This was my first new car and before I bought it I felt I had done a good job researching and it paid off. This car gets better gas mileage the listed in the epa estimates. I get 34 miles per gallon hmy and about 29 in city. It is quiet, smooth, comfortable, and has the space I have needed for moving things around, shopping etc. (I was able to fit my dishwasher at one point as well as a full sized treadmill in box). Good car, good price, good service at the dealership.
I have 47K miles with the GLS five- speed manual transmission hatchback, and I haven't had any problem with the clutch or engine. Both have been maintained on a regular basis, usually a few hundred miles over every 3000. However, I did have to get the rear brakes replaced at 30K. But this because I was a little abusive with the parking brake while driving. Immaturity I guess. Everything else has been great, but the tape deck needed to be replaced with a more digital deck because of an electrical short at 45K miles. Overall, you gotta be realistic that this isn't going to drive like any type of high end roadster, however I have been impressed with the handling and gas mileage 28-35 usually.
Hatchback is awesome for storing things. I also love the manual transmission and I haven't had any issues. The power and mileage is great for a compact for under $15K, and the engine is still very good without any issues even after 47K miles.
Better tires. The stock tires are always ready to hydroplane. Also the some of the plastic interior is "flimsy" but the car did cost under $14K so I can happily live with that. An extension on the sun visor would also be appreciated.
Interior quality poor. Service poor. Too many times told "Ordinary wear & tear." Leather seat back started to deteriorate within 3 months. Inside door seals tear in short time. Outside door weathrstrip has measles. Told it was ordinary wear & tear. Front & rear brakes replaced at 24K. Headlights went bad within short time, dealer replaced. Thermostat went bad & blew radiator, dealer fixed. Car overheated again, dealer stated radiator cap loose. Floor mats deteriorated & dealer replaced. Bulbs out on dashboard since 6 months old, dealer claims they are not covered. Currently starter grinds early in morning only and A/C makes vibrating noise, dealer found nothing.
Very roomy car.
Improve quality of parts used in manufacture and fix what is broken.
Still a satisfied Hyundai Elantra customer after 3 years and 22,500 miles. This car compares with Honda Civic for reliability, drive, and economy. Good looking grill and body, finish has held up like new. I live in arctic Michigan and this car has never skidded off the road during the worst sleet and hail storms. FWD holds the road if you drive sensibly during snowstorms. With high gas prices I definitely appreciate the Great fuel economy. Car came loaded and included the moonroof, and boasts the most comfortable front seats I ever experienced in a foreign car (4 Toyotas). Front bucket seats adjust at least 5 ways. The HB excels in visibility. Never had any mechanical problem.
Add a couple inches higher roof for better head room.
Bought the car for a daily commuter w/ some road trips in mind as well. I've been pretty pleased with the car, but it is in the shop right now at 42,000 miles to get the rear brakes replaced. Seems way too early, especially since I have the manual and use my brakes sparingly. Dealer seemed mystified as to why only 1 brake pad was worn badly... Tires were completely bald by about 32,000 miles. Clutch is pretty pathetic too, definately not a sport- machine. Sloppy gearbox sometimes leads to a gear grinding here and there (roomate has the same problem with his Accent). Probably going to be my first and last Hyundai, I'd rather pay a little more for better quality.
Hatchback is awesome for hauling things around - easily fits my mountain bike. Fuel economy is good too - low 30s in mixed city/highway driving.
Better quality transmission/clutch. Put some effort into the "normal wear" items (brakes, tires, clutch) so we don't get screwed.