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.
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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.
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