What Changed for 2009:
- Elantra Touring, a 5-door wagon, added to U.S. lineup
- Touring is first 5-door compact with standard stability control, Hyundai says
- Touring based on Hyundai i30 CW sold in Europe
- Touring, SE sedan get standard USB/iPod auxiliary port, XM satellite radio
- Sedan now features easier-to-read instrument cluster
- GLS, SE sedan models get stiffer suspension, improved steering
The compact Elantra lineup expands for 2009 with the addition of a 5-door Touring model. It'll join the Elantra sedan in Hyundai showrooms by the end of 2008. Hyundai says the market for 5-door models doubled from 2001 to 2006. Rivals include the 5-door Mazda 3, 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. It has the most interior volume (125.5 cubic feet) of any 5-door hatchback in its segment, Hyundai says.
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 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.
The Elantra sedan enhances its tunes and its tuning for 2009. The car now comes with USB and iPod auxiliary inputs, and a new audio system with improved XM satellite radio reception. Both Elantra GLS and SE see improvements to their suspension set-ups and steering feel.
Only one model of the Elantra Touring is offered. 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 leather-wrapped steering wheel; 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; remote keyless entry; rear wiper and washer; trip computer; and special carpeting. 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.
The Elantra sedan is sold in GLS and SE versions. The GLS comes standard with power mirrors, locks and windows; remote keyless entry with alarm; split-fold rear seatback; and tilt steering. The Popular Equipment package adds a 172-watt AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 stereo, fog lights and cruise control. The SE is the sporty Elantra sedan, featuring 16-inch alloy wheels, leather shift knob and steering wheel, and steering-wheel audio controls. The SE Premium package adds a power sunroof and heated front seats, while the SE Premium Plus Leather package includes everything in the Premium package plus leather seats.
The same 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine powers every Elantra model. With continuously variable valve timing (CVVT) and 4 valves per cylinder, this motor generates 141 hp and 137 lb.-ft. of torque in the Touring. In the sedan, it makes 138 hp as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle. (The Partial Zero Emission Vehicle, or PZEV, version, rates 132 hp and is as clean as a hybrid model, Hyundai says.) Torque measures 132 lb.-ft. for the ULEV engine; 133 lb.-ft. for the PZEV.
According to the EPA, this engine gets 24 or 35 mpg city/33 mpg highway in the sedan version, depending upon transmission choice. The Touring model gets 23 mpg city/30 or 31 mpg highway. 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. Still, the sedan gets suspension upgrades for 2009, with the SE receiving a ride that's \"significantly firmer,\" Hyundai says.
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 (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and brake assist; active front headrests; and seat belt pre-tensioners. All Elantra sedans get six air bags; 4-channel ABS with EBD; and adjustable head restraints for all passengers. The SE adds ECS with traction control and brake assist not found on the GLS version.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash tests, the Elantra sedan gets the top rating (5 stars) in front driver and front passenger tests, and 4 stars in side driver and side rear passenger tests. The 5-door Touring has not been tested.
A USB port, located in the Elantra Touring's center storage console, allows an owner to connect a mobile music player, such as an 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 on the Touring and the SE sedan; optional on the GLS sedan.