What's New for 2011
The 2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring receives a few minor feature content changes but is otherwise unchanged.
Honestly, we're not sure why hatchbacks have never been all that popular here in the U.S. This is especially true when you consider the pleasing combination of sporty handling and everyday practicality that cars like the 2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring have to offer. Though it's considered a compact hatchback, the Elantra Touring actually feels bigger than that official designation implies. The interior offers comfortable seating for four adults and a good amount of cargo room, qualities that make it an attractive alternative to compact SUVs for small families or empty-nesters.
The Elantra Touring is not an Elantra sedan with a really big cargo area. Designed in Europe, 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.
If you are shopping for a hatchback, there are a few other choices to consider. If you're interested in a little sportier driving experience, we'd suggest taking the Mazda 3 hatchback out for a spin. If fuel economy is a priority, the 40-plus-mpg diesel-powered Volkswagen Jetta TDI Sportwagen is a great pick. And if it's standout styling you're after, consider the Kia Soul and Nissan Cube. But while each of these models may excel in one or two areas, the 2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring offers most of those good qualities in one affordable package. It's a fine choice for a wide range of American buyers -- if only they can get past that whole "hatchback" thing.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 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 with new "welcome" mode, a cooled glovebox and a six-speaker stereo (with 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 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, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats 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 2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring is powered by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine with an output of 138 horsepower and 136 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard issue, with a four-speed automatic available as an option. In Edmunds 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 city/31 mpg highway and 26 mpg for combined driving with a manual transmission, while automatic-transmission models get nearly identical mileage at 23/30/26 mpg.
All 2011 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
The 2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring's cabin is just about what you'd expect from a midrange model. In other words, it's a good bit nicer than the carmaker's entry-level Accent sedan but not nearly as polished as the top-of-the-line Genesis. While there's nothing all that remarkable about the interior design, the quiet atmosphere and strategically placed soft-touch materials give it an advantage over some comparable models. On the whole, the Touring's gauges and controls are intuitive and well-placed, the lone exception being the cheap-feeling button for the available Bluetooth interface that's located above the rearview mirror.
The interior's real strength is space. There's enough head- and legroom in both front and back seats to give even larger adults a chance to get comfortable. Likewise, there's plenty of cargo room, including 24 cubic feet with the rear seats up and a healthy 65 cubic feet with them folded down, a number that bests some small crossover SUVs.
Though the specs sheet for the 2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring says its 2.0-liter four-cylinder makes just 138 hp, it actually feels a good bit livelier. Acceleration is relatively brisk, though the engine does sound a bit strained as the revs climb. The overall driving experience is equally surprising. 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.