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2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2008

Critical Knowledge:
  • 5-door wagon returns to lineup

  • First 5-door compact with standard stability control

  • Standard USB/iPod auxiliary port

  • Standard XM satellite radio

  • On sale by end of 2008



Introduction
The compact Elantra lineup expands with the addition of a 5-door Touring model. It'll join the Elantra sedan in Hyundai showrooms by the end of 2008. Hyundai, which introduced the model at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, says the market for 5-door models doubled from 2001 to 2006. Rivals include the Mazda5, Dodge Caliber and VW Rabbit. The Elantra Touring's tall beltline, projection headlights, and integrated fog lights help the car resemble some of the smaller European wagons available to U.S. buyers. The wagon measures 176.2 inches long, 69.5 inches wide, and 59.8 inches high with a 106.3-inch wheelbase.

The 2009 Elantra Touring follows in the footsteps of the Elantra GT, a 5-door version of the previous-generation model. The Elantra Touring will have the most interior volume in its class, Hyundai says, and will be the first 5-door compact with standard electronic stability control (ESC). The car also comes with mobile music connectivity, via a USB port, as well as standard XM satellite radio.
Model Lineup
The 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring offers more interior volume (passenger space plus cargo space) than rivals in its class, Hyundai says, measuring at 125.5 cubic feet. With the 60/40-split rear seats folded down, cargo room expands from 24.3 cubic feet to 65.3 cubic feet. The cargo-area cover can be stowed under the trunk area where additional storage space is found. The rear area also contains a 12-volt outlet for tailgating functionality. Standard features include a tilt and telescoping steering wheel; an 8-way adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support; and blue LCD lighting on the vehicle's instrument panel and information readout. Buyers can pick either black or beige shades for the 2-tone interior trim. Also found on every Elantra Touring: air conditioning, power windows and locks, and remote keyless entry.

In addition to the standard Touring model, Hyundai will offer a Premium-Sport package that adds a power sunroof with tilt and slide, heated front seats, and 17-inch alloy wheels with low-profile tires.

Hardware
The 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring model will carry the same 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine as found in the 2008 Elantra sedan. With continuously variable valve timing (CVVT) and 4 valves per cylinder, this motor generates 138 hp. According to the Federal government, this engine gets 33 mpg highway/24 or 25 mpg city, depending upon transmission choice. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard; the Touring model gets a B&M Racing sport shifter for shorter throws. The optional 4-speed automatic transmission comes with Shiftronic manual-shifting capability. The Touring gets a setup with different springs-24-percent stiffer up front and 39-percent stiffer in back, maker claims-and larger front and rear stabilizer bars than the sedan model. The wagon's wheelbase is about two inches longer than the sedan version. The result, according to Hyundai, is a sportier ride. Sixteen-inch alloy wheels will be standard, with 17-inchers available.

Safety
Six air bags-dual front, side, and side curtain-are standard on the 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring. Also found on every Elantra Touring is ESC, which corrects both oversteer and understeer and thus helps prevent single-vehicle accidents, Hyundai says. Other standard safety features: traction control; anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist; active front headrests; and seat belt pre-tensioners.

Technology
A USB port, located in the Elantra Touring's center storage console, allows an owner to connect a mobile music player, such as an Apple iPod, or a flash-drive device, to hear tunes through the 6-speaker stereo. Drivers can search for favorite songs via the steering-wheel audio controls. A 172-watt AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 stereo is standard.
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