2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring

By February 13, 2008
2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring
On Sale: Late 2008
Expected Pricing: About $17,000

When Hyundai redesigned its compact Elantra for the 2007 model year, the company dropped the hatchback body style, keeping only a four-door sedan. At the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, Hyundai announced that a hatchback is returning to the lineup in the form of the 2009 Elantra Touring.

Compared to the sedan, the Elantra Touring will be more sport oriented. It will have four doors and the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, but will also feature a sportier suspension, a lowered ride height, a short-throw shifter, and larger wheels and tires.

To the MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspensions, the Elantra Touring adds 24 percent stiffer front springs, 39 percent stiffer rear springs, larger front and rear stabilizer bars, unique dampers, and more direct steering. While the sedan offers 15- and 16-inch wheels, the hatchback will have 16- and 17-inch wheels with lower profile tires.

The 2.0-liter four-cylinder will send its 141 horses to the front wheels via a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission. The automatic gets Hyundai's Shiftronic manual shift gate, while the manual comes with a B&M Racing short-throw shifter.

The Hyundai Elantra Touring will also come with a higher level of standard features versus the sedan: Traction control and electronic stability control will be standard, as will ABS with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution. Other standard features will include air conditioning, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power windows and door locks, heated mirrors, remote keyless entry, eight-way adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support, a 172-watt AM/FM/XM audio system with six speakers, and fog lights. USB/iPod auxiliary inputs will also be standard. When an iPod or flash drive is plugged into the USB port, it will charge the iPod, provide access to tracks through the steering wheel audio controls or radio, and display song/artist/title information on the audio head unit. The Elantra Touring will also offer a Premium-Sport package that adds a power sunroof, heated front seats, and P215/45VR17 tires on alloy wheels.

A hatchback body style means more efficient packaging. The Elantra Touring will have a 106.3-inch wheelbase, which is 2 inches longer than the sedan's, but it will also be about one inch shorter. The sedan offers 14.2 cubic feet of trunk space. The Elantra Touring will have 24.3 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second-row seats and a total 65.3 cubic feet with the 60/40 split second-row seats folded flat. There will also be a shallow storage area beneath the rear cargo floor. Hyundai says the Elantra Touring will have more interior volume than any four-door hatchback in its class.

Pricing had not been announced at press time, but we expect the Elantra Touring to start at around $17,000 when it goes on sale late this year (fall 2008).

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