What Changed for 2008:
- Electronic stability control now standard on Elantra SE
- Brake Assist added to anti-lock braking system on SE
- New tire-pressure-monitoring system
- Limited model dropped; replaced by SE Premium with Leather package
The Hyundai Elantra was introduced in the early 1990s, but it wasn't until after the turn of the century that this Korean compact sedan really came into its own as a competitor for the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and Nissan Sentra. A 2007 redesign aimed to make the car even more competitive, and the latest Elantra boasts more interior space than nearly all of its rivals, according to Hyundai.
The 2008 Hyundai Elantra comes exclusively as a 4-door sedan and is available in GLS and SE trim levels (the top-of-the-line Limited having been dropped for 2008). The Elantra GLS includes power windows, locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry; heated side mirrors; and variable-delay wipers. A Popular Equipment package includes air conditioning; AM/FM/XM stereo with MP3-compatible CD player; fog lights; cruise control; and vanity mirrors in the sun visors. A power sunroof is available as a stand-alone option.
The Elantra SE includes all the equipment in the GLS Popular Equipment package plus electronic stability control; 16-inch alloy wheels; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter; steering wheel-mounted audio controls; and a trip computer. The SE Premium package adds a sunroof and heated front seats, while the SE Premium Package + Leather adds those items along with leather seats.
Open the 2008 Hyundai Elantra's hood and you'll find a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine powering the front wheels. Standard Elantras produce 138 hp at 6000 rpm and 136 lb.-ft. of torque at 4600 rpm. In states that comply with California emissions standards, a Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) version of the engine is available, with an output of 132 hp at 6000 rpm and 133 lb.-ft. of torque at 4600 rpm. PZEV Elantras come exclusively with a 4-speed automatic transmission, while standard Elantras can also be had with a 5-speed manual. EPA fuel economy estimates are 24 mpg city/33 mpg highway with the manual transmission and 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway with the automatic transmission.
The 2008 Hyundai Elantra comes standard with front air bags, front-seat-mounted side air bags, two-row side curtain air bags, and anti-lock brakes. SE models also include electronic stability control and electronic brake assist. The National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the Elantra a best-possible 5 stars in its frontal crash test and 4 stars in side-impact tests. The Elantra's NHTSA rollover rating is 4 stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) performed a frontal crash test of the Elantra and rated it \"Good,\" the Institute's best rating.
2008 Hyundai Elantra SE models get a new Brake Assist system, which works by monitoring the speed of brake pedal movement. According to Hyundai, if the system senses a panic stop, it immediately increases brake application force to shorten the car's stopping distance.