Monday, January 25, 2016

Used Car Review - Hyundai Elantra (2011-2015)

A game changer for a certain brand will be replaced, Myk Belmonte delves more here.

2011-2015 Hyundai Elantra

If there is a point in Hyundai's life where its career flourished, it would be somewhat the mid to late 2000s especially that most, if not all, of its vehicles were high scorers on their respective categories. For the first time, the redesigned 2007 Hyundai Elantra and Santa Fe were Consumer Reports' top picks for 2008, and the first time for any Korean car maker to be featured in that list. Since then, these two cars would show up on the list for several years especially on their redesign models.

The Hyundai Elantra is similar to the ugly duckling, it would transform to something cheap but unreliable to a world-class contender beating the hell out of what the Japanese and Americans can offer. While the 2001 model was a starting point, the 2007 brought them to higher levels and since then the vehicle is a top performer. Do remember the first generation model was shared with the Mitsubishi Mirage while later ones are self developed.

Our Elantra experience started in 1996 when Francisco Motors Corporation assembled these (both sedan and wagon bodies) in 1996, alongside Fiat hatchbacks, Mazda pickups. and their Anfra AUVs. It was a time when Korean cars aren't exactly known for their reliability and durability. Almost a decade later, HARI brought in the fourth generation model in diesel guise but was not a hit since only less than 10 units were sold. The popular one and brought the nameplate to mainstream levels is what we will be reviewing here. Between 2011 to 2013, it is sold in 1.6 GL and 1.8 GLS models while a 2014 update gave way to four models.

Value and Costs
Third generation Elantras (internationally fifth) in the second hand market will cost you for as low as P500,000 while 2014-2015 releases hover around P850,000. All vehicles would get Hyundai's five year warranty or 100,000 kilometers as standard, which means finding a unit with this one is an easy task. In this case, check the condition of the prospective vehicle rather than a specific model year especially changes are very minimal to begin with.

With the vehicle's best seller status, parts availability is widespread especially that most Korean specialist shops have them. So far, no reported problems in a serious level have been reported by owners apart from the clock-spring that is evident in 1.8 models, which makes noises when one steers the car.

Exterior and Interior
Like Hyundai's developed between 2009 to 2012, the Elantra receives the Fluidic Sculpture treatment and looked like a scaled down Sonata, which elicits stares without going overboard in styling. Notice the extended tail lights, which gracefully complements the vehicle while niceties like side mirror signal repeaters, fog lamps, and larger wheels are standard in higher models.

Going inside isn't anymore your generic Korean vehicle developed a decade and a half ago, uninspiring and something that befits a Fisher Price toy, rather you'll feel that you are inside of an expensive vehicle without any wide gaps present in it, although some cheap touches are present. In terms of equipment, lower models get a single DIN audio system while the upper ones have a full integrated type or a touchscreen monitor, depending on the year. Other things to remember include the GL manual gets a driver side airbag while its automatic derivative has both and upper end models from 2014 has a push button start. While there is adequate space inside the vehicle, some may complain of limited headroom for tall occupants at the back.

Most of the Elantras that you will spot in the market carry the Gamma II 1.6 with 128hp at 6,300rpm and 157Nm at 4,850rpm that is available in the majority of the models. The sole option for GLS and L models is the Nu 1.8 possessing 148hp at 6,500rpm and 178Nm at 4,700rpm. Both engines carry more than enough horsepower that rivals stick to, which meant it had more grunt in the lower range while having some muscle to spare for longer drives.

Driving Impressions
You'll be surprised here: handling is balanced but has the tendency to be heavy no thanks to a trait of its motor driven power steering while 2014 and later units receive Hyundai's Flexsteer that gives you an option to choose between normal, sport, or comfort steering modes which gives you flexibility. The manual transmission has six-speeds to play with, which makes things fun while the automatic is seamless. Ride quality is smooth, not as stiff similar to Hondas, though it tends to be rough in poor road conditions.

For its 2011 redesign, Hyundai outdid themselves by improving what could be improved more. The fifth generation, although has faults, is an impressive car. While it does not have a sporty nature, it does its best of offering the best value and high quality.

The Good:
  • High quality interior
  • Good looks
  • Standard six-speed manual
The Bad:
  • Some cheap touches
  • Somewhat heavy steering
  • Limited rear headroom for some
The Pick: 1.6 GL

Engines: 1,591cc Gamma II and 1,797cc Nu 16V I4 gasoline
Power: 128hp @ 6,300rpm (1.6), 148hp @ 6,500rpm (1.8)
Torque: 157Nm @ 4,850rpm (1.6), 178Nm @ 4,700rpm (1.8)
Fuel Consumption: 8-10km/L (city), 11-13km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
Suspension: Front McPherson strut, rear torsion beam axle

Price (New): P818,000-P1,200,000
Price (Now): P500,000-P850,000
Rivals: Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Kia Forte, Mazda 3, Mitsubishi Lancer, Nissan Sentra, Nissan Sylphy, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla Altis
On Sale: 2011-2015

Hyundai E. Rodriguez - (02) 416-5767

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