The Hyundai Elantra is what we'd affectionately call a late bloomer. Models produced during the 1990s were pretty terrible and not suited for much more than late-night-show joke fodder. But Hyundai has been continually making improvements over the years, highlighted by a dramatic redesign two years ago. As such, the 2013 Hyundai Elantra now stands as one of the best choices for a compact car, eclipsing even more well-known choices from Honda and Toyota.
Distinctive styling is certainly one of the Elantra's main draws. Although obviously a subjective opinion, the Elantra's sleek bodywork helps it stand out in the popular small sedan segment. Under the Elantra's sheet metal is a 1.8-liter engine that provides respectable performance as well as frugal fuel economy.
Inside, the Elantra boasts a daring design theme and rich-looking materials. There's plenty of headroom for passengers, and although the Elantra's sleek style does cut into rear seat headroom a little, the trunk is one of the roomiest you'll find in this class. In typical Hyundai fashion, the Elantra is also equipped with plenty of standard features, plus some unexpected options including heated front and rear seats and keyless ignition/entry.
Just like the Elantra, however, the small-sedan segment is not what it once was. It's now brimming with excellent choices, such as the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze, 2013 Ford Focus and 2013 Mazda 3. The Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla are also still worth a look. Comparison shopping is a must. But overall we think the 2013 Hyundai Elantra is a great choice in this group.