2006 Hyundai Elantra

2006 Hyundai Elantra

Medium hatches tend to dominate their market segment, but some buyers still prefer traditional four-door sedans over hatchbacks. Hyundai i30 hatch has been a big seller for many years in Australia, but the i30 sedan, confusingly called Elantra, is well worth consideration.

Interestingly Hyundai Australia did briefly consider renaming Elantra as the i30 sedan, but that never did happen.

So keen was the local Hyundai importer that it persuaded its South Korean head office to launch the fourth generation Elantra on Queensland’s Gold Coast in August 2006. Journalists came from all over the world to drive new Elantra here.

Styling at that times was unashamedly Korean, with the sort of lines that didn’t appeal to Aussies. The fifth generation Elantra, from July 2011 is more European in style. Then from February 2016 the gen-six Elantra arguably led the way on the international market with lines that some European cars look to be following – how things change…

It is not just the styling that’s making Hyundai Elantra stand out. The South Korean marques – Hyundai and Kia are allied with one another – are starting to lead the world in build quality, owner satisfaction and reliability.

2011 HyundaI Elantra

2011 Hyundai Elantra

And also in handling prowess, with Australian engineers being more and more involved in the steering and suspension departments during the design stages. You wouldn’t call Elantra a sports sedan, but for its class it’s not too bad. (See later note on Elantra SR Turbo.)

Elantra is almost a full four-seater for adults in its latest iteration, with each new generation providing a slightly larger car with a bit more interior space. Headroom for tall travellers may be limited, especially if a sunroof is fitted, so take your teenagers along for a test drive before settling on an Elantra. BTW, three kids in the back seat will have room to move, especially in the later generations.

Power for the gen-four Elantra comes from 2.0-litre engine matched with either a five-speed manual or four-speed auto.

A new generation four-cylinder 1.8-litre engine arrived in the gen-five Elantra, power was transferred to the front wheels though manual or automatic transmission, both with six forward ratios. This responsive unit and added gears improved performance and reduced emissions.

An improved version of the 1.8 arrived with the next generation Elantra in 2016. Its capacity was increased to 2.0 litres. It also had a six-speed manual or six-speed auto.

2014 HyundaI Elantra

2014 HyundaI Elantra

October 2016 saw Hyundai stick a toe-in-the-water with a medium-performance model called the Elantra SR Turbo, we’ve yet to see any of these on the used-car scene.

Since the early rough and ready days Downunder in the mid 1980s, Hyundai has improved out of sight and is now a major player on our market. There are multiple dealers in all large metro cities, with ever increasing representation in country cities and large towns.

Spare parts and servicing costs are about average for this class and we’ve heard no real complaints on the prices or availability of parts

Insurance is about average in this class, though, as always, it pays to shop around.

We haven’t seen many ex-rental Hyundai Elantras, but be wary of any with a lot of kilometres on the clock.

Seat trim and boot mats that are in poor condition may intricate an uncaring owner. It’s possibly also a sign of an ex rental car.

Make sure that all electrical items work correctly. Using the owner’s handbook instructions is the simplest way to make sure you cover everything.

Check the engine starts easily, especially if it’s cold. Too long a period of cranking indicates possible problems.

A manual gearbox which crunches on fast downchanges could be due for an overhaul, or there may be a clutch problem. The common third-to-second is the first change that generally suffers.

Expect to pay from $2000 to $4000 for a 2006 Hyundai Elantra FX; $4000 to $7000 for a 2008 Elite; $6000 to $10,000 for a 2011 SLX; $8000 to $13,000 for a 2011 Premium; $10,000 to $15,000 for a 2012 Premium; $13,000 to $19,000 for a 2014 Premium; $15,000 to $22,000 for a 2016 Premium; and $16,000 to $23,000 for a 2017 SR Turbo.

Unless you’re a professional in the auto industry don’t even think of buying any car without a full inspection from an experienced mechanic or engineer.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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