History of the Hyundai Elantra
When it first debuted in 1990, the Elantra was not an exceptional car. It was a boring compact sedan, with front-wheel drive and a lineup of gutless four-cylinder engines. Only penny-pinchers purchased it, due to its low price tag and great fuel economy.
In 1995, the second generation Elantra debuted. It was no more exciting than its predecessor, but now the lackluster experience could be had in station wagon form as well as sedan.
The third generation Elantra was released in 2000. The station wagon was replaced by a hatchback and a new, “sporty” GT trim level was introduced. The only available engine option was the 2.0L 4-cylinder, which had been dragged along since the beginning of the second generation.
In 2006, the fourth generation Elantra was introduced. It was a bit more shapely than the previous generation and had some modern safety and convenience features. However, it still did not possess any great emotional appeal.
Fifth Generation Elantra (2011-present)
The Elantra finally came into its own with the introduction of the fifth generation in 2011. The new model came sporting a distinctive exterior, along with more cargo space and revised drivetrain. A new 1.8L engine was also introduced, along with a 6-speed automatic transmission. This combination was good for an exceptional 40 mpg. In 2013, the Elantra coupe and hatchback were also introduced.
However, what really set the Elantra apart from the previous generation was the generous list of standard and available features. The Elantra came loaded to the gills – more so than almost any other vehicle in its class. Standard equipment includes power accessories, tilt steering wheel, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system with Satellite radio and USB/auxiliary input jacks, six airbags, electronic stability and traction control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution and remote keyless entry.
The Elantra has transformed from a vehicle nobody coveted to an object of desire. You can’t say that about a Toyota Corolla or a Honda Accord.