- Sporty and practical body.
- No direct competitors in price.
- Good handling and cornering ability.
- Low base price is fairly loaded with features.
- Improved reliability and best warranty in the industry.
- Slightly rubbery shifter.
- Build quality not up to Japanese standards.
- Needs even more power to match real sport compacts.
- Questionable resale value due to lack of image.
- Odd front-end styling.
Press Coverage :
The styling is new for 2004, giving the Elantra a more refined, more European look. The design features a new hood, front fenders, bumper, headlamp assembly and a revised grille design. Complementing the new headlamp design is a revised V-shaped grille featuring bold, horizontal bars. The grille is now integrated with the bumper cover and does not lift up with the hood as in the past. The revised front bumper features wider slats and there is a smaller, more precise opening for the fog lamps.
At the rear of the new 2004 Elantra is a revised tail light design, and the rear decklid now features a sharper accent line and the key cylinder has been relocated from the center to the right side. The handsome body color rear lip spoiler on the Elantra GT 4-door has been redesigned and is lower than the previous version. On the Elantra GT 5-door, the rear lip spoiler has been redesigned and is now body colored for a more attractive appearance. There are five new exterior paint colors available for the 2004 model year.
For 2004, the Hyundai Elantra receives many interior upgrades including: a new instrument cluster with separate faces for the speedometer (on the right) and tachometer (on the left), new vents and vent controls, new seat fabrics and a new center console stack. In addition, the HVAC controls have been revised; there are also new moonroof controls and power door lock controls.
For 2004, the Elantra GT models are now equipped with a Kenwood AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system. The system features the Color Shock variable color display, built-in 50 watt x 4 amplifier and System Q Sound Control with preset EQ curves. The system also incorporates a removable faceplate with carrying case and a grip-type remote control.
Remote keyless entry with alarm is now standard on all Elantra models and includes a new feature for 2004 for that allows unlocking the trunk without having to disarm the security system. The system will now temporarily by-pass security (with the key) to provide quick access to the trunk and rear cargo area.
All 2004 Elantra models are powered by Hyundai's proven Delta 2.0-liter, four-cylinder DOHC engine. Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) has been added for even more precise control of engine emissions. The CVVT unit is mounted on the exhaust camshaft but controls the intake valve timing by advancing and retarding the intake cam in relation to the exhaust cam.
In ULEV trim the engine is rated at 138 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 136 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 RPM.
The impressive standard equipment list for the GT models (4-door and 5-door) includes all of the class-leading standard equipment found on the Elantra GLS sedan and adds: four-wheel disc brakes, 15-inch alloy wheels fitted with Michelin P195/60R-15 tires, Euro-tuned suspension, air conditioning, leather seating, power steering, power windows, mirrors and door locks, AM/FM/CD stereo system and fog lamps, white-faced instrument cluster with purple instrument lighting and a rear deck spoiler.
The Elantra GT 5-door is a front-drive, five-door hatchback design that offers consumers the versatility of a wagon combined with the ride and handling of a European sedan. The Elantra GT 4-door takes performance and handling up a notch for the Elantra sedan. In addition to their stylish good looks, the Elantra GT models are loaded with value.
This third generation Elantra platform, introduced in 2001, is slightly larger than the previous version and offers more headroom and more rear seat leg and hip room. The wheelbase at 102.7-inches is 2.3-inches longer than the wheelbase of the previous Elantra.
For this generation the Hyundai engineers added refinement to an already impressive package. The Elantra is smooth and quiet thanks to a front subframe, hydraulic engine mounts, an eight-counterweight crankshaft, a ribbed engine block, cast-aluminum oil sump and integrated intake resonator.
In addition to being practical and roomy, the Elantra is also comfortable. The luxurious seats (standard perforated leather-seating surfaces in GT) are larger and more comfortable than the seats in the previous version of the Elantra.
The six-way adjustable driver's seat has a dual-height adjustment and both front seats offer lumbar support to enhance comfort and reduce fatigue on long trips. Front headrests and front seat belt anchors are adjustable and all seats feature advanced design cushions that adapt to the size and shape of the passenger.
The Elantra features fully independent suspension front and rear. In front the Elantra is fitted with MacPherson struts with gas-filled shock absorbers, offset coil springs and an anti-roll bar. In the GT models, the gas-filled shock absorbers are tuned to European specifications and they are matched to a 24mm front anti-roll bar. The rear suspension is a fully independent multi-link design with offset coil springs, gas-filled shock absorbers and an anti-roll bar. GT models are upgraded to Euro-spec gas-filled shock absorbers and 15mm anti-roll bar.
All Elantras are equipped with 15-inch wheels and tires. The GTs are fitted with P195/60R-15 Michelin tires on 15 x 6-inch alloy wheels. These wheel/tire packages, when combined with the fully independent suspension, provide the Elantra with smooth, precise handling. GT models with Euro-tuned suspension and larger anti-roll bars bring a taut, sporty feel to the Elantra.
Elantra stopping power is also precise. Four-wheel disc brakes are standard on the GT models. They use 10.1-inch ventilated discs up front and 10.2-inch solid discs at the rear. Hyundai's four-channel anti-lock braking system with traction control is an available option.
In addition to the driver and passenger front air bags, side impact airbags are standard as well. They were added as standard equipment with the 2001 model year. Additional safety features include a seat belt system containing pretensioners with force limiters.
All Elantra models, like all other Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S., are backed by limited bumper-to-bumper coverage for five-year or 60,000 miles. Hyundai also provides original Elantra owners and their immediate family with limited powertrain coverage for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Elantra buyers also receive 24-hour roadside assistance at no extra charge for five full years. In addition, Hyundai backs the Elantra with corrosion coverage for five years or 100,000 miles.
