Hyundai Elantra Touring: First Drive Impressions

Today we attended the launch of Hyundai’s latest vehicle, the Elantra Touring. You probably haven’t heard a lot about it, as it isn’t as sexy as the Genesis Sedan or Coupe models that seem to be catching all the headlines lately. It is, however, certain to sell in significantly higher volume than those other two.

Having just piloted several versions of the car, we wanted to give a brief preview of the new model and our thoughts on it before the full review runs in just a few days.

Interestingly the Elantra Touring is not an Elantra at all. It is based on the European i30 model and has it’s own unique platform.

With a 138hp 2.0-liter engine it has enough power for the segment, however, we’re not fans of the four-speed automatic. It’s actually a fine four-speed, it’s just that five-speeds are increasingly the norm these days. The five-speed manual is a fabulous alternative if you don’t mind shifting for yourself.

From the front it’s a pleasant vehicle but the car’s best sides are the profile and especially the rear, which has a definite European flavor to it – somewhat like a mini Volvo wagon.


Competing with cars like the Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix the Elantra Touring is less of a crossover and more of a wagon and has a lower seating position. The up-high seating position is all the rage right now but those who prefer the drive of a sedan with a sportier edge will definitely prefer the Elantra Touring.

Impressively the Elantra Touring has gobs of interior cargo space – especially with the rear seats folded down. We’ll have full volume specs in the review but we can say that it outpaces cars like the Vibe in a big way – boasting even more cargo space than the Hummer H3!

Interior trim quality is impressive and driving dynamics are even more so – especially with the Sport Package that includes 17-inch wheels.

Check the Reviews Section soon for our full review.


Official Elantra Touring release after the jump:

Hyundai announces pricing for FUEL-EFFICIENT

elantra touring

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., December 23, 2008 – Hyundai Motor America has announced prices for its Elantra Touring five-door compact, starting at $18,495 for a very well-equipped entry-level model and $19,995 for one featuring a Premium-Sport package. The all-new 2009 Elantra Touring is a sportier, more functional variant of Hyundai’s popular Elantra sedan, and will be available at dealerships in the first quarter of 2009.

2009 Elantra Touring Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Pricing





Touring M/T

Standard Equipment

Five-Speed M/T with B&M Sport shifter


Touring A/T

Standard Equipment

Four-Speed A/T


Touring M/T


Five-Speed M/T with B&M Sport shifter


Touring A/T


Four-Speed A/T


Note: All prices in this release contain a freight charge of $695

“The all-new Elantra Touring is a fun-to-drive, functional five-door,” said Mark Dipko, manager, small car product development, Hyundai Motor America. “Elantra Touring provides buyers a unique offering in the compact segment, raising the bar as Hyundai likes to do in value, safety and quality. It is remarkable how many features a customer can get for under $20,000 in such a versatile five-door.

The Elantra Touring is the first five-door compact to offer standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC) in addition to a host of other class-leading safety technologies. As with all Hyundai vehicles, the Elantra Touring was designed and manufactured to meet the most stringent quality standards in the industry, exemplifying Hyundai’s quality leadership position worldwide.


  • · Elantra Touring represents a return to the compact five-door segment for Hyundai. (The previous generation Elantra also featured a sporty five-door model, the Elantra GT.)
    • · Most interior volume (passenger volume plus cargo space) of any five-door in its class.
      • · Unique sport suspension and steering tuned for greater response and handling.
        • · Standard USB/iPod® auxiliary inputs and standard XM Satellite Radio®.
          • Five-star frontal crash rating in the compact passenger car segment from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  • · Unsurpassed safety technologies, including Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control, ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist, and six standard airbags.

The Elantra Touring, with its modern, sleek styling and fun-to-drive qualities, was developed by Hyundai in response to the growing demand for stylish and functional five-door vehicles, sales of which doubled from 2001 to 2006. Five-door vehicle sales are projected to be strong into the next decade as well.


Elantra Touring builds on Hyundai’s reputation for offering loads of standard equipment, including air conditioning, power windows, heated mirrors, door locks, remote keyless entry with alarm, steering wheel-mounted cruise control and audio controls, eight-way adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, a cooled glove box and plenty of storage compartments. For audiophiles, an integrated 172-Watt AM/FM/XM Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system with six speakers, USB input and auxiliary input jack are standard. The Premium-Sport package adds a power sunroof with tilt and slide functions, heated front seats and 17-inch alloy wheels with P215/45VR17 tires.


