The 2011 Hyundai Elantra ranks 1 out of 33 Affordable Small Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of 16 published reviews and test drives of the Hyundai Elantra, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.
Hyundai updated the Elantra for 2011, and now this car offers a complete package: great performance, exceptional fuel economy ratings, impressive features and jazzy exterior styling.
Hyundai changed almost every aspect of the Elantra for 2011, and reviewers say that the Elantra is no longer overshadowed by top affordable small cars like the Honda Civic, Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Cruze. How did the Elantra go from a car that was good, but forgettable, to a compact that competes with the best?
Hyundai updated the Elantra’s exterior styling to match the Hyundai Sonata’s fluidic sculpture design. Not only is the 2011 Elantra attractive, but it looks expensive, despite its $14,830 base price. Although it’s fitted with some hard interior plastics, overall, the Elantra’s interior is nice too. It’s spacious enough for large passengers and offers a wide range of optional interior features that includes navigation, a rear view camera and heated leather back seats -- a first among affordable small cars.
While reviewers don’t label the Elantra “fun-to-drive” like the Mazda3 orHonda Fit, the 2011 Hyundai Elantra makes a great daily driver. It has precise steering, accurate braking and it’s modestly powered engine has class competitive fuel economy ratings of 29/40 mpg city/highway. "You won't mistake the Elantra for a Volkswagen GTI or a BMW 3-series from behind the wheel, but as a practical commuter, there's not much to complain about,” says AUTOMOBILE Magazine. “And that's what this type of car is about -- comfortable, economical, and practical. Right now, it's without question at the top of its class, and until the next Ford Focus goes on sale, we have no doubt that it'll remain there."
Other Cars to Consider
Reviewers compare the 2011 Hyundai Elantra to the Honda Civic, the Chevrolet Cruze, the Kia Forte and theFord Fiesta -- all of which are very similar to the Elantra in terms of daily driving capabilities.
The Honda Civic is a favorite in terms of practicality. It’s affordably priced at $15,805, reliable and has a generous trunk, but it’s becoming archaic in a class that’s spicing things up with higher fuel economy ratings, more standard tech features and unique exterior styling. The Civic has lower fuel economy ratings -- it only gets a maximum of 26/36 mpg city/highway -- but there is one reason to choose it over the Elantra: reliability. Hyundai may offer the most comprehensive warranties, but as a brand, it doesn’t have the reliability reputation that Honda does. If you want the most trustworthy daily commuter, get a Civic.
The Kia Forte challenges the Elantra in terms of standard interior features and price. The base sedan starts at $14,995 and has SIRIUS Satellite Radio, USB and auxiliary input jacks, Bluetooth connectivity and steering wheel mounted audio controls. It also has a long warranty. It’s powertrain warranty lasts for ten years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.
If you’re looking at the Elantra, take a peek at the Chevrolet Cruze, too. Starting at $16,275, it’s more expensive than the Elantra, but it has standard air conditioning. But to match the Elantra’s fuel economy ratings, you have to get the Eco model, which starts at $18,175, making the Elantra more affordable even after you add air conditioning for a total of $17,080. The Ford Fiesta is similar to the Cruze. It’s spacious, looks good and has a quality interior, and like the Cruze, you have to upgrade to the Fiesta SE to get fuel economy ratings of 29/40 mpg city/highway. Prices for those models start at $14,320. This price is still a lot cheaper than the Cruze or Elantra, so if you’re on a budget, the Fiesta is a good option. However, if you’re an adult who doesn’t want exterior that looks like it’s designed for a college student or teenager, the Elantra is a better choice.