 2012 Civic in third and the 2011 Cruze anchoring in fourth place.
Interior appearance again goes to the Elantra as its “Fluidic Sculpture” is seamlessly integrated from the exterior to the interior. Adding, the high end appointments for the “base” model simply make it all the more attractive. The Focus comes in tied for second with a robust feel and the Cruze ECO with the best interior materials of any compact in this price class by a good margin. The all-new 2012 Civic falls to last place as the dash has been spruced up with interior angles and additions that not only make everything droop but the plastics are really cold to the touch. Cold in the fact it appears and feels to be made with a cost cutting approach rather than an attempt to be competitive within the hyper competitive compact marketplace.
I will have more on subjective road noise and with at most a 45-mph top speed in both the Civic test ride and the Elantra, the Focus is on top with the Cruze and Civic holding second and the Elantra in fourth. I will have more on this as the week progresses…
Pricing: Why did the Elantra’s competitors even show up in this comparison? As of this moment, 2011 Elantra’s are being sold as fast as they are being built in both the Alabama and Korean plants. My local dealer had 0 in stock as of two weeks ago and they are sold off the delivery truck as it arrives. Wouldn’t other manufacturers like to be so lucky?
Fuel Economy: If the early fuel economy results prove to be sustainable and accurate, only the 2010/2011 Prius driving in this driving regimen could topple the 11 Elantra with the 6-speed MT. Some might consider the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid as well but not in the type of environment I was driving, the HCH-III reaching 70 + would be doubtful. In addition, with an almost $10K premium over the 2011 Elantra GLS w/ a stick and having never been behind the wheel of the all-new 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid, should I bother comparing the two?
As of this writing, I would not like to be in any competitor’s shoes because the current class leader in terms of eye catching appeal and probably raw fuel economy capability just so happens to come from a Korean company by the name of Hyundai and from a car called “Elantra”.
The first base compact that “fits” an upper class residence while still being affordable for the rest of us.
More details from our previous write-ups on the 2011 Hyundai Elantra:
Expect even more detail over the coming days.