Thursday, August 09, 2012

Seventh Car Shopping Week - Hyundai Elantra GT 2013

Elantra GT
We're (meaning my wife) still looking for our next car. I think she's decided that she's going to have to go up in price in order to find a car with the right mix of room, features, reliability, and creature comforts. So the price bracket we'd originally set has closed in to around $25,000. That's where current Priuses start and then head up past $30,000. Which is rather remarkable, and rather sad. Even the Fiat 500C she so loves rapidly settles around the mid $20,000s when she starts to add various packages.

In the case of the Hyundai Elantra GT, in order to get the backup camera, you have to pick the Style package and then the Navigation package, where the backup camera is "located". Based on all I've read so far, mileage is supposedly 32MPG city and 39MPG highway. Since this is meant to be a replacement for the 10-year-old Kia Sedona van, with city mileage of 17MPG and highway around 22MPG when it was new, this is a major upgrade.

The Kia was purchased as a mom-mobile, a family mover for two adults, two kids, a mother-in-law, two dogs, and anything else (that usually went on top in a luggage carrier for long trips). We took vacations and transported our girls to college in it, and while my mother-in-law was still alive, transported her to doctors. It has served yeoman's duty, but after 10 years and over 105,000 miles, it's time to trade it in. And since a lot has changed since the Kia was purchased, mom want's something smaller and considerably more efficient, especially in fuel economy.
Elantra GT Interior Driver's Side
While the price for this variant is $25,000 out the door, it's the prices for the Prius that take your breath away. Toyota has certainly grown bolder since 2009 when I purchased my Prius with regards to pricing. We got one offer that was $24,000, but without the backup camera. To equip a Prius like the Elantra GT and you'll spend a good $4,000 more, pushing the price to an eye-watering $30,000. While that price is still cheaper than, say, the Chevy Volt at around $45,000, it's still at a price I refuse to pay. I'll keep my current Prius, and probably use it to buy a new one (trade-in resale is currently $17,000 for my 2009), I won't go broke trying to buy a second, even using the Kia as a trade-in.
Elantra GT
We're supposed to head back over to Holler Hyundai this weekend to give this car a drive. We've reached a point in our budget process where we can make a decent down payment, and we have a very low-interest loan lined up. We just need to take a deep breath and see if we're really ready to pull the trigger, and if the Elantra GT is the bullet.


I decided to go simple today. So I ran a lot of photos through the E-PL2 and the M.Zuiko 14-42mm II R. I don't care about corner sharpness (or the lack thereof) or bokeh or deep depth of field. I just liked being able to zoom the range I care about, 28mm to 84mm equivalent. With a body and lens like those two, photography becomes very uncomplicated and very enjoyable, which is the whole point of all of this. Or at least it should be.


  1. That zoom of yours is sweet Bill - and very sharp. And getting it together with an E-PL2 body is maybe the most "budget" way you could think of. Btw - do you miss ISO100 on that machine when compared to the E-PL1? An E-PL2 is tempting because the grip looks much nicer than the one of the -1 camera, but I've never held one myself.

    About those cars: I've heard nothing other than respect regarding to Hyundai during the last year or two, when it comes to quality - they seem to be chasing Toyota. There was that video showing some VW manager at a car show sitting in one of those, telling his co-worker: "Nothing is rattling or loose here - why can't we do it?". And since Hyundai is cheaper that Toyota, they are a real concern to European car makers. Price-/quality-wise, these seem to be the packages to beat.

    Owner experiences seem to be very positive as well. I will surely check out these before buying the next Toyota (for which I have the highest respect). The reports of the Automobile clubs also show that this Korean maker is well on the way quality-wise.

    1. Thanks. I picked the zoom up on sale from Amazon. I wanted the II model, not the II R model, as the plain II model still has the ribbed molding on the zoom barrel. I originally purchased the II to go with the E-PL1, but it works just as well on the E-PL2.

      I like the look of the E-PL2 and it has a heavier, more quality build over the E-PL1. That does not mean the E-PL1 is bad, the E-PL1 is good, it's just the E-PL2 is better, but not quite as good as the E-P2. And yes, I do like the way the E-PL2 fits my hand, better than the E-PL1, but then again, the E-PL1 fit very well to start with.

      Yes, I miss ISO 100, but that's because I can't drop a stop in bright sunlight. The problem with ISO 100 on both the E-P2 and the E-PL1 is ISO 100 has less dynamic range than ISO 200, which is not what you want to give up outdoors.

      We may very well go with the Hyundai. After looking at the latest that Hyundai has to offer, both 2012 and 2013 models, I can say with certainty that Hyundai has reached parity with Toyota in the vehicles we care about. Funnily enough the one vehicle we still lament not being able to buy is the Fiat. We both feel that the Fiat 500C has the best overall quality. It's just the vehicle's dimensions are not big enough for me.

      One other interesting feature we noticed: the way the rear seat cushions fold forward to allow the rear seat backs to fold flat is identical to the Chevy Spark, which I believe points to the Chevy Spark's Korean roots. We've seen this design before in our 1988 gold Volvo 240 wagon, where the rear seat bench folded forward and the entire rear upright then folded down flat.

  2. Bill... on the subject of Hyundais, my wife is on her second. Her first was a 2001 Santa Fe, which gave her ten years of trouble-free service. Her second is a 2011 Tucson, which she loves. The Elantra would probably be a great choice but you won't get same mileage that the EPA says you should get. But it would still be asubstantial gain over the Kia. Good luck.


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