Like every Hyundai, top-tier safety was a key development goal for the Elantra Touring, which is fully equipped to protect driver and passengers. Passive safety features include dual front, side and curtain airbags — a total of six protective airbags in the vehicle. Other safety features include active front headrests, seatbelt pretensioners and seatbelt reminders. The combination of side and curtain airbags, which help protect the head and body during side impacts, can reduce fatalities by more than 50 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS also notes that active front head restraints improve rear crash protection.

The Elantra Touring comes standard with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), one of the industry’s most effective life-saving technologies. NHTSA studies show that passenger cars equipped with ESC experience 30 percent fewer fatalities in single-vehicle crashes than cars without ESC. Santa Fe, Veracruz, Tucson, Sonata, Azera, Elantra SE, Entourage and Genesis are all equipped with standard ESC. Elantra Touring has earned five-star frontal and four-star side crash ratings in the compact passenger car segment from NHTSA.


The long wheelbase and generous width of the Elantra Touring, combined with Hyundai’s expertise in interior packaging, have produced an interior that delivers class-leading comfort, functionality and practicality. Elantra Touring has the most interior volume (passenger volume plus cargo space) of any five-door in its class at 125.5 cubic feet. In fact, Elantra Touring’s cargo capacity is 65.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down, which is more cargo space than many larger wagons and crossovers.

The Elantra Touring is the first compact five-door to offer XM Satellite Radio® and USB/iPod® auxiliary inputs as standard equipment. When an iPod or flash drive is connected through the USB port, located in the center storage compartment, not only does it play music through the vehicle’s six-speaker audio system, but it also charges the iPod and allows the driver to access tracks with the steering wheel audio controls. This system also allows both driver and passengers to easily view song/artist/title information and control the music from the audio head unit rather than only the iPod itself. The center storage compartment location of the USB assures that iPods can be safely stowed out of sight.

The roomy and functional interior is also a quiet place to be. Based on internal tests, Elantra Touring has four decibels lower road noise levels than the Mazda3 five-door.


The Elantra Touring’s exterior dimensions (176.2 inches long, 69.5 inches wide and 59.8 inches high) make it a great fit in the compact five-door segment, while its long wheelbase (106.3 inches) offers class-leading interior volume. Elantra Touring features outstanding front legroom and both front and rear shoulder room. In addition, every Elantra Touring has 60/40 split folding rear seats that fold when needed for added storage, functionality and practicality.

The Elantra Touring matches best-in-class passenger volume with best-in-class cargo capacity. There is a useful 24.3 cubic feet of luggage space with rear seats upright and a cavernous 65.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat. As in any Hyundai, the utility and convenience in the Elantra Touring has not been overlooked, with a stow-and-go removable luggage cover that stores conveniently out-of-site under the trunk area compartment. An optional restraining net is also offered.

The Elantra Touring includes a number of convenient, standard stowage and storage features, including a sunglass holder, two front and two rear cupholders, door bottle holders, dash storage, central console storage, front storage tray, front seatback pockets and a cargo area under-floor storage. For tailgaters, the cargo area also has a power-retained, 12-volt outlet that does not require the vehicle to be turned on in order to work.

Engine Performance

Elantra Touring is powered by the same fuel-efficient, 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder found in the Elantra sedan. This sophisticated, 16-valve powerplant employs Dual Overhead Camshafts (DOHC) and Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) for a power band, coupled with high fuel efficiency and low emissions. Elantra Touring is certified as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV). With a manual transmission, the Elantra Touring’s mileage is 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway according to the EPA. With the optional four-speed, automatic transmission, the Elantra Touring’s EPA rating is 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.


The 2009 Elantra Touring is protected by the Hyundai Advantage, America’s Best Warranty. Coverage includes five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper protection, 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and seven-year/unlimited mileage anti-perforation coverage. In addition, Elantra Touring buyers receive 24-hour roadside assistance coverage at no extra charge for five years (no mileage limit), including emergency service.