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2013 Hyundai Elantra

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The 2013 Hyundai Elantra is now in its fifth generation of production and its bullet-like styling is a drastic change from when it debuted with its boxy housing for the 1991 model year. Through the years it has been chiseled down and revamped, only to climb its way into the top of the ranks of the best economy sedans available.

U.S. sales have risen steadily for the Elantra since 2009, and the 2013 Hyundai Elantra faces some stiff competition in trying to keep those numbers increasing. Competitors like the Ford Focus and Mazda 3 have made it a tight race in this segment. The Elantra comes out swinging with high-class materials, respectable performance, and decent fuel economy.

Expert Reviews

"The Elantra sedan is one of our top-rated small sedans. It combines nimble and secure handling with a fairly comfortable, well-controlled ride...Our two major gripes are the low-mounted dash vents and pronounced road and engine noise. The GT hatchback is stylish and competent enough but not a standout...A loud cabin and stiff ride cut into refinement." (Consumer Reports)

"Just two model years after a complete redesign, the Hyundai Elantra continues to impress with its styling, fuel efficiency and bang for the buck. No longer just a scrappy rival biting at the feet of the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and Ford Focus, the Elantra has won favor with consumers and critics alike, the latter naming it the 2012 North American Car of the Year." (Kelley Blue Book)

"The Hyundai Elantra is what we'd affectionately call a late bloomer. Models produced during the 1990s were pretty terrible and not suited for much more than late-night-show joke fodder. But Hyundai has been continually making improvements over the years, highlighted by a dramatic redesign two years ago. As such, the 2013 Hyundai Elantra now stands as one of the best choices for a compact car, eclipsing even more well-known choices from Honda and Toyota." (Edmunds)

Owner Reviews

"Purchased my Elantra in July and so far I love every bit of the car. With the stock Hankooks the interior noise was pretty audible, especially at speeds over 55 mph. Just recently I switched over to new Continental Extreme Contact DWS tires and road noise is almost eliminated. I named my Elantra Serenity since her ride is very peaceful and relaxing. For being a commuter car, the Elantra is quite peppy when pushed." (Owner review on 2013 Elantra GLS sedan, Edmunds)

"After purchasing this car a little under a month ago, I can't seem to stop wanting to drive it. I also can't stop staring at it because it is just so gorgeous. As a previous owner of an Acura RL and then an Acura RSX, there was no way I ever thought I would buy a Hyundai. I LOVE my Elantra Limited Edition with the Technology package." (Owner review from Virginia owner, KBB)

"This car has been wonderful to own. It has all the features I have ever ‘dreamed' to own on a car plus much more. My kids love the heated seats in the back. I added a USB jack for them, so now they can charge their electronic devices. I love the push-button start and electro-luminescent gages. Dual zone climate control and heated seats in front are great for me and my wife." (Owner review from Utah owner, KBB)

Of all the positives listed among current owner reviews, comfort, price, and style topped the list. Some had troubles with the GPS system, either updates weren't available or it was difficult to use, but most found it helpful. The negatives that popped up had a lot to do with three little letters - m, p, and g. Many are finding that the Elantra is not living up to its mileage expectations at the gas pump.


The Elantra doesn't get incredibly elaborate with its trim options - it boasts two, the GLS and the Limited. Despite the narrow choice in trim levels, the options are plentiful. Standard features aren't too shabby either. The GLS comes standard with full power accessories, heated mirrors, a 60/40-folding rear seat, and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio, CD player, and iPod/USB/aux interfaces.

You don't need to jump all the way up to the Limited trim to enjoy further extravagancies though. If you opt for the automatic transmission version you'll have the choice of the Preferred package. This throws in an upgraded interior trim, heated front seats, foglights, a sliding front center armrest, illuminated vanity mirrors, steering wheel audio controls, and Bluetooth connectivity.

The Limited trim gives everything in the Preferred package and raises the pot with a sunroof, leather upholstery, a power driver's seat, and heated seats throughout. The optional package for the Limited trim is the Technology package. It adds automatic headlights, keyless ignition/entry, a rearview camera, dual-zone climate control, an upgraded sound system with Bluetooth streaming audio, and a navigation system with voice activation.


Say what you will about its bargain-basement roots, the interior of the 2013 Hyundai Elantra is anything but economical. The cockpit features a dual-eye display housed atop a curving dashboard that runs in a V-shape down the center console to a well-sized console storage box. Passenger space will vary by model - the GT is slightly cramped for larger passengers - but for the most part the cabin remains one of the most spacious of the class. Storage space is at a premium in the hatchback model.

If you get the well-equipped Elantra with the leather seating you will want for nothing. The seats are comfortable and the cabin feels like only a very slight step down from its more luxurious cousin, the Equus. That's not to say you'll feel shorted on the lower trim levels. Seating will remain comfortable and styling will remain tasteful. The climate controls and navigation features are all well-placed and easily accessible, but sun glare on the navigation screen can get to be an issue for some drivers.

The back seat of the Elantra is fine for any kids and most adults, though the sleeking of the body has narrowed headroom a bit. The rear pillars, along with that narrower roof, attribute to the rear visibility issues experienced by some drivers. The 60/40-split rear seat is handy for quick access to the generous 14.8-cubic-foot trunk.


The 2013 Hyundai Elantra is powered by a 1.8L four-cylinder engine that gives 148 horsepower and 131 ft.-lbs. of torque. Don't laugh, nobody's trying to win the Daytona 500 in an Elantra; and the little four-banger is capable enough in just about any situation it gets thrown into. It comes standard coupled to a six-speed manual transmission but a six-speed automatic is optional, unless you get the Limited model, then you're getting the automatic tranny no matter what.

The GT is the best model to go with if you're looking at this from a performance perspective but the Elantra is never going to feel like a sports car. It does offer exactly what one should be looking for from this kind of car - a smooth ride, capable handling, and a braking system that performs at the top of the scale for the class. Handling won't match competitors like the Ford Focus or Mazda 3, but there shouldn't be too many complaints either.

The big issue with the Elantra's performance is the fuel efficiency. The EPA estimates it to be at 29/40 mpg (city/highway) and 33 mpg combined. There are several reports already of those numbers being very difficult to obtain from current owners. There doesn't seem to be a difference between PZEV (California emissions) vehicles and standard emissions vehicles in regards to mpg though.

Safety & Reliability

The 2013 Hyundai Elantra has climbed the rungs and made its way to the Top Safety Pick ranks of the IIHS, earning top marks of Good in all crash tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - or The Government, its industry nickname - also praised the Elantra with an overall score of five out of five stars in crash testing.

J.D. Power and Associates ranks the Elantra with a score of 3.5 out 5 in its Vehicle Dependability Study. That's a shade above average and not bad for the economy sector. Whatever does happen to break is covered by Hyundai's 5-year/60,000-mile manufacturer's warranty. There are currently no major recalls and the MSRP starts off at a reasonable $16,965, moving up to $21,115.

Trim Engine Drive Train MSRP
GLS 4dr Sedan 6M 4 Cylinder FWD 16965
GLS 4dr Sedan 6A 4 Cylinder FWD 17965
Limited 4dr Sedan 4 Cylinder FWD 21115

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