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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Hyundai Elantra

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Expert's Rating


MPG 28 City / 38 Highway
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Many interior conveniences
  • Spacious front seats
  • Weak highway acceleration
  • Styling may not be for everyone
  • Engine somewhat noisy
, Automotive Editor -
The 2013 Hyundai Elantra is one of the best-selling compact cars, and received heaps of attention from car buyers after its redesign in 2011. It sticks to its core virtues which include value for the dollar and an industry-leading warranty to help you sleep easier at night.


New for 2013 is a hugely attractive two-door coupe, aimed squarely at the Honda Civic and Kia Forte Koup. The Elantra Coupe comes with the same mechanicals as the sedan, but has unique styling and GS and SE trim levels.

Choosing a sedan got you confused? Check out our list of the top sedans for 2013

Hyundai doesn't offer a specially tuned eco model like many competitors, instead opting to tune all Elantras, equipped with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, to get a 40 MPG highway rating by the EPA. But the automaker has received criticism from unhappy owners who are unable to duplicate the lofty mileage rating, and figures like 37-38 highway MPG are more common. Still, that's in line with most small sedans.

The Elantra makes for a formidable competitor against established rivals such as the Civic, Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Cruze and the new-for-2013 Dodge Dart. The Civic and Focus nip at the Elantra's 40 MPG rating, but offer special economy-tuned models that meet or beat the Elantra's rating. The Civic is a well-known commodity, but the latest model has a worse interior and poorer performance than the Elantra. The Focus offers technology features such as Active Park Assist and MyFord Touch that the Elantra can't beat, but the Ford stickers for several thousand dollars more than a Hyundai. The Corolla is reliable and spacious, but is plain-looking and low-tech compared to the Hyundai. The Cruze offers high fuel economy with its 1.4-liter turbo engine and has a refined interior, but gives up some space to the Elantra and lacks a long warranty and a base model loaded with desirable features. The new Dart offers a wide choice of engines that Hyundai doesn't have, and doesn't limit manual transmission availability to the lowliest trim levels. The Dodge also offers novel features like a multi-functional instrument display, a big touchscreen display and a heated steering wheel.

Hyundai gives even the base Elantra GLS or Elantra Coupe GS all of the essential features, such as power windows and locks, as standard. An Elantra GLS with the optional Preferred Package, which includes alloy wheels and Bluetooth, stickers for less than $19,000. For people who want a good all-rounder, the Elantra hits most of the basics and comes with good looks as a bonus.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Hyundai Elantra
Starting price

2013 Hyundai Elantra GLS

Recommended for: Small sedan shoppers who want all of the essentials for a low price.

The GLS is the volume seller because it offers pretty much everything mainstream compact sedan buyers are looking for. It comes with all of the basics: power windows, locks and mirrors, USB input. Like all Elantra sedans, it comes with the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with 148 horsepower and the promise of 40 MPG on the highway. It's also the only way to get a four-door Elantra with a six-speed manual transmission, although that doesn't give a bump in fuel economy. A six-speed automatic is a $1,000 option. Springing for the Preferred Package, offered on automatic transmission models, nets attractive 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, fog lights, heated front seats, steering wheel audio controls and a sliding front armrest.

2013 Hyundai Elantra
Starting price

2013 Hyundai Elantra Limited

Recommended for: People who like luxury features in an economical, relatively inexpensive small sedan.

The Limited improves upon the GLS's generous feature content with 17-inch alloy wheels and a sunroof. Inside, there's a standard tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and heated front and rear leather seats – something that's a rarity even among mainstream midsize cars, let alone compact ones. Moving to the Limited opens up the possibility for the Technology Package, which bundles a 7-inch touchscreen navigation system with backup camera, a 360-watt audio system, automatic headlamps, keyless start and dual-zone automatic climate control.

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