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Available Elantra Models
Use the Edmunds Pricing System to help you get the best deal:
No changes to the Elantra for 1998.
The Excel is long dead, and it's time to stop thinking of Hyundai as a second-rate automobile manufacturer. Several years ago, the Accent and Sonata provided a strong hint that this South Korean automaker was finally learning how to build a good car. This Elantra provides the proof. Larger and more powerful than the first-generation Elantra, this car offers quite a bit of bang for your buck in either sedan or wagon bodystyles.
Under the hood is a 130-horsepower 1.8-liter Hyundai-designed Beta engine, which produces 90 percent of its torque at 2,300 rpm, resulting in snappy around town performance. Riding on a four-wheel independent suspension, the Elantra features a longer wheelbase and wider track than the original model, which contributes to smoother, more stable handling. A speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering system communicates improved road feel to the driver. GLS models can be ordered with four-channel antilock brakes, which read each wheel separately.
Dual airbags are standard on the Elantra, housed in a two-piece dashboard designed to reduce squeaks and rattles. Adjustable headrests and seatbelt anchors are standard, and all models come with driver's side lumbar support and seat height adjustments. GLS models get a 60/40 split folding rear seat. Extensive use of sound deadening materials helps quiet this compact car.
Base price for a five-speed sedan is $11,499. This price includes five-mph bumpers, rear window defroster, dual remote control mirrors, rear seat heat ducts, remote fuel and trunk releases, tilt steering and speed-sensitive steering. Another $2,100 nets buyers a GLS model with a cassette stereo, power door locks, power outside mirrors, six-way adjustable driver's seat, split fold rear seat, power windows, four-wheel disc brakes and performance-oriented tires. Option Packages can add air conditioning, cruise control, and antilock brakes for less than $1,600.
Good value? Let's take a look. A Civic LX sedan equipped with air conditioning, automatic, and antilock brakes runs about $16,500. A similarly equipped Dodge Neon Highline comes in around $15,000, including ABS. A sporty Pontiac Sunfire SE sedan with a powerful 2.4-liter engine stickers near $16,000 and includes traction control. A fully loaded Kia Sephia GS will cost $13,500.
The Hyundai Elantra is much improved over its predecessor. But like other Hyundai products, once a few options are added, the value disappears. The Pontiac offers superior content, the Dodge superior performance, the Honda a better reputation, and the Kia better value. If Hyundai had priced the Elantra a bit more down market, it would make a compelling choice. We like this Hyundai, but as it stands, the Elantra is likely to be passed over by most consumers, simply because of the nomenclature affixed to the decklid.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.