Full 2010 Hyundai Elantra Touring Review
What's New for 2010
The Hyundai Elantra Touring returns in 2010 with a new entry-level GLS model and available roof rails.
Despite American's general disdain for hatchbacks, there's always going to be a place for this highly versatile body style. For evidence, one need look no further than the 2010 Hyundai Elantra Touring, which blurs the line between hatchbacks and wagons. Despite being classified as a compact hatchback, the Touring is anything but small. Its interior is surprisingly spacious, with plenty of room for full-sized adults and bulky cargo -- a trait that is paramount for a family hauler. It could even be an alternative to many small crossover SUVs, as this hatchback offers sharper handling, better maneuverability and a significant fuel economy advantage.
Not to be confused with the Hyundai Elantra compact sedan, the Touring should be regarded as the sedan's interesting overseas cousin. Introduced to America last year, the Elantra Touring was conceived in Hyundai's European design studio, and its origins are readily apparent. From the outside, the Touring looks more athletic, with smoother flowing shapes than the sedan. Under the sheet metal, you'll find more responsive steering and handling that provides a sportier driving experience. The cabin is also different in that it lacks the sedan's relatively upscale feel, though it's still pleasing in most respects.
The initial price of admission has dropped from 2009 thanks to the introduction of the entry-level GLS model, but otherwise the Elantra Touring returns virtually unchanged for 2010. This is just fine by us, as the well-rounded Elantra Touring is still one of our top picks among hatchbacks. For drivers who desire more excitement than this moderately sporty Hyundai provides, the Mazda 3 will likely satisfy, and the new VW Golf upstages the Hyundai for those seeking more premium surroundings. The Kia Soul and Toyota Matrix are also worth a look. But overall the 2010 Hyundai Elantra Touring provides a very impressive mix of performance, utility and interior space. It's a rolling testament as to why the hatchback deserves more affection from American consumers.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Hyundai Elantra Touring is a four-door hatchback available in two trim levels. The base GLS includes 15-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, heated side mirrors, a tilt steering wheel, cloth upholstery, 60/40-split rear seats, keyless entry and a six-speaker stereo with a CD/MP3 player, auxiliary/USB audio jacks and satellite radio. Opting for the Popular package adds roof rails, foglights, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, a trip computer, upgraded cloth upholstery, driver seat height and lumbar adjustments, a cooled glovebox and a retractable cargo cover.
The SE trim level includes all of the features of the GLS and Popular package and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and, on manual-transmission models, a sport shifter. Stand-alone options for both GLS and SE trim levels include a rear spoiler and Bluetooth.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2010 Hyundai Elantra Touring is powered by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine with an output of 138 horsepower and 137 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard issue, with a four-speed automatic available as an option. In performance testing, a manual-shift Elantra Touring reached 60 mph from a standstill in 8.7 seconds, a respectable showing. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 23 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in combined driving with a manual transmission, while automatic-transmission models get nearly identical mileage at 23/30/26 mpg.
All 2010 Hyundai Elantra Touring models include antilock disc brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and front-seat active head restraints. In government crash testing, the Elantra Touring received a perfect five stars (out of five) for frontal collision protection and four stars in side collisions.
Interior Design and Special Features
On the inside, the 2010 Hyundai Elantra Touring plays the role of the brand's midrange model well enough, with a look and feel that is much nicer than the entry-level Hyundai Accent, but not nearly as refined and polished as the flagship Genesis sedan. There are enough soft-touch materials to give the Elantra Touring a slight edge over some of its competitors; however, overall quality is not particularly impressive, especially given that the Elantra sedan's cabin is a clear step up. On the bright side, switches and knobs are well-placed and easily operated without requiring you to take your eyes off the road, with the exception of the optional Bluetooth unit, which is placed above the rearview mirror and has a flimsy aftermarket feel.
The Elantra Touring's strong suit is its large interior volume. Headroom and legroom are plentiful in every seat, so even larger occupants should find the cabin comfortable for long road trips. Luggage space is similarly laudable, measuring just over 24 cubic feet behind the rear seats, though longer items like golf bags will require you to fold down a section of the rear seats. With both seats stowed, the cargo volume opens up to a capacious 65 cubes, which is more than you'll find in some crossover SUVs.
Even though the 2010 Hyundai Elantra Touring has only 138 hp, it manages to make the best of each one of them. The Touring gets up to speed surprisingly well under hard acceleration, though the engine note grows buzzy at higher rpm. Around town, the Elantra Touring gets the job done thanks to its quiet cabin, compliant suspension and tight turning radius. On winding canyon roads, the steering is rather light, but otherwise the Touring is actually a pretty capable handler, which is no doubt a result of its European roots.