America needs more wagons
. That's the general sentiment among Kelley Blue Book's editorial team, anyway. So we welcomed the sight of a 2009 Hyundai Elantra
Touring at a recent track and street drive that afforded us access to 50-plus new vehicles. We liked the look of the long-roofed Elantra in pics, and we liked it even better in person. Inside, cheap-feeling front seats and hard-to-see LCD readouts were the sore spots in an otherwise up-to-date passenger cabin (and unlike many iPod integration systems, this one supports iPhone charging). Without a doubt, the compact ET's biggest surprises were its generous rear-seat legroom and expansive cargo capacity. Fold the rear seats flat and you get a wide, long, low cargo floor that belies the car's exterior dimensions. Out on the road, the manual transmission-equipped tester delivered acceptable acceleration, ride and handling in line with our expectations for what promises to be one of the category's value leaders. If versatility and affordability are at the top of your wish list, you'll soon have another vehicle to test drive.