Used 1997 Hyundai Elantra Wagon

1997 Hyundai Elantra
List price range
1997 Hyundai Elantra


  • Powerful engine, reasonable price, comfortable front seats, attractive design


  • Spotty Hyundai reliability record, poor predicted resale value

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

The Excel is long dead, and it's time to stop thinking of Hyundai as a second-rate automobile manufacturer. Last year, 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 the development of 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 5-speed sedan is $11,100. 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 $2,250 nets buyers a GLS model with an automatic transmission, 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 anti-lock brakes for less than $1,600 more.

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.

1997 Highlights

Elantra rolls into 1997 with zero changes, save for a slight price increase.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Hyundai Elantra.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

I will never purchase another Hyundai!
I would not recommend this car to even my worst enemy. The transmission has failed twice. All of the paint (original paint) is chipping off. It makes horrible banging noises when turning and no mechanic (not even Hyundai dealer mechanics)can figure out why. The steering column shakes (another "feature" thank no one can seem to fix). We have done all we can to no avail. I will never EVER buy another.
Good all around car
Nathan Toke,06/12/2007
I bought this as my first car in graduate school and it has served me well for three years and 20k miles. It has been reliable and easy to drive. The interior is really crappy as was the case with 1990's hyundais... many plastic parts are wearing down on the interior. The window motors start to die at 80k. Some of this could be enhanced because of sitting so long in the desert (phoenix) sun. The outside of the car is nice (although the paint has worn on the grill and the hub caps look pretty poor these days. The visibility in this car is supreme! which makes this car fun and easy to drive. It is better to drive on the highway at speeds between 60-75(33mpg) than the city (21mpg).
good litte cheapie
Bought from an older gentleman 6 yrs ago some just general maint. Both my power Windows had to be fixed the car now has 61k and still works good don't know how long I will keep it the trade value is poor to say the least so as long as I can I will keep it.
Gets me there
This car has transported me to and fro and never broken down on me. Its got responsive trans (manual) goes pretty fast and gets good mileage. Too bad it depreciates quickly. Only problems were with a recall for fuel tank vacuum pressure that took the dealer a while to diagnose/fix properly.
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Features & Specs

21 city / 29 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
130 hp @ 6000 rpm
19 city / 28 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
130 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 1997 Hyundai Elantra Wagon features & specs


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1997 Hyundai Elantra
Used 1997 Hyundai Elantra Wagon Overview

The Used 1997 Hyundai Elantra Wagon is offered in the following styles: 4dr Wagon, and GLS 4dr Wagon.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Hyundai Elantra Wagon?

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Can't find a used 1997 Hyundai Elantra Elantra Wagon you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Hyundai Elantra for sale - 2 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $24,987.

Find a used Hyundai for sale - 10 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $23,943.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai Elantra for sale - 2 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $20,226.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai for sale - 12 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $11,503.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 Hyundai Elantra?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Hyundai lease specials
Check out Hyundai Elantra lease specials