$3,070 - $3,776

2009 Hyundai Elantra Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Hyundai Elantra was new.


Performance: 7.6

Test drivers find the '09 Elantra's performance is good, but somewhat dull. Although there are no glaring problems with either its powertrain or chassis, reviewers do seem to expect more excitement behind the wheel.

  • "Clutch and shifter are agreeably smooth in manual-transmission models, but ride and handling is '80s Buick, aggravated by vague steering." -- Car and Driver
  • "The Elantra isn't a sport sedan, but like a Ford Focus, it always feels composed, even when you throw the corners of Mulholland Highway at it." -- Automobile Magazine

Acceleration and Power

With a four-cylinder engine that makes 138 horsepower, the 2009 Hyundai Elantra is not the most powerful car in the class, but it does accelerate well from a stop. According to the EPA, the Elantra should achieve 24/33 mpg city/highway with a manual transmission, and 25/33 mpg with the optional automatic.The Touring model rates at 23/31 mpg with a manual and 23/30 mpg with the automatic.

  • "Zippy little engines are no longer a surprise in economy cars, but the Elantra's 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, 138 horsepower CVVT ULEV engine, teamed with the five-speed transmission, is particularly impressive, especially on uphill climbs." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Acceleration is adequate with either transmission, but it's far from snappy. Hyundai says 0-60 mph takes 8.8 sec with the manual transmission, which has a slick precise shifter. The automatic transmission is smooth and responsive. " -- Consumer Guide
  • "Equipped with a 141 horsepower, 16-valve 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, and five-speed manual transmission ... the Elantra Touring's acceleration will probably fall in the 'peppy' category - just shy of 'brisk.' Still, power should compare favorably with other front-drive competitors such as the Mazda3." -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say that the Elantra sedan is adequately sporty and stiff when it needs to be, and has good brakes. Although there were no test drives with the new Elantra Touring, reviewers report the hatchback's suspension is stiffer to deliver a sportier ride.

  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The brakes furnish fine stopping control and pedal feel. The engine is a bit noisy at high rpm but it is never unpleasant. Some wind rush is evident around the exterior mirrors. Road and tire noise are impressively low for the class." -- Consumer Guide

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