2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring Review

MPG-o-Matic Hyundai Elantra Touring Review Summary:
The versatile Hyundai Elantra Touring delivers a generous amount of cargo capacity, a host of in-cabin technology, and a four-cylinder engine capable of delivering highway mileage in the mid-thirty mile per gallon range. For those so inclined, the B&M shifter brings the manual-equipped Elantra Touring to life.

The five-door 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring is fitted with a 2.0-liter DOHC engine that can be mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. The Elantra’s inline four produces 138 horsepower (HP) and 136 foot pounds of torque.

The EPA’s fuel economy estimates for the 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring are 23 city / 31 highway miles per gallon (MPG) with the manual transmission and 23 city / 30 highway with the automatic.

We put roughly three hundred miles on the odometer of our five-speed manual Carbon Gray review unit over a long weekend and easily dispensed the official mileage estimates with an average of 35.4 MPG on the Interstate highway and 29.8 MPG combined.

Interstate Mileage Testing:
Cruise control set to 68 MPH, A/C off, windows up: 34.5 MPG
Cruise control off, target speed 60-72 MPH, A/C off, windows up: 36.3 MPG

Overall test period temperatures ranged from the fifties through the seventies, with Interstate highway testing temperatures in the high sixties.

The Elantra Touring’s 14.0 gallon gas tank provides for a reasonable amount of highway range. The 2.0-liter engine is designed to run on regular unleaded fuel.

While the little four-banger’s numbers might not look impressive on paper, it delivers off-the-line when fitted with the five-speed manual. Performance is quite adequate in an unladen vehicle. Fill the car with friends, family, and cargo, however and the 2.0-liter will have its work cut out for it.

Those who opt for the manual transmission will not be disappointed. The Elantra Touring’s standard B&M shifter makes it a pleasure to take a quick run through the gears.

Through the twisties, the Hyundai five-door’s handling isn’t as tight as the segment-leading Mazda3 … but when it comes to hauling gear the Elantra Touring absolutely shines.

There’s a remarkable amount of cargo capacity, with 24.3 cubic feet of space available when the 60/40 rear seats are up and 65.3 cubic feet when the rear seats are down. Cubbies underneath the rear floor provide concealed space for even more stuff.

Rear seating is comfortable for four, with a center fold-down armrest and plenty of headroom.

Driver’s amenities are quite good, given the Elantra Touring’s price point, with the beefy leather-wrapped steering wheel providing integrated controls. Manual lumbar support is standard.

Our test unit was fitted with the Premium Sport package, which includes a power sunroof, heated front seats, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The optional Bluetooth hands-free phone system is housed above the windshield.

There are two power outlets at the base of the dash, and another in the cargo area.

The standard six-speaker audio system provides both auxiliary and USB input jacks. Although the standard audio system does a great job of iPod integration, volume is limited. iPod support includes access to playlists, artists and albums.

The steering wheel controls allow you to switch between songs, auxiliary input devices, CDs, radio and satellite radio without lifting your hands from the wheel, so your eyes can stay on the road.

While the trip computer provides an average mile per gallon fuel economy display (along with distance to empty), the Elantra Touring lacks a real-time fuel-efficiency gauge. We always recommend the use of a real-time fuel economy display as a means to encourage light-footed driving in the effort to achieve higher gas mileage.

All-in-all, the Hyundai Elantra Touring delivers excellent value with a combination of technology, fuel efficiency, driveability, and cargo capacity. Whether viewed as a competitor to the Toyota Matrix and Mazda3 or as an alternative to a small SUV, the Elantra Touring provides plenty of bang for the buck.

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9 thoughts on “2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring Review”

  1. I have had my 2010 SE 5 speed for 4 weeks now and love it. Your review along with other road tests such as Motorweek swayed me enough to take the plunge into a Korean car. I have been impressed with what Hyundai has been putting out over the last few years and this one does not disappoint with handling, performance, and refined quality on par or better than the Big Two from Japan.

    With only 2K on the clock, I am already meeting and exceeding the official EPA mileage estimates and that is on E10 gas. So far, I am getting 27-28 in mixed driving and have hit 31 on the highway which was in very hilly terrain. I am confident this will improve slightly as the engine breaks in. One can’t help but wonder how much better this car could do on the highway if it ran 500 rpm less. I still can’t get use to seeing it spin over 3 grand at 65 and better, but it is quiet and smooth.

    You make the comment that the handling isn’t as tight as the Mazda 3. In all honesty, how many drivers can effectively wring the Hyundai out to it’s limit? This thing is still a hoot and a half on a twisty back road.

    My only wishes for this car so far are a fold-flat passenger seat for loading longer items and a more contemporary choice of gear boxes (6 speed manual and 5/6 speed auto). Oh, and they should have put a switch on the cargo bay lamp so you can turn it off like the dome and map lights up front.

    Thank you for the great review. I hope others find it valuable too so more people gain interest in this car. I’d love to see more reviews on other Hyundai/Kia products such as the 2011 Sonata, Soul, Forte sedan or coupe, and we are all dying to see what sort of high fuel economy you can squeeze from the V-8 Genesis!

  2. I bought mine in June 2009 and nearly 15 months and 43000 miles later am in love with everything but the mpg. Most of my driving is highway, and 28.9 is my average; I’ve never gone over 30, even on 1600 mile trips. My 2003 Elantra GT did much better, but even with the disappointment over the fuel efficiency, my greatest joy in the morning is jumping into my touring for my 65 mile jaunt to work. It’s a great car that with nimble handling for city driving, and comfortable and fun on the open road.

  3. It’s unfortunate it appears this body style may be gone after 2012. I feel it fills a real need for small wagon lovers. With a few light tweaks to the body lines, 15 more HP and perhaps a 5 speed auto/stick trans, this could be a very interesting choice.


  4. mpg-o-editor,
    I’m considering one of these in the used market and interested in the manual trans model. I have a old ankle injury which flares up w/ some clutch systems. Can you remember if the clutch releases closer to the floor or closer to full extension?


  5. @G – Wish I had an answer … I tested the Elantra Touring two years back and can’t recall the specifics. Best bet might be to ask on one of the Hyundai forums.

  6. mpg-o-editor,
    Thanks regardless, I knew it was a awhile back although thought I’d take a chance and ask. I’ll check the forums, thanks for the info.


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