By KBB.com Editors
The 2008 Hyundai Elantra carries over largely unchanged form a major redo last year. The spacious and fuel-efficient Elantra can comfortably and safely pack in a family of five and its cargo. From front to rear, the 2008 Elantra's sharp styling, roomy interior and quality-conscious engineering qualifies this fourth-generation version as a fully contemporary yet affordable sedan.
You'll like this car if high mileage is a must and regular is your gasoline of choice; its 25/33 city/highway EPA fuel economy numbers trump the Volkswagen Rabbit's, for example. If safety is your issue, the 2008 Hyundai Elantra offers front, side-impact and side-curtain airbags, plus antilock brakes (ABS), as standard equipment.
You may not like this car (at least with the manual transmission) if your daily drive demands constant gear shifting, as the five-speed does not have the smoothest operation in our experience.
The SE Premium plus leather package replaces last year's Limited trim. The SE also receives electronic stability control and brake assist, while a tire pressure monitoring system is now standard on all models.
Driving Impressions Zippy little engines are no longer a surprise in economy cars, but the Elantra's 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, 138-horsepower Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) engine, teamed with the five-speed transmission, is particularly...impressive, especially on uphill climbs. Quieter than one might expect, engine noise is drowned out by wind and tire noise when the windows are rolled down. Ride and performance are average, with handling far more responsive than the previous version. A comfortable car to drive, the Elantra feels secure and reliable, and its owners will likely appreciate its straight-forward predictability and control.
Audio System Controls
Steering wheel-mounted audio controls are a huge convenience and are standard with the Elantra SE. Nestled neatly into the wheel's left side, the flush-mounted buttons for Volume, Seek and Mode are within easy reach.
The generously-sized trunk stretches into the car and, with the 60/40-split rear seat folded down, the space is even larger.
The interior is comfortable, functional and spacious, with well-padded seating, but not necessarily an example of modern style. The SE's somewhat dated-looking velvety seat fabric, the instrument panel with its expanses of plastic and the over-designed door panels appear a little old-fashioned. Otherwise, the roominess, headroom and rear-seat legroom are welcome in a car of this size, the trunk is exceptionally deep and large, the rear seat splits 60/40 for added convenience and an auxiliary jack and power outlet allow for plug-in accessories.Exterior
The impressive exterior styling, with its clean lines and sculpted body sides, borrows design characteristics from the larger and more expensive Hyundai Azera. Prominent among the pleasing exterior appearance features is the grille, with three horizontal bars, finely integrated headlights and a two-bar air duct with corner lamps.
In addition to the front, side-impact and side-curtain airbags, all 2008 Hyundai Elantras feature anti-lock brakes (ABS) with four-wheel discs, active front head restraints, remote keyless entry, power locks and windows and heated power mirrors. The SE's generous list of standard equipment includes air conditioning, tilt/telescope leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, fog lights, rear window defroster, alloy wheels and a 172-watt sound system with XM Satellite Radio. Standard safety features for the SE include Electronic Stability Control and Brake Assist.
If carpeted floor mats are all you want to add, you'll pay just a little extra for them, but most buyers will likely want the four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive and lockup torque converter, as well. Other options on the SE include a power sunroof, heated seats and leather seating surfaces. On the GLS, options include cruise control, fog lights, 172-watt sound system with XM Satellite Radio, illuminated vanity mirrors and extendable shades on the front sunvisors.
A competent 2.0-liter super-clean engine powers the Elantra and scores high on the EPA's Green Vehicle Guide. The combination of Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) and dual overhead camshafts gives the engine a very broad power spread, coupled with high fuel efficiency and low emissions. The manual transmission helps get the most out of the engine.
2.0-liter in-line 4 (ULEV)
138 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
136 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/33 (manual), 25/33 (automatic)
2.0-liter in-line 4 (PZEV)
132 horsepower @6000 rpm
133 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/33 (automatic)
By darryl on Monday, October 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 106,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "workmanship and quality"
Cons: "Noise and comfort"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Good, reliable car. Ride is a little noisy, comfort is fair to good. Quality and workmanship is good. No engine problems. Good pep for a car with this mileage"
9 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By Bliggs on Saturday, October 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value for your $$"
Cons: "Back seat is a little cramped. Not much leg room"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I love my Elantra! Best bang for you $$ on the road!! Gets great gas mileage, has decent acceleration, and is a relatively quiet ride. Very satisfied customer! Thank you Hyundai!"
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By MrApple on Tuesday, October 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 81,750overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very peppy, 5spd man, easy to handle, economical."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought with 13k miles and have used it as a commuter, first for a 30mile round trip car and now a 100 mile rt car. Never had any issues other than body damage in a low impact fender bender, which was repaired, with the exception of a parking lot dent in right rear fender. This is my most favorite personal car and I am 55. Cold A/C, XM equipped, auxiliary jack and about 35mpg on my hwy commute. I need a 4wd so I am replacing this one."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Kesh on Saturday, September 20, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Traded in for a new car
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I owned it for seven years and it never gave any troubles. Only thing I did was change oil and filter. I only put about 3000 miles per year. I once drove it from SC to CO and it behaved very beautifully, and I enjoyed the ride and the drive. Used less than 50 gallons of gas for 1600 miles of drive."
5 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By NolaMom on Thursday, August 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Mechanically holding up well"
Cons: "Interior, exterior quality is lacking"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"This car has been solid mechanically. However, it lacks comfortable seating and things in the interior break rather easily. The door handles peeled leaving sharp edges that cut my son. I just peeled all the silver off instead of investing in new handles. Covers in the corner of the windows have fallen off. Small things like that have happened on this car that I never experienced when I owned other vehicles. The car shimmies when I go over 60. I have had everything checked. Apparently this car isn't designed to cruise well on the interstate. But it is a good basic car if you are budget conscious."
8 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By leonardjf on Friday, July 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very reliable, well-built, good value"
Cons: "Mediocre handling, no ESC in the GLS model"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I purchased my 2008 Elantra GLS in January 2009 for under $15,000. For the price, I expected a good car, but my Elantra has been extremely reliable. It had no "from the factory" defects, and I've had no mechanical problems since then. Other than a minor fender-bender on ice, the only work that's been done to the car has been routine maintenance. The car's not perfect--handling is "meh," and I'm sorry that I allowed the salesperson to convince me not to buy the SE model with Electronic Stability Control, which would have enabled me to avoid the fender-bender."
6 people out of 12 found this review helpful