When the time came to find a new family car, my attention was caught by the low cost and the 100,000 mile/10 year warranty offered by Hyundai. With out luck this seemed too good to pass up. We arrived at the Hyundai dealer to a vast array of "unique" looking vehicles. We found a nice pearl dark blue base model Elantra, after test driving the little 5 speed manual we were hooked. A year later, we have put almost 30,000 miles on it and we're loving it.
The ride is very good, excellent for a car of this size. It's one of the quietest cars I have ever ridden in up to around 65 m.p.h. where it starts getting louder (blame the boxy profile for this). It is by no means a sports car in the corners. It does it's job fine with no annoying tendencies, but nothing special here.
The motor is the part that bothers me. It seems to be designed to feel more powerful than it really is. At part throttle and low rpm's torque is plentiful, but put the pedal to the floor and let the rpm's climb a bit higher, and you won't notice any difference in power. When in a hurry I have found redlining it a requirement to get going. As with all smalls cars, passengers and cargo noticeably affects it. On the upside, this encourages short shifting of the little 2.0 liter helping it get great very good gas mileage.
The inside of the car is pretty basic. Power windows, mirrors, and locks are standard. So is the keyless entry system (lock, unlock, panic) which could really benefit from a trunk button. Everything does it's job well, no problems here. Nothing out of the ordinary either. The seats have plenty of leg room front and rear for average sized adults. They are rather narrow however, 3 adults in the back seat should only be reserved for those who are are intimately aquainted. The trunk is plenty large for most uses, and if it's not large enough, the back seats fold flat on the bottom half of the seat.