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Josh Rosenberg
Josh Rosenberg

We don't just talk cars ... we teach how to buy them.

Older Pre-2015 Hyundai Elantra Guide
And How To Get The Best Deal

We couldn't help but sit up and pay attention when the Elantra started getting's "Editors Most Wanted" award. We also started getting requests for them. And now, many Elantras later, we're true believers ourselves. This is one nice car ... and at a price that's really challenging the competition. And now the older ones have stood up well and are a very viable and economical used car option.

We really like its easy drive, quieter and smoother than one would expect from a compact. Its performance, maneuverability and handling are excellent and its suspension smooths out the rough spots. Acceleration is very good and is absolutely impressive with the manual shift. And all while getting very good gas mileage.

Interior space is also another plus. Leg room in the backseat is actually remarkable for a vehicle this size. And the seating is firm and comfortable. What's more, the build quality is solid and the feature list is impressive for a small sedan in this price range.

The Elantra's fifth-generation was heralded in with a major redesign for the 2011 model year ... and was a very successful one produced through the 2014 model. With its new head-turning design, outstanding fuel efficiency, comfortable interior, generous trunk space, long list of standard safety equipment and surprisingly upscale optional features, this newest Elantra is way up there among the segment's best.

2011 Hyundai Elantra

Offered in GLS and Limited trims, standard features on the well-equipped base GLS include power windows, power doorlocks, power mirrors, 15-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, a trip computer, heated mirrors, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, a tilt steering wheel, antilock disc brakes (ABS), stability control, traction control, front seat side-impact airbags, active front head restraints, side curtain airbags that cover both rows and a 6-speaker audio system with satellite radio, a CD player and a USB/iPod interface.

Some used GLS models can also be found with the optional Popular Equipment package that adds cruise control, air conditioning, a telescoping steering wheel and 16-inch steel wheels, while the Preferred Equipment package adds steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, Bluetooth, 16-inch alloy wheels, a sliding armrest on the center console and illuminated vanity mirrors and sun visor extensions.

Moving up to the Elantra Limited gets everything above plus leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, a sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels and foglamps. There's also an optional Navigation package (named the Premium package for the Limited) for both models that adds navigation, realtime traffic and weather, keyless entry/ignition (only on the Limited), automatic headlights and a premium 360-watt stereo system.

Under the hood of these Elantras is an all-new 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque. Partial zero-emission vehicles (PZEV) sold in California and other states have a revised version of this engine that lowers production slightly to 145 horsepower and 130 lb-ft. GLS models are equipped with either the standard 6-speed manual transmission or the optional 6-speed automatic, while the Limited comes with the automatic as standard.

Fuel economy with either engine or transmission is outstanding, coming in with an EPA gas mileage estimate of 29 mpg city and 40 mpg on the highway.

Overall, its well-tuned suspension and more rigid body structure provide a "fun to drive" personality. The steering is quick and precise while body roll is relatively minor through the turns, while the car gives an overall well-planted and secure feeling in terms of handling.

Hyundai Elantra GLS (2008)

The previous fourth-generation Elantra was produced for the 2007 through 2010 model years. And while there is a four-door hatchback known as the Elantra Touring, this Elantra is actually a sedan, available in two models: GLS and SE.

The base GLS model is pretty thinly equipped, but many can be found with the optional Popular Equipment package that added many features, such as cruise control, air conditioning and a 6-speaker audio system with satellite radio, a CD player and a USB/iPod audio jack.

All of these features are standard on the SE model. In addition, used Elantras can be found with other stand-alone options such as leather upholstery, heated front seats and a sunroof.

Powering all of these Elantras is a 2.0-liter inline-4 engine that produces 138 horsepower and 136 pound-feet of torque, and is coupled with either a four-speed automatic transmission or a five-speed manual.

Initially, there was a third trim in this generation, the Limited, but it was discontinued for 2008 and replaced with an options package for the SE. 2008 also marked the addition of brake assist and stability control to the SE as standard features. And for the 2009 model year, the tuning for both the suspension and steering were revised and the USB/iPod audio jack was made available.

The third generation, produced from 2001 to 2006, is also a worthy and popular used car choice. It was this generation that represented a significant upgrade over the Elantras of the 90's and really put the Elantra on the map as a legitimate contender.

2005 Hyundai Elantra GLS

This Elantra was larger, had a more upscale appearance and offered a more generous feature list than its predecessors. Build quality and reliability were also much improved. Features such as full power accessories, air conditioning and side airbags were not normally available from competitors in this price range. And with its fuel efficient, 135 horsepower 2.0-liter engine (138 after 2003), a star was born as gas prices rose.

The gas mileage for the five-speed manual Elantra, for example, is 27 mpg city and 34 mpg on the highway.

There was also an Elantra hatchback, the Elantra GT, that was introduced in 2002 (and produced through the 2006 model year) that had some additional standard features such as leather upholstery and a CD player.

How To Buy At The Best Price

Hyundai Elantra GT Hatchback (2002)

There are actually several different ways to buy an older Elantra at the lowest price, and even at wholesale. You can click on the links to each of the following methods to get the specific instructions.

First of all, here's a Lowest Price Used Car Buying Guide that details a super effective method, one that often beats down prices even to wholesale levels. And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.

In addition, you can also try the Public Auto Auctions in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them in your own area.

Also ... for those of you who might be interested in a
brand new Hyundai Elantra, if the price was crazy good, here's info on exactly How To Get The Best Price On A New Elantra. This works just phenomenally well.

Other Pages Of Possible Interest:
  • 2013 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2012 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2011 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2010 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring
  • 2011 Hyundai Accent Review
  • 2013 Hyundai Sonata

  • Additional Models Of Possible Interest:
  • 2012 Hyundai Sonata
  • Used Hyundai Sonata Guide
  • Used Hyundai Genesis
  • Hyundai Genesis 2011 Coupe
  • Used Hyundai Model Overview
  • Used Kia Optima Overview
  • Used Ford Focus Overview

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