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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Recently I had the occasion to drive the 2008 Hyundaiiii! Elantra (aka Elan'[tra], aka Electra) and the new Suzuki SX4 Sport (sedan).

The occasion was I went into the Hyundaiiii! dealership. Ran into a new young salesman. Less experienced salesmen tend to be less pushy than experienced ones who think they can "sell" you a car. When all was said and done, and with IIRC a 1500 rebate on the hood, my salesman quoted me $15,000 for the base car, plus tax, license, and crack cocaine fee for the sales manager. Haha, just checking to see if you're paying attention.

This is a tall car, compared to my LHS it's about a head higher. It has a 14 CF trunk with fold down seats. It's good space and convenient.
The cabin is nicely laid out with modern, zippy (like VW?) blue lighting everywhere including on the window controls. The seats are comfortable but unremarkable in their support. The back bench has a fold-down center armrest. I liked the tan upholstery, I prefer a lighter interior color as that makes it easier to find the numerous gel ballpoints I seem to misplace in my cars.
All Elantras get 4-wheel discs with ABS, AC, two power outlets, active front headrests, front side bags and curtains for all, power windows, door locks, remote, TPMS, heated mirrors, cabin air filter, gas shocks, and a tilt wheel. Uplevel gets tilt/telescope, ESP, brake assist, traction control, trip computer, and XM.
Both models get the ever-popular chrome-accented front grille.
Holy crap, that's a lot of toys for 15 grand.
The 120 ci/2 liter iron block aluminum head DOHC CVVT motorvator up front is linked to a 4-speed automatic which shifts smoothly and kicks down appropriately. IIRC it runs about 28 MPH/1000 RPM in top gear. HP is rated at 138 @ 6000, TQ 136 @ 4600. MPG rating is 24/33 and the fuel tank claims 14 gallons of Saudi's finest 87 proof.
BTW, if you'll peek at the Hyundaiii! powerplant, you'll see a pretty nifty CAI (cold air intake for the non-Neanderthals) built in. Clever.
The base GLS model has 195.65.15 tires on steelies, the upgrade SE (ESP-equipped) gets alloys wrapped with 205.55.16 dancing shoes. I could not discern significant handling differences in the two models, though the 55 series tires should be a mite stiffer.
Cruise at 70 MPH and 2500 RPM is easy and effortless, and agility around town is what you'd expect of a 2800 LB car with a WB of 104".
Acceleration is adequate but it will not harm your eyeballs, 0-60 has been quoted at about 10 seconds and that feels about right.
Looks are subjective, but IMO this is a good looking car. It stands out in a crowd and is not mundane looking.

The Suzuki test was occasioned by an ad in the paper showing fire sale prices, and my subsequent travel across the border to a western state that will remain unnamed except its flag shows a likeness of First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.
When I arrived at the Superman (well, that's what the Suzuki S logo looks like) Dealership, I was met by a saleslady who, small world (isn't that the title of a book about VW?), is the mother of my Hyundaiiii! salesman. Should I buy a lottery ticket, or vamoose?
She said I could walk out with a $14,750 Suzuki SX4 Sport with the convenience package.
There is a base model and two option packages: the convenience package (500 bucks) which adds automatic climate control, heated outside mirrors, and cruise; and the touring package (another grand) which adds ESP and trac, and a 9-speaker radio equipped with some mumbo-jumbo consisting of lots of letters and numbers.
The SX4 is based on the new-last-year SX4 Crossover which gets AWD and is shorter and rounder.
The first thing I notice about a Suzuki is the 8" Superman medallion front and center. The styling grows on you a bit, and the crystal taillights are a classy touch.
Here you can expect similar equipment to the Elantra. The SX4 gets stock AC with cabin filter, nice-looking 17" alloys shod with Dunlop SP Sport 7000 A/S 205.50.17 bump-soakers ($130 each @ Tire Rack, ouch!) on all three models, KYB struts, anti-roll bars front and rear, 4-wheel discs with ABS, electronic brake force distribution, TPMS, and an aluminum 2 liter/120 ci DOHC mill claiming 143 horsies @ 5,800 and 136 torkies @ 3,500. Weight is just shy of 2800 LBS. A 13 gallon petrol tank and ratings of 23/31 with the 4-speed automatic complete the engine room report.
I didn't feel a great deal of motivational difference between the Suzuki and the Hyundaiii!, though one impression I got was a bit more torque from the Elantra. MPH per 1000 RPM is about the same as the Korean, 28 MPH/1000 RPM in top gear.
This car is tighter-suspended and has a much spiffier snap to it, yanking the wheel to and fro around town. The struts have a more quality damping feel to them than the Hyundaiii!.
The view out is what got my attention, though. There are front quarter windows which some of us over 40 may recall from the vaunted and hallowed Good Old Days. The outside mirrors are huge and may have been stolen from a GMC pickup. The combination gives a new look to visual input, and I like what I see from this cabin.
Instruments and controls come in Pontiac red as opposed to the calming blue of the Elantra. Red, blue, this isn't an election map. If it lights up and works, it's OK with me.
The upholstery is a choice of black or black. Not my first choice, and after six months I would probably have enough pens rattling around in here to sell and make a payment. The rear seat does not have a flip-down center armrest, nor do the rear seats do the 60/40 fold-down split as they so conveniently do in the Hyundaiiii!. Braces, they say.
The front buckets are firm and supportive, and since I'm in the midst of some back pains recently I appreciate the superior seating dynamics. I remember a few years back, when I sold a Buick and bought an Accord, my back pain went away within 30 minutes of driving off the lot.
Controls fall easily to hand, as they say in the car magazines, and there are no mysteries in making stuff work.
The motor makes similar power to the H-car. Suzuki uses a timing chain which according to sales, does not need replacing as does the Elantra's 90,000 mile timing belt. Gee, just like a "primitive" OHV mill.

I found the Hyundaiii! Elantras to be fine cars and at 15 grand for the base model with loads of safety toys, a transportation bargain. Hyundaiii!'s warranty is 10 years/100,000 miles on the powertrain, 5/60 bumper to bumper, and 5 years/unlimited miles roadside assistance. Suzuki provides a 7/100,000 fully transferrable, 3/36 B-B, and 24 hour roadside assistance and convenience vehicle provision (whatever that means).

I'd pick the Suzuki, given its quicker driving dynamics, more supportive bucket, and enhanced-vision ****pit. Even with the downside of expensive 17" tires and no fold-down seats.

And that's all I've got to say about thayitt. :yup:
 

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Good review.

I've always liked the Elantra. It seems to have quite a bit of interior space ( i think t may even be classified as a mid-size) and the price is hard to beat. If I were in the market for a vehicle, it would be near/at the top of my list. The Suzuki, though, should really get a lot better mpg.
 

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Nice review sir and I must say, unnervingly precise. If this was total recall and completed in a single sitting, take 2 ritalin and look in the mirror to see a doctor. If symptoms persist, buy the Suzuki.
 

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Excellent review.

I was wondering if you noticed a dashboard buzz when accelerating hard with the Elantra.

Before I bought my Cobalt LT ($12,800 BTW ;)) I test drove two Elantras that exhibited that same trait. That, the buzzy engine and the fairly tepid acceleration turned me off. Otherwise I agree with your assessment. It is a fine car for the money and it is good looking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Nice review sir and I must say, unnervingly precise. If this was total recall and completed in a single sitting, take 2 ritalin and look