By KBB.com Editors
It's funny how money can change perception. When times were good and gas was cheap, large and inefficient vehicles were in vogue. Now times aren't quite as good, gas isn't exactly inexpensive, and shoppers are considering smaller, more efficient alternatives. Enter the 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring, a car that shares its powertrain, outstanding warranty, and little else with the Elantra Sedan. Buyers of the don't-call-me-a-wagon Touring will also be treated to 24.3 cubic feet of cargo room, sharp German styling, and a slew of safety features, such as electronic stability control. Unfortunately, those same buyers will be sitting on stiff seats, may become lost without an available navigation system, and won't be enjoying the fun or refinement provided by competing models from Mazda and Volkswagen.You'll Like This Car If...
You could say there's something for everyone in the 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring, from its slick five-speed manual transmission to its 31-mpg highway rating and impressive list of standard safety features. All that, plus Hyundai's 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and more interior room than the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen.You May Not Like This Car If...
European styling gives the 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring a sporting image, but drivers looking for handling on par with the MAZDA3 5-Door will be left wanting. The stiff, flat seats also leave a good deal to be desired.What's Significant About This Car?
After a nine-year hiatus, Hyundai is once again offering a wagon variant of its popular Elantra model. The Elantra Touring aims to satisfy the needs of buyers seeking usable space and efficiency, all of which is packaged in a stylish, affordable package.Driving It Driving Impressions
While the 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring's 138-horsepower engine delivers adequate power for the daily commute, drivers will be wishing for more oomph when it's time to pass quick-moving traffic. There just isn't a lot of power in reserve, so plan on downshifting frequently. The five-speed manual transmission adds some fun thanks to its precise shifter, but when the engine was revving near 4,000 rpm on the highway, we wondered if employing a standard six-speed gearbox wouldn't have been a better idea. Our test car averaged 25.4 mpg. From a ride and handling perspective, the tight and firm feel of the Touring's steering and suspension inspire confidence around town without being overly jarring. Head out on a twisty road, however, and you'll discover that this Elantra quickly meets its limits, and despite best intentions, doesn't measure up to class leaders like the MAZDA3.Favorite Features
Five-Speed Manual Transmission
Hyundai station wagons are not supposed to be fun, but apparently that's news to engineers of the Elantra Touring's manual transmission. Drivers who opt to row their own gears will like the light-effort clutch and the short, precise action of the shifter.
Though the 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring comes very well equipped, there are a few desirable bits that can only be had as part of the Premium-Sport Package. Those include dual-setting heated front seats, a power sunroof, and partially-chromed 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Kumho tires.