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!
Gonna drive it till it dies. Keeps on chugging along well. Routine maintenance is all that's been required. (put in a new battery recently after 100,000) In comparison to newer cars, the real world mileage isn't great. 22- 23 city, maybe 28-30 on highway but clearly this 4 cylinder non high tech engine was not designed to be super thrifty. That's the weak link in this car but in the end everything else, in my humble opinion, more than makes up for that, and with gas being cheap nowadays... Oh, and the lack of blue tooth connectivity is dated. Also compared to my other car the heating and a/c fans/outlets are weaker than most. No fancy lane change safety electronics and no knee air bags. Back storage area surface scratches easily. Be wary of some of their dealerships. After routine maintenance at the dealership where I originally bought the car (a bit of a distance from my home), as I was driving away, the entire rear driver wheel fell off 1/2 mile from them. (too busy to check to tighten all the lug nuts, which I found scattered on the road) Fortunately I was not hurt and the vehicle did not sustain major damage. I had to fight with that dealership to get reimbursed for their careless and dangerous work. Have since switched to local dealership and local private garage with good results. Had a minor issue while driving car in Canada, while still under warranty (Check engine light). Dealership up there said that the 100,000 mile warantee did not apply over the border. I appealed this decision here, but Hyundai USA said no go. Seems absurd that they wouldn't cover a problem within the same continent. I later learned that other companies pretty well have that same "rule". HOWEVER, on the MUCH larger positive side, the driver (as well as front passenger) seat is till super supportive and comfy. Easy to drive and the I and the rest of the family still use the exceptional hauling capacity often. Handles and parks very nimbly. (Go to car when we go to big cities because of size and ease of parking) Visibility is really good especially compared to other car I drive. . With snow tires the vehicle is awesome in winter. I got up my steep driveway this winter, with 12" of snow. Sad that they don't make these any more. The GT, which replaces this model, is a totally different vehicle with no where near the same hauling capacity.
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.
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.
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.