The Elantra Tops Everybody's List

Whatever your age, whatever your budget, when shopping for a new car we all strive to find the best possible value for our money. And we'd like it to be wrapped up in an attractive package that's guaranteed to make us the envy of our friends. In the compact sedan market segment there is one particular new kid on the block that has everybody talking, test-driving and signing on the dotted line. The new Hyundai Elantra is all of the above and then some. Even the critics agree, which is why it's been named North American Car of the Year and is a finalist and favourite for the South African title to be announced soon.

Nothing beats a great first impression and the Elantra has this down to a t. Whether viewed from the front, side or back, Hyundai's new generation 'fluidic sculpture' design language will make you want to do a double-take. Every element from its swept-back headlamps and sloping roofline to its lowered profile and sleek door lines contributes to the Elantra price appearing far more expensive than its R192 900 price tag will reveal. Inside, it's much the same. Quality materials, sleek surfaces and top of the spectrum finishes contribute to a modernised interior that gets the nod from especially style conscious buyers.

Comfortable seating, optimised driving position and a spacious yet quiet cabin in turn, make the Hyundai Elantra a top choice for longer journeys.

One aspect of this popular sedan that will pleasantly surprise is its performance. Available in 1.6L and 1.8L engine choices with both auto and manual transmission options, the Elantra delivers ample power and torque. One reason for this is that unlike many heavier competitors, Hyundai has kept the Elantra's engine weight as low as possible, resulting in a power to weight ratio you'd more often find in a sporty hatch. Another contributing factor is its aerodynamic design that creates less drag. As a result the Hyundai Elantra also consumes less fuel and produces fewer emissions.

More premium than standard, the Elantra is packed with a host of features, gadgets and adaptors you'd more likely expect to find in a luxury sedan such as rain sensing wipers, auto locking doors, dual zone air conditioning and rear parking sensors. To echo its modern character, it also offers auxiliary and USB inputs which allow you to connect your USB stick, MP3 player or iPod with ease. Does the Hyundai Elantra give you more than you bargained for? Most certainly.