steamcorners
steamcorners Reader
3/7/11 10:10 a.m.

2 Korean cars, with slightly different mission statements, are calling to me. The new Hyundai Elantra, and the Kia Soul. They fit my budget well. They seem to fit my family well. Anyone have any input?

FYI, the primary driver of this car will be my 3rd-pedal-hating wife, to take miles off her fuel-sucking Chevrolet Family Truck-traiblazer-ster. 2 smallish kids. I will be driving it in the winter, when the Miata sits.

Lesley
Lesley SuperDork
3/7/11 10:19 a.m.

I'm picking up an Elantra next Monday - really looking forward to it as I've heard good things about it from colleagues who've driven it. Looks-wise, it's leaps and bounds ahead of the old model too.

amg_rx7
amg_rx7 HalfDork
3/7/11 10:20 a.m.

I like the new Elantra. Cool looking car. 6 speed auto trans. Great MPG. Better MPG than the Soul. Gas is a bit over $4 here in CA so that would be welcome.

The Soul only has a 4 speed auto which would probably make it a duller car to drive and only 30 MPG. Less HP too.

Tom Heath
Tom Heath Web Manager
3/7/11 10:29 a.m.

Our Elantra review. (Its funny, I've completely reversed my position on the car since we tried this one. I would totally pick one over the Cruze.)

Our Soul review.

If I were shopping, I'd probably look very very hard at the Elantra Touring.

While we're at it, you might want to check our latest new car review- 2011 Scion tC

amg_rx7
amg_rx7 HalfDork
3/7/11 10:50 a.m.
Tom Heath wrote: Our Elantra review. (Its funny, I've completely reversed my position on the car since we tried this one. I would totally pick one over the Cruze.)

I think Hyuandai revised the models between your review and current: http://www.hyundaiusa.com/elantra/ The front end looks a lot different.

rogerbvonceg
rogerbvonceg Reader
3/7/11 11:27 a.m.

Yup, all-new for 2011 (whatever "all-new" means.)

Stealthtercel
Stealthtercel Reader
3/7/11 11:31 a.m.

People shopping the Elantra Touring might want to investigate the Forte 5, in case the styling nuances attract them more.

(They do for me. Also, if I got one, I don't think I'd be able to resist getting a vanity plate that read NOTACOLT.)

Bobzilla
Bobzilla Dork
3/7/11 12:27 p.m.

^ That and the Forte 5 actually has a newer drivetrain. THe Elantra Touring, while a great car, is using a 15 year old engine where the Forte is using hte newer Theta II. Better power, more efficiency.

The new Elantra is truly a spectacular car.

The Soul uses the same drivetrain as the older Elantra/Touring. Great engine, but lacks the power and efficiency of the newer breed.

ZOO
ZOO SuperDork
3/7/11 12:47 p.m.

My ex has a Soul (I'll wait while you ponder all the witty comebacks and replies). Done? Okay -- here we go. She loves it. My take -- it's competent, funky, and reasonably useful. But it isn't very big.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla Dork
3/7/11 12:55 p.m.

Also keep in mind: Maintenance. The Elantra Touring and the Soul still use timing belt engines that require t-belt changes every 60k miles. The new '11 Elantra and Forte's all use timing chain engines.

belteshazzar
belteshazzar SuperDork
3/7/11 1:09 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote: ^ That and the Forte 5 actually has a newer drivetrain. THe Elantra Touring, while a great car, is using a 15 year old engine where the Forte is using hte newer Theta II. Better power, more efficiency. The new Elantra is truly a spectacular car. The Soul uses the same drivetrain as the older Elantra/Touring. Great engine, but lacks the power and efficiency of the newer breed.

that's a legit point. the other side of that sword is, how much practice with a design do you want your korean auto manufacturer to have.

integraguy
integraguy Dork
3/7/11 1:09 p.m.

If it was JUST the Elantra and the Forte...well, that's one a tough call. The 5 door Forte would be very attractive to me tho.

Elantra and Soul? As the British might say: "chalk and cheese". Meaning, in this case, 2 very different cars.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla Dork
3/7/11 1:20 p.m.
belteshazzar wrote:
Bobzilla wrote: ^ That and the Forte 5 actually has a newer drivetrain. THe Elantra Touring, while a great car, is using a 15 year old engine where the Forte is using hte newer Theta II. Better power, more efficiency. The new Elantra is truly a spectacular car. The Soul uses the same drivetrain as the older Elantra/Touring. Great engine, but lacks the power and efficiency of the newer breed.

that's a legit point. the other side of that sword is, how much practice with a design do you want your korean auto manufacturer to have.

The Theta II in the Forte is a 5 year old design that has proven to be just as reliable as the earlier beta's. Just more refined, more power and they are really getting better with this. THe Gamma in the Elantra is not an entirely new engine, it's a development of the small displacement Theta II rebadged as the Nu.

