Pros: Dependable, starts easily at -20, great MPG, over-all good vehicle.
Cons: Paint, body metal, plastic headlamp lens, resale value unless your the buyer.
I have driven this vehicle for 6 months and love it. No, I wasn't walking around for the previous 20+ years. I owned trucks.
Other than a minor bit of front end vibration @ around 65MPH, a bit noisy especially since I don't use the stereo, (I know that sounds a bit boring however I prefer to listen to the motor). The lack of ABS makes no difference to me. The heater kicks out more than enough heat, especially since it gets down to -20F to -30F during the winter up here. Rear window defroster works very well... I have to use it around 6-7 months out of a year, since we receive over 30 feet of snow each winter. The Elantra handles well in the snow and without studded snow tires. I usually have studded tires on the front and rear wheels, however didn't use them this past winter since the Elantra didn't really need them. The A/C works very well, however is rarely needed up here at high altitude, I used it last week when the temperature got up into the high 50's while I was out in the sun in a parking lot. Plenty of power to climb up the mountain passes, usually a 7% grade, at 65-70 MPH without having to hold the throttle to the floor. The front drivers seat does make my back a bit sore, however that's due to operator failure (back problems) when I drive the Elantra 100 miles in one direction. Plenty of headroom and I am 6'2" tall. Gas and brake pedal seem a bit close to each other unless I am wearing shoes or sneakers instead of Pac boots. Ample trunk space for a car of it's size and I like the way the rear seat folds down exposing the trunk area. I haven't sat in the back seat, however none of my friends have complained about the space...maybe they were happy to have a ride.
My opinion of Hyundai's has done a complete 180 after driving my Elantra for the past 6 months. I'm impressed with my Elantra's performance, styling, interior space and most of all, the great fuel mileage. Paint and body metal could be better, I'm afraid to lean against the body for fear of denting the metal. The headlamp lens should be made out of glass instead of plastic which fades and becomes a bit "milky" from the sun. The fixed radio antenna is a poor design since it breaks easily (mine went through a car wash and the antenna walked off), however that is an easy fix to replace. The front windows need vent visors so the windows can be opened a bit when it's snowing or raining so water and snow doesn't come in. In cold climates windshield washer fluid has to have the coldest rating or the lines will freeze up. It would be nice to have a heated windshield washer reservoir.
One of my major concerns is the interval on when the timing belt needs replacement. I read at a site that it should be changed at 100,000 miles, however I don't buy that. I will change it out between 60,000 to 70,000 miles at the most. The design of the motor is one that will more than likely bend valves and ruin the motor if the timing belt breaks. I am researching if the water pump should be replaced at the same time (like Honda's) since when changing the timing belt the water pump is exposed. The cost of adding a new water pump is minor compared to the labor cost of just changing the timing belt and then further on down the road your water pump craps out. Now that I have a bit over 44,000 miles on it I will replace the front rotors, pads, and flush the brake fluid. I am also going to replace the stock air filter with a K&N filter since at this altitude a motor needs as much incoming air as possible. Already replaced the air in all of the tires with nitrogen since regular air is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% of other gases. I did that because the tires will lose less pressure over time (nitrogen molecules are larger than oxygen), the tires are supposed to run cooler (like that makes a big difference when it's -20 outside), better gas mileage and makes the vehicle handle better. Actually the two places where I air up my tires only use nitrogen. When driving I "baby" my vehicles so the handling issue doesn't come into the picture. Any additional tips/advice anyone may have regarding the 2002 Elantra GLS preventive maintenance or otherwise would be greatly appreciated. Changed oil today with synthetic oil. Oil filter and drain plug are easily accessible. Checked out the exhaust system while I was under the vehicle since the Colorado Department of Transportation uses magnesium chloride on the roads which wreaks havoc on vehicles. Exhaust system showed no signs of corrosion. I also appreciate not having to advance the timing by a few degrees due to the altitude.