We're a small family of 3 and we decided to upgrade from a subcompact after the arrival of #3. After 1 year of research - I was looking for more space and more safety - I stumbled upon this gem. There is more than enough space for road tripping and the cabin is quiet and well designed. I enjoy not seeing the car everywhere...In the past 4 weeks I've seen only 2!
Based on good CR ratings for the Elantra SE sedan, I bought the Touring model when it first came out. Not easy to find with the manual transmission - but I preferred the performance of the Hyundai 2.0 engine with 5 spd over the Toyota Matrix 1.8 engine. Some reviewers have found this car to ride a little rough, but personally I think other Hyundai models are a little too spongy. This car is very roomy for its size - I managed to get a 9 cu. ft. freezer in the back with room to spare. More than enough space for four adults - rear seats are another advantage over the Toyota Matrix or Mazda 3 hatchbacks. I'm averaging 29 MPG in commuting, 34 on long trips - would like to see a 6 spd manual.
After 3 years of driving this car I can say it still is a joy to drive. The out side of the finish still shines. The motor is just a little loud when you give it the gas. Better yet is the mileage for me in Connecticut, 33 city...45 highway. I found using Castrol edge or Quaker state ultimate pure synthetic oils produce better mileage. Inside of the car remain about the same. Satellite radio in car works well. All the gages have work and light up. Seats and floor still in good shape. Overall car works well.
My husband & I were having doubts about trading in our RAV4 because we didn't want to give up the cargo space. The ET is a great alternative. We haven't had any problems so far. The day after we bought it, the great storm of Feb 2010 arrived. The car did great, even on the hills that make up Pittsburgh. I love the large windshield, and there aren't any blindspots. So far, we love this car.
So far only routine maintenance, no big problems.. Still really like the way it handles and it's been very reliable. Easy to park in big cities. Dealerships seem to charge quite a bit for parts and labor so post warantee I'm going to private shops who do a fine job. Love the storage capacity and use it a lot. Engine is noisy but gets the job done, though the mileage is mediocre, compared to "modern" cars. Seats still are very supportive, so I'm still very happy with this puppy.