1st new car, bought July '08, after end of model year. MN driver, 38k+ ODO now. Good car, growly @35-45 MPH. Sluggish & rough when started in -10 to +5 degrees, until warm. Factory tires, got stuck in own driveway in 5 inches snow! Now new Coopers, we'll see. W/o ESC car would be bad in MN winter, with it pretty good. Handles fine in rain. Summer 36hwy/29city, winter 29hwy/24 city, better than my old Buick but still. Good ergonomics interior-have chronic back issues & no problem on long drives. Smooth ride at cruise speed, no trunk popping - mystified by that complaint. Spilled drinks, no electrical short-but not big spills. Trunk poor drainage on opening. Good cargo space seats down.
Love the tilt/telescoping steering column, heated
& remote rearview mirrors, lighted vanity mirrors for BOTH front seats, MP3 jack, ESC, ABS, steering wheel radio and cruise controls, alloy wheels, fog lights, ALL STANDARD on SE! I like the much maligned cloth seats because they are warmer than leather in winter. Before buying I saw spotting complaints so I bought a couple cans of Scotchguard right away, and intend to re-spray this summer again. I've spilled spaghetti sauce on the seats and cleaned them with my Bisell and they're fine. No outside temp gauge is a big bummer, but they brought that back on 2011s.
Fix that trunk drainage channel, when the lid is fully open water drops right into the wheel well areas! Agree with door complaints, it is hard to keep them open in middle range. Newer models have MP3 jack in armrest compartment which is great, wish they had thought of that in '08. I have a black interior and don't find the leather steering wheel cover to help at all in the summer, w/o sunshield I bought, can burn my hands on sizzling steering wheel. A/C underpowered, takes a LONG time to cool off the passenger compartment, probably typical of 4 CYL though, so what can you do?
An update at 3yrs, 10 months. Winter mileage has gotten a bit better, usually 27mpg city/hwy mix, summer 30-31mpg pretty consistently (36-39 hwy only) but MN winter was freakishly warm with only one half-***-ed snowstorm this year, that could be the difference. Kind of disappointed the mileage didn't creep up a little higher as the engine "loosened up". A coworker who is a 6'5" BIG guy has a 2010 and has plenty of room, and gets 40mpg city/hwy - WOT?!!! ESC impresses me more and more, had a spinout situation at nearly freeway speed on sharp icy curve and kept it under control. Manufacturer recall on the center console drink spilling-electrical shortage danger took care of that potential problem. Aftermarket lowbeams I've bought are crap, lasted 7 months each so don't buy Eiko brand! Only regrets now are that they brought back the discontinued hatchback/wagon (as Elantra Touring) a year after I bought mine, not having outside temp gauge, and that the foglights only run with the regular headlights on. Surely that's not right, is it? Also, the radio's display went blank for about three days - radio still worked - then it came back! Hmmm. When it happens permanently, I will get an HD radio and probably put it in myself, those XM preview stations are annoying and I'm NOT going to pay for radio play!