A practical approach shines through the Elantra GT's funky and somewhat Saab-like profile. And that's reinforced at the rear by the Elantra GT's large hatch that lifts easily to open up the spartan 18.2 cubic feet of cargo space. Space that becomes almost cavernous by folding the rear 60/40 split seatbacks. We found it as convenient as any SUV.
The Elantra GT shares its platform with the Elantra GLS four door sedan. The new, longer wheelbase, up 2.3 inches over the previous generation and now 102.7 inches long, pays practical dividends on several fronts. For one thing, there's ride and handling.
Hyundai engineers have equipped the Elantra GT with a Euro-tuned suspension. Now that means MacPherson struts, gas shocks, offset coil springs, and a 24 millimeter anti-roll bar up front, and a multi-link set up in the rear that also uses gas shocks, offset coil springs, and a 15 millimeter roll bar. Connecting it all to the pavement are 15 inch alloy wheels wrapped in 60 series Michelin rubber. The total package gives the Elantra GT a ride that is second to none in the subcompact class. Not only in terms of compliance and ride quality, but in quietness too! The Elantra GT's suspension is soft enough to soak up a large section of roadway imperfections. Yet it is by no means mushy. The Elantra GT delivers a secure ride, and it takes some pretty extreme road conditions to throw the GT off balance.
A trip through our low speed slalom pushed the extremes of the Elantra GT's suspension in a different way. The GT exhibits plenty of understeer on turn in, but that quickly transitions to oversteer when the correction is made to point the car in the other direction. Still, it is a very controlled transition, and one that our testers even called fun. There's no rule that we're aware of that says practicality must be boring!
The other dividend resulting from the Elantra GT's longer wheelbase is found on the inside where the payoff is more room! Six-footers will have no problem sliding into the standard leather trimmed, 6-way manually adjustable front buckets that were very supportive and are just to the north side of firm in nature. Side impact airbags are also standard.
Also wonderful is the extra room in the Elantra GT's rear quarters. It's still a bit tight for three across, but head and leg room are generous. In fact, generous pretty much describes the entire interior accommodations of the Elantra GT. A power moon roof is one of just three available options.
Also optional is ABS brakes with electronic traction control. Our tester didn't come with the ABS option, and while we would certainly recommend you spring for it, we must say that we were surprised by the standard system's performance. Because the four-wheel discs brought us down from 60 in a nice average of 124 feet. Our drivers like the Elantra GT's pedal feel and although there was some locking in the rear, stability remained on par with some ABS-equipped cars. This was the best stopping Hyundai we've yet driven.
Also above par for the subcompact class is the 140 horses found under the Elantra GT's hood. That's the output of the 2.0 liter, DOHC, 16-valve in-line four. Torque is rated at 133 pound-feet. That moves the Elantra GT to 60 in 8 seconds and on through the quarter mile in 16.3 seconds at 86 MPH. Now most of the 2.0 liter's power is found in the mid-range, so off-line launch is rather soft. But get it to 3500 rpm and power is plentiful. The clutch in our 5-speed manual felt a little on the light side to us, and didn't offer much feedback, and some thought the shifter was on the rubbery side. But still, there were no complaints about missed gears. A 4-speed automatic is available for those who want to go shiftless.
Shift or shiftless, either way the price of possession for this much car is more than practical by just about anyone's standards. Base price for the 2002 Hyundai Elantra GT is just $14,494. Our tester, which came with floor mats but no major options, rang up at $14,672. Factor in Hyundai's heavy duty warranty which includes limited bumper-to-bumper coverage for 5 years or 60,000 miles, and 10 years, 100,000 miles of limited powertrain coverage, plus 5 years of free 24-hour roadside assistance, and the Elantra GT looks even better.
The GT comes with four-wheel disc brakes, well-modulated by the pedal. Steering effort is light, as are most other aspects of the drivetrain, although not in a displeasing way. The Elantra is meant for city driving, and it excels at nimble executions of turns and tight maneuvers. In its sport suspension form, with slightly thicker front and rear stabilizer bars and firmer shocks and springs, its chassis held more tautly on curvaceous roads. But it did transmit more harshness into the cabin over bumps than the sedan flavor. The Michelins with which the Elantra is shod are a huge improvement over the inferior Korean tires that used to come with Hyundais, but they could be fatter than size P195/60R15 to accommodate the sport suspension better.
Inside the Elantra GT, you don't get the feeling that you had to settle for this car. The dash layout is simple, with three rotary dials for the climate control and small but easy-to-use buttons for the stereo. Interior material quality exceeds what you'd expect to find in a car of this class, with soft-touch surfaces and a refined finish. The driver seat is comfortable, with multiple adjustments including lumbar support and a seat height adjustor.
Five doors mean that rear passengers don't get shafted, as with two-door cars. Rear legroom allows for a generous 35 inches, and 53.5 inches of shoulder space means that three people can sit back there in relative comfort — as long as the ride isn't too lengthy. The hatchback provides 28.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity when the rear seats aren't in use and 18.2 cubes when they are.
1999-2000 Hyundai Elantra GLS
1,975 cc / 132 hp / 133 lb-ft / 2626-2683 lbs / 0-60 mph 8.4 sec.
1996-1998 Hyundai Elantra GLS
1,800 cc / 130 hp / 126 lb-ft / 2560-2626 lbs / 0-60 mph 8.8 sec.