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2020 Hyundai Elantra Road Test Review

2020 Hyundai Elantra Limited | Review

~ A Love Connection ~

We all know that rare feeling of finding that perfect something at first sight when suddenly an emotional spark blasts through our brains and veins with the certainty that that’s it, exactly what you were looking for, better than expected, can’t believe your eyes… gotta have it. It could be as simple as a pair of jeans, a pair of boots, a wedding dress, or as complex as walking into the perfect house or apartment. And even more rare, meeting another human being, whether it be friend or lover. You know it when you see it. You feel it instantly. The spark that triggers all our cylinders with a rush of adrenaline is known as the love hormone oxytocin, which explodes in our brains when we feel that instant connection with something or someone.

For me, it was love at first sight when the 2020 Hyundai Elantra Limited rolled into my life. It’s not too often I come across a sedan, of all things, that surprises me with sexy sportiness and a seductive style. I wanted to own this thing at first glance. Its design is silky sleek, its movements graceful, and so skillfully sculptured, hinting of a car in a class that’s far more upper and expensive than its middle-class price tag suggests. Who doesn’t want to be seen driving a car that makes one look like they’re making six figures instead of five? I expected the price tag to reveal a much higher number. It was so sweet to see this sedan locked and loaded with unlimited goodies for a Limited edition, hence the $27K price tag. We’re talking top shelf goodies!

I’ve always been of the mind set that you can look wealthy on a Walmart budget if you know how to put your dollars and ducks in the right rows. I’ve never had a problem sharing those thoughts with automakers throughout my thirty-year career as an automotive editor… they don’t need to design an inexpensive-to-make car look inexpensive. Does anyone remember the 80s and 90s when cheaply-made cars where all but a bulky box on wheels?

Anyone who buys a new car wants to be seen driving something cool, something that reflects who they are, and a ride that they feel proud to be seen in. There’s an emotional connection to our cars that most drivers feel for their wheels. For many, it’s the first and only thing the public sees them in, and for others a second home as evidenced by so much junk in their trunk. A mid-level sedan doesn’t need to look like a mid-level sedan… and thanks to Hyundai’s new sporty Elantra, that old crusty dusty mold has officially been broken.   

Hyundai Elantra InteriorOnce inside the Elantra, the first thing I noticed was its comfort. The driver’s seat was warm and welcoming, an instant sensation of belonging, like a perfect spoon cuddle fit. The cockpit and cabin felt cozy with everything in reach. I remember the days when cars were strictly designed for male drivers of a certain height, where everything was out of reach for women. Sitting on pillows, using step stools to enter, breaking finger nails to change the radio station or turn on the heat, seat belts crushing our boobs… all things we had to live with for years.

However, after ‘enlightening’ the then all-male designers and engineers on test drives over the years, interiors began to change to accommodate ‘all people of all sizes’ with power seats, adjustable seat belts, telescope steering wheels, and more comfortable seating for drivers and passengers. If the driver’s seat in any car is not comfortable then the road ahead can render a very rough ride, especially on one’s back and neck. Not a good way to start the drive. After a few power adjustments to meet my five-foot frame, off I went on my 300-mile journey of twists and turns, hills and valleys, maneuvering through the majestic mountains of California’s Pacific Coast Highway.

I never tire of the commanding view nor do I ever get bored of testing a new vehicle with this luxurious landscape all around me. As far as the eye can see, there is nature’s beauty, all eight hundred miles of California’s cliffs and outcrops of coastline. So big, CA could be a nation state all to itself. Snow covered mountaintops to the east for a morning of skiing, then a two-hour ride west to sunbathe on the beach. I could test a thousand cars and trucks in this paradise and never see the same place twice. It’s also great RV and motorcycling country. There’s even the occasional sighting of a wild critter from a coyote to a mountain cat, an eagle to an owl; the sunsets of orange and gold, pinks and purples, the near-perfect tropical weather all year long.

The regal mountain range is exactly what you see in the movies… cascading slippery slopes and rolling hills of fifty shades of green, and rickety rocky outcrops of bourbon browns and granite grays, massive towering trees of every discernable difference in eye-popping shot… all of my senses are stimulated on this and every test drive here in California. Yet, my near-extinct family in the northeast wants me to move back and trade all this natural beauty and near-perfect climate for hot humid summers, hurricane active autumns, and bone-chilling winters, just so they can stick me in somebody’s basement for the convenience of their occasional driveby… even though California has been my home for 40 years. Wait, what? Yeah, no! I love you, but… they'd have to drag me kicking and screaming all the way.

