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The Fiat 500 just missed the now coveted 40 mpg mark, returning 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg highway with the 5-speed manual, while automatic versions will net 27 mpg in town and 34 mpg while cruising. While the numbers are nothing to frown about, expectations were higher considering the car’s 1.4L four-cylinder engine and compact packaging.
The Hyundai Elantra, Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus will all offer 40 mpg capability with more practicality, but we doubt they’ll be as fun to drive. With that said, the $15,995 price point is fairly close to the three compacts, and we expect the lines to be drawn according to those who desire an all-purpose, efficient car versus something stylish and sporty.
Hyundai is celebrating its first ever year in which it sold 500,000 vehicles, with the Sonata leading the charge, moving over 183,000 units. The Elantra and Santa Fe were second and third, respectively.
The company’s previous record was 467,009 units in 2007, but Hyundai expects to sell about 537,000 units this year. The record year also coincides with the 25th anniversary of Hyundai’s entry into the American market, and we offer our congratulations on this occassion.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
For all the hype surrounding Ford‘s Fiesta subcompact, which is capable of hitting 40 mpg, it looks like subcompacts, especially those than can hit the vaunted number, aren’t selling all that well in the USA.
Even though gas prices will almost certainly hit $3 a gallon, customers are still gravitating towards compact cars, according to Cars.com’s David Thomas. This means vehicles like the Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra are well positioned with their 40 mpg fuel economy numbers, spacious interior and premium features…but if gas prices keep going past $3 (and they almost certainly will) then the sub compact segment may see a resurgence, just like the summer of 2008 when gas was around $4.
The big winners in the segment are still the Nissan Versa and Honda Fit respectively, with the Versa enjoying a nearly 3,000 unit lead over the Fit in November. Hyundai’s Accent and the Fit are nearly neck and neck, while the Fiesta comes in at fourth place, but cars like the Chevrolet Aveo and Toyota Yaris are nipping at its heels, even with stale-dated designs and no 40 mpg capability. We think the significant delta in price between a bare bones Aveo and a more expensive Fiesta hatch may have something to do with this.
[Source: Kicking Tires]
The next Hyundai Elantra Touring will ditch the traditional station wagon bodystyle and adopt a more compact hatchback shape, as consumers warm up to cars like the Ford Fiesta which are heavily promoted in 5-door guise.
Hyundai CEO John Krafcik told Autoblog that the current Elantra Touring would complete its lifecycle, and a new model would debut in a couple years. The new car would continue to be based on the Hyundai i30, a European-market station wagon that is sold here as the Elantra Touring.
By the time the new car is launched, the 2012 Ford Focus will also be on the market, and will likely be the stiffest competition for the new Elantra.
Hyundai‘s Elantra Touring station wagon will still be offered once the Elantra sedan is replaced here in the United States. In fact, we’ll even see a new Touring sometime after the sedan launches.
But the staggered introductions wont take place on the usual schedule, which often sees a new variant launch within 12 months of the main model. Because the Touring is actually based on the Hyundai i30, a European market small wagon, American consumers will have to wait for the i30 to get a re-design, something that is supposed to happen at some point in 2011.
While Hyundai CEO John Krafcik said that there would be greater integration of the i30 and the Elantra sedan, no timetable was given. The i30 has been around since 2007, so it might be due for a refresh sooner, rather than later, and with the leap in quality represented by the Elantra, it’s going to need one lest in look stale.
Hyundai is hosting a briefing at their HACHI technical center in Michigan, and Autoguide is on hand for the various presentations today. The first one focused on the upcoming Elantra, and CEO John Krafcik revealed some important details.
Among them was a claim that the Elantra will get 29 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, and that all models will achieve this figure, not just a special “ECO” model like the Chevrolet Cruze. The Elantra’s new generation 1.8L four will feature variable valve timing for both intake and exhaust, produce 82.4 horsepower per liter and pump out 148 horsepower and 131 lb-ft of torque.
Hyundai will officially revealed the 2011 Elantra at next week’s Los Angeles Auto Show, and you can check back for updates on our Los Angeles Auto Show coverage section, as well as our Twitter feed. Check out Autoguide’s Twitter feed for more updates.
Hyundai is set to build the new Elantra at their Alabama factory, as it joins the Sonata and Santa Fe at the plant. The new Elantra is already on sale in South Korea, but is set to debut in U.S. spec at this November’s 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show.
In a press release, Hyundai CEO John Krafcik said “Hyundai‘s philosophy is to build our vehicles where we sell them, and with the addition of the Elantra to our U.S. production mix we now manufacture our three most popular models right here in the U.S.”
The move to produce the Elantra in the United States allows Hyundai to price the car even more aggressively as it aims to capture an ever larger market share in the United States.
The first rolling shots of the Hyundai Elantra have emerged from Korea, where the car is known as the Hyundai Avante. Rumors have it that the Elantra will be a few inches longer than the upcoming 2011 Ford Focus but put out identical power. The Elantra is also expected to return close to 40 mpg depending on the choice of transmission.
Like most Hyundai designs, the Elantra is slick looking but also a derivative pastiche of other elements. For buyers in this category, the cabin seems to matter more, and the Elantra is expected to deliver on that front.
Hit the jump to watch the video of the 2011 Hyundai Elantra
We already brought you the design mockups of the all new Hyundai Elantra, so here are some pictures of the real thing, driving on the road. With a direct injection 1.6L 4-cylinder making 138 horsepower, the Elantra’s interesting styling and efficient powerplant should make it a competitive alternative to the usual Civic and Corolla.
Considering Hyundai just beat BMW, Audi and Toyota in a German magazine’s quality index, we think optimism is a safe bet when it comes to Hyundai, and the new Elantra.
Gallery: 2011 Hyundai Elantra
[Source: Hyundai Blog]
China is the world’s biggest auto market in the world, so it might not be so surprising that China is also Hyundai‘s new biggest market, after the automaker sold more cars in China than Korea for the second straight month. Buoyed by the success of the Yuedong (aka our Elantra) and the Tuscon crossover, Hyundai was able to move 57, 014 cars in China in May, versus 55, 339 in Korea.
The Yuedong was able to usurp the title of #1 selling compact car from the Chinese engineered and built BYD F3, a significant coup for the Korean automaker. Hyundai expects to move 670,000 cars in China for the year 2010.
[Source: Joon Gang Daily]
For all the scare-mongering you see on the evening news, the most interesting thing about my trip to the West Bank was seeing some Palestinian hoonage undertaken by a couple youths in a beat-up Toyota. It was nothing more than some peel-outs and a poor attempt at doing donuts, but it was cool to see that enthusiasm for cars exists even when hope for a better future is dim. For residents of the Gaza Strip however, obtaining a car is a massive undertaking in itself.
Blockaded by both Israel and Egypt (the Islamic fundamentalist group Hamas administers the territory, and is a common enemy of both countries), the basic necessities of life are hard to come by. This video, shot by the BBC, shows a bulldozer pulling a Hyundai Elantra into the Gaza strip through an underground tunnel – the only way it could be imported. With about 200 cars on the road, the Elantra should stand out. Interestingly enough, a similar car is only $7000 cheaper inside Israel, perhaps owing to the high taxes on vehicles in the country.
[Source: BBC News]