Used Hyundai Elantra Models

Prior to the new, redesigned model, Hyundai offered the fourth-generation Elantra that ran from 2007-'10. Having established the Elantra as a legitimate contender in the compact segment with its previous-generation car, Hyundai updated the Elantra's styling, improved its handling and ride quality, and revamped the interior to near-premium levels.

Two main trim levels were available: GLS and SE. The GLS came reasonably well equipped, though it lacked stability and traction control. Those came standard on the SE after 2007. The SE also had more features and a sport-tuned suspension. In your used-car search, you might also encounter the top-line Elantra Limited ('07 only) and the Elantra Blue, which was an entry-level model offered for 2010 only.

The fourth-generation Elantra came with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 138 hp and 136 lb-ft of torque. The transmission was either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Cars sold in California-emissions states could have cleaner tailpipe emissions (PZEV) but were rated for 132 hp.

Changes were minimal for this car. For 2009, the Elantra received enhanced suspension and steering tuning, along with new interior instrument and radio displays. A USB/iPod audio jack also became available. But in general, we were very impressed by this car and praised its roomy and comfortable interior, agreeable ride quality and value for the dollar.

The previous (third) Elantra generation was produced from model years 2001-'06 and represented a considerable step up from the earlier cars. The sedan was bigger inside and out, and revised sheet metal gave it a more upscale look. Reliability and overall quality were also much improved. The standard features list was generous for the car's price, and included amenities like air-conditioning, full power accessories, side airbags, 15-inch wheels and an AM/FM cassette player. The 2.0-liter engine generated 135 hp (138 after 2003) and was mated to either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic.

An Elantra hatchback, the Elantra GT, was also offered starting in 2002 and came with additional standard features, including leather seats and a CD player. Initially, the sedan was available only in base GLS trim, but by 2003, Elantra sedans could be purchased in two trims -- GLS and the top-of-the-line GT. Although it still lacked the refinement of segment leaders like the Honda Civic, the third-generation Hyundai Elantra shone as a solid choice for buyers seeking maximum value for their money.

The second-generation Elantra ? built from model years 1996-2000 -- is probably best avoided, though it did at least take a turn for the better from the forgettable original. The car got a welcome boost in power with the addition of a new engine, a 1.8-liter four-cylinder capable of 130 hp and 122 lb-ft of torque. Airbags were added to the safety features list, and a wagon body style was also offered. The Elantra's engine was upgraded yet again in model year 1999, to a larger 2.0-liter. Overall, the second-gen Elantra represented a decent buy in the economy car segment. It wasn't as polished as the offerings from Honda, Nissan or Toyota, but it was well-equipped and fun to drive.

The first-generation Elantra was produced from model years 1992-'95; during this period, Hyundai's hauler was available as a sedan only. Sadly, the car's build quality and reliability reflected its bargain-basement price. Elantras from this era were notorious for being sloppy in most of the areas that matter. They were none too quick either, as all models were motivated by a 1.6-liter inline-4 good for 113 hp and 102 lb-ft of torque.

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