Pros: Wagon: hauling capacity
Cons: Canadian version: VE - no 5-speed
I got a 2000 Elantra VE wagon on a 4-year lease. I am now about a year and a half into it. When I was shopping for a car, I did not have much choice because of the apparent obsession of the North American population with SUV's. Some people mention phrases such as "that manufacturer does not make wagons.." Bull. They all do, most of them don't cross the Atlantic. Honourable mentions were Camry, Corolla, Accord, Sentra, Maxima, Stanza, 323 and more.
The other restriction was that I would not touch an American-made car. That is to say: made by one of the Big Three (my wife's car is an Ontario-built Corolla - lovely vehicle!) So: non-American and small left me with but three choices: Elantra, Suzuki Esteem and Daewoo Nubira. Boy, am I happy about my choice!
1.Interesting styling (not a matchbox wagon)
2.Forget head and legroom woes of the sedan. Huge seat track! I am 6'1", and I can almost drive with straight legs. Also, they seem to have moved the rear seat back a bit, compared to the sedan, so that with driver's seat fully back, it's still quite comfy back there.
3. Among the three small wagons, this is the only one where the seat cushion flips up in addition to folding seatbacks. Result? 8' ladder is no problem (closed tailgate!) Great utility.
4. Another funky quirk which I've grown to like: the turn signal stalk is at 45 degrees, unlike other cars I've driven. You actually don't have to slide your hand down a lot!
5. Fairly stiff gas pedal, so you can drive it without fatigue and cruise control for quite a while.
6. Nice stiff suspension and slightly heavy steering make staying on course a breeze.
7. Service pricing cheaper than average
8. Paint chippable easier than should be (door edges)
9. Vinyl headliner. You'd think it's hopelessly passe, but it actually is very practical. All the marks from furniture/ladders/big boxes wipe right off.
10. Fit comparable to my Corolla. No, really!
11. Comfy seats. I did a straight trip Toronto - Milwaukee (about 1100 km) in one go. My back did not complain. Nice high seats too!
1. somewhat noisy and thirsty when pushed. Torque? Oh yeah, gobs, but you have to spin the engine up a bit.
2. Ergonomics are a tad behind the times (they got it just right on the redesigned 2001).
3. Power locks freeze up in winter sometimes (below -15C)
4. Garbage OEM Kumho tires. Wear down in 40K km, need rebalancing every six months, no warranty service from Kumho Canada. I am getting mine replaced for Yokohama Avid T4's.
5. Curved rear window makes for wiper cleaning only about 70% of it.
6. Centre console is a $250 accessory (ripoff!)
7. awkward cup holder. It blocks the radio and the lighter plug. I.e. either coffee, or cell phone charging...
Overall, I'd buy another one of these in a blink. Wish we could get the one with all the toys here in standard shift...