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MSRP Range: $14,970 - $17,670
Fuel Economy: 25 MPG city / 33 MPG highway

Roomy and affordable compact sedan.

The Hyundai Elantra was completely redesigned for 2007, and the 2008 models come standard with more safety features.

The Elantra features handsome styling with nice lines. Its four-cylinder engine offers the latest technology, offering a good balance of power and fuel mileage. A 2008 Elantra with the optional four-speed automatic gets an EPA-estimated 25/33 mpg City/Highway using the new 2008 test methods.

Elantra is a compact, competing against Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, Mazda3, Ford Focus, Chevy Cobalt and Dodge Caliber. Elantra offers lots of interior space for the class, a high level of standard safety equipment, and a strong warranty. And by other measures, it holds its own against those cars.

Hyundai claims that the Elantra warranty, 5 years or 60,000 miles, plus 10 years or 100,000 miles for the powertrain, is the best in its class.

Bigger than the previous-generation model, this fourth-generation Elantra offers a spacious cabin, storage compartments galore, and we found the seats very comfortable. It can seat up to five, but the Elantra is more comfortable with four. The back seats offer ample hip room and adequate legroom.

With its long-legged gearing, the Elantra can run 80 miles per hour all day without straining, and it's quiet at high speeds. The ride is good, although a bad freeway with relentless sharp bumps is more than the Elantra can accept without passing on some of the annoyance to the front seats. We found the brakes excellent and the cornering good.

For 2008, the Elantra SE comes with electronic stability control and Brake Assist, which were not available on 2007 models. A tire pressure monitoring system has been added.

Because the Elantra generally costs less than the competition, it might well be a long-term bargain. However, resale value always needs to be considered, and that competition includes the stalwarts from Honda and Toyota.

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