All along the Pacific coast, there are beautiful sprawling homes subtly nestled into the mountain landscape, surrounded by multi-layered forestation indigenous to the land so as to blend in and not disturb the natural beauty. While many are the homes of the rich and famous, or tech gurus, geeks and giants who dwell here after making it big, it’s easy to imagine this new 2020 Hyundai Elantra Limited parked in their driveways as the first choice for a newly minted college graduate, or a second car for a young couple mastering one of the many affluent STEM or media industries here in the west.

The Elantra offers the best of the best in its class. Stylish but safe. Comfortable but cool. Prestigious but practical. Hardly your grandparent’s sedan of years gone by. Whether for a family of four or four friends on a Friday night, our Phantom Black Elantra test vehicle presents a superior quality that fits perfectly into any lifestyle, uptown or downtown, because of its stylish good looks, affordable pricing and practical usage. Who wouldn’t love that? Style, sex appeal, sportiness, safety and savings all wrapped up into one big great package. Duh!

The sinewy twists and turns and the highest of hills allowed for hard-testing the Elantra’s push and pull power, exposing its command and control while heading downhill on a steep angle, holding steady at 55 MPH, pushing RTM’s test vehicle to the max to see what it could, and couldn’t do. This test vehicle did reveal a little front-end pull to the left on elongated downhill drives, enough so that I thought it best to drive in the far-right lane at a reduced speed to have the service lane handy if necessary. It didn’t pull to the left on straight-a-ways or going uphill or even around curves, just steep downhill's. And here in the west, the Rocky Mountain downhill drives are about as steep as you can get. These pre-production models aren’t always perfect, which is why they’re called pre-production. As auto journalists, part of our job is to let automakers know our thoughts and opinions on where and what needs to improve before their cars hit the grassroots gaggle of consumers. Any slightly-out-of-line tics like this would not appear on a production models.

Other than this little easy-to-fix snafu, I loved every ounce of the 2020 Hyundai Elantra Limited and was pretty impressed at its ample appearance and overall performance both inside and out.

The Elantra Limited’s government crash safety ratings are all 4 and 5-star, which is a must for the likely target audiences of young families with rowdy and distracting kids in the back seat, or retired boomers taking long cross-country treks to sight-see all they’ve missed while raising families and building careers. Roundtrip, the fuel economy knocked my socks off, the needle barely moved, a huge plus on anyone’s budget. In fact, with all the steep terrain, I was prepared to refill the tank on the return trip. At one point, I even thought there was something wrong with the fuel gauge. But true to form, the Elantra Limited revealed exceptional gas mileage, which allowed fewer stops along the way, a must-have safety feature for any woman traveling alone.

Our 2020 Hyundai Elantra Limited was full of creature comforts and technical doodads. As a tech-head, I love technical doodads of all persuasions. But, our test vehicle had so many that it seemed more practical to simply provide a link to the Elantra and all its fun and fancy features, where you can discover all the minute details yourself while at the same time building your own. There, you can also check out all the new updates for the upcoming 2021 model. Hard to imagine, but it gets even better from here. The starting price on the 2020 Elantra is $19,300.

Most automakers, including Hyundai, usually offer the best deals at the end of the year so dealers can clear the lots of current year models to make room for next year's newbies, in this case 2021 models. But due to the pandemic, automakers are offering kick-ass deals now to sell off their unsold pre-pandemic inventory. So, if you discover from your research that you too fall in love with the Elantra sedan, then start looking at the deals being advertised right now, such as 90 days until first payment, $1000s off the window sticker, zero percent interest for the length of the entire loan, and without much haggling, for the asking, a few more goodies thrown in for free. Deals like this won’t be back until the next pandemic or world disaster, which of course we hope is never! Once in a lifetime is enough.

Be mindful though, each dealer provides different offers for each model they sell so check out each one carefully and always be sure to read the fine print before signing. Make a list of your wants and needs, and what your budget can handle before you start building your 'gotta have' Elantra. Hyundai does make it easy to buy one of their new cars. Just build it online and then order it. They’ll even deliver it to your door, like a pizza!

Hyundai USA has been in America since 1988. Since then, they have risen to the top of the crop with exceptional quality vehicles, and well-worth every penny spent. They also have one of the best vehicle warranties in the industry. The Elantra is sporty, sexy, safe and affordable in its class of 2020. Yes indeed, I felt a love connection to this car and if I needed a new car right now, this would be the one.

For more information, visit Hyundai.

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