EXTERIOR

Redesigned for 2011, the new Elantra looks adorable. I'm certain Hyundai's designers would prefer a stronger, more athletic description, but it's really as cute as a newborn puppy. Though it's a sedan, the Elantra looks like a coupe because of its sloping roofline.

The sculpted roofline gives this car a sporty feel, but taller drivers and passengers will have to pay extra attention so they don't hit their heads when getting in and out of the car.

Even though the Elantra is small, the trunk is large and can easily accommodate a sizable grocery store run or even a snow shovel. The Elantra's low ground clearance was a pain in the snow, but great for kids to climb in and out of it on their own.

The Elantra comes with a 148-horsepower, 1.8-liter inline-four-cylinder engine and uses regular unleaded gas. A six-speed manual transmission is standard. The optional six-speed automatic transmission, which my test car had, costs $2,250.

    See also:

    Starting
    Starting WARNING: Never run the engine in a closed or poorly ventilated area any longer than is needed to move your car in or out of the area. The carbon monoxide gas emitted is odorless and c ...

    Manual Transaxle Oil
    Inspect the manual transaxle oil according to the maintenance schedule. NOTE: If the oil level is low, check for possible leaks before adding oil. Do not overfill. ...

    Do not operate the engine within the tachometer's RED ZONE. This may cause severe engine damage.
    Engine temperature gauge This gauge shows the temperature of the engine coolant when the ignition switch is ON. Do not continue driving with an overheated engine. If your vehicle overheats, re ...