Thursday, December 13, 2012

Elantra minus two doors ... a nice addition


Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at www.sacbee.com/business

Sacramento, California – For some reason, I couldn’t get my friends and colleagues whipped into an excited frenzy about my test ride, a 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe SE.

Arms spread wide, I gushed: “But dude, it’s a Hyundai Elantra with only two doors!”

Apparent apathy stared back at me.  It’s a mystery to me, because yes, this new two-door Elantra is big news in my book.  You take a model that has been an impressive sedan for Hyundai, and with some saucy styling dash, you turn it into a sleek two-door cruiser with a give-‘em-hell sculpted front end.

Cool car?  Absolutely.

Even my top-end coupe started at a very reasonable fraction above the $20,000 threshold, and the generously equipped interior made that price look like a song.  Power comes from a sufficiently peppy 1.8-liter in-line 4 with variable valve timing and 148 horses.  On the fly, the power plant felt stronger than advertised.

Fuel mileage was attractive at 27 miles per gallon in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.

Getting three adults to climb into the back of this Elantra is a challenge, I grant you.  But once seated, all have fairly comfortable room to spread out and enjoy the ride.

My volunteer passengers complimented the smooth ride and lack to backseat bumping around even when I sawed off a sharp corner.

Climate- and audio-control buttons are neatly bunched and easy to use.  Interior quiet was not Mercedes-like but impressive from a car in this segment.  Likewise, all-around vision from the cockpit was good.

I don’t know if it was the two doors or something else, but folks kept running up to the stopped car and asking me what it was … and where could they get one.  I’m no marketing expert, but I take this trend as a positive sign if I’m laboring for Hyundai.

Most automakers tout what they’ve added to a model.  Hyundai is making waves by taking away two doors.

Hey, it works for me.

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