The Theta series engine debut'd in the 2005 Sonata, the 2006 Sante Fe, the Rondo and the Forte's. It's been around and has been uber-reliable.

JohnW
JohnW Reader
3/7/11 8:21 p.m.

I'm impressed with everything I've heard about the 2011 Elantra. Anyone driven one yet? How do they handle?

RexSeven
RexSeven Dork
3/7/11 8:30 p.m.

I think the Elantra or Forte would fit the bill for a small family sedan/gas sipper. The Soul is more of a single city-dweller's car.

forzav12
forzav12 Reader
3/7/11 8:36 p.m.

focus

SyntheticBlinkerFluid
SyntheticBlinkerFluid Reader
3/7/11 8:37 p.m.

I have two friends with Souls and they love them. Haven't driven one my self but I've heard they're peppy. Both are manual and I would imagine it's better that way.

My one friend however paid attention to the towing capacity and it's been working out for him when the Eagle or Suburban is out of commission.

RexSeven
RexSeven Dork
3/7/11 8:45 p.m.

In reply to SyntheticBlinkerFluid: Picture isn't showing up

In reply to forzav12: That's a good suggestion, but is the 2012 Focus even on dealership lots yet?

red5_02
red5_02 Reader
3/7/11 9:03 p.m.

In reply to RexSeven:

Probably not until next month some time.

steamcorners
steamcorners Reader
3/7/11 9:12 p.m.

No Focus. I've probably recounted my pain with the first Focus somewhere in these pages, but let's just say I won't have a first-year blew oval in my driveway anytime soon...

Actually, probably no domestic anything. Chrysler isn't gonna happen, and while the Cruze is surprisingly attractive, my neighbors to the northeast in Lordstown just don't seem to have the whole "building cars" thing quite right yet.

Other cars I've considered: Honda Element--crappy mileage, however

Civic--ubiquitous, not enough value/$

Corolla--I don't fit well

Matrix--maybe

Scion xB/xD--maybe

?

SyntheticBlinkerFluid
SyntheticBlinkerFluid Reader
3/7/11 9:38 p.m.
RexSeven wrote: In reply to SyntheticBlinkerFluid: Picture isn't showing up

Fixed.

MrBenjamonkey
MrBenjamonkey HalfDork
3/8/11 12:48 a.m.

Elantra Touring = I30 here in Korea. I30 + wheels and an inch drop = this

killerkane
killerkane New Reader
3/8/11 2:13 a.m.

Not too surprised that I have very different views here, I would go for a Focus or Fiesta or even Cruze before any Korean car. My first (high school) car was an 03 Focus and as much as I groaned about it, it was a good car. I haven't had the opportunity to drive the Fiesta or new Focus but both have gotten good reviews on Top Gear (last I checked). However I have driven the Cruze and Elantra. The Cruze was decent but underpowered and it shows Chevy is taking a step in the right direction. On the other hand the Elantra felt chintzy, drove poorly and didn't impress me in the slightest. Normally I cannot stand domestic cars but in this comparison I must admit they were far more pleasing to drive.

Kia? My girlfriends mom has a Spectra that is 3 years old now and ever since she got it, it has been a nightmare every time I ride in it. EVERYTHING rattles, the sunroof, the door panels, the trunk, the spoiler, etc. She has had her fair share of problems with the weather stripping around windows and doors as well as other issues, little of which was covered under their "Oh-so-amazing 10 year warranty." Since Hyundai and Kia are basically one and the same, I can only assume that an Elantra would suffer the same fate.

jrw1621
jrw1621 SuperDork
3/8/11 6:06 a.m.

No one yet has recommended the Mazda5 as an alternative here?
The newest 2012 models are just hitting the showrooms but the last year models, the 2010's are still on the lots (there is no 2011 model.) On these 2010 models you can pretty much take $3,000 right off the retail price. $17k, down from $20k for a middle model with automatic, etc.

YaNi
YaNi Reader
3/8/11 6:39 a.m.
Tom Heath wrote: Our Elantra review. (Its funny, I've completely reversed my position on the car since we tried this one. I would totally pick one over the Cruze.) Our Soul review. If I were shopping, I'd probably look very very hard at the Elantra Touring. While we're at it, you might want to check our latest new car review- 2011 Scion tC

Tom, the Elantra Touring is a different beast than the Elantra sedan. Different chassis, different designers, etc. I was interested in one when I saw the 30mpg city/40mpg highway, but that is only for the sedan... Interior was ALOT cheaper looking and fuel economy was around 30mpg hwy for an engine that produces only 138hp. The next Elantra Touring with the powerplant of the 2011 model(sedan) won't be out until 2013.

The Elantra sedan was very nice. The only fault I saw with it is the hood slopes in such a way that you can't see the nose of the car at all. The Civic is at fault on this too. I would rate it #2 for small car interior quality behind the VW Golf and it isn't a bad DD. For reference I will be buying a 4 door Golf TDI within the next couple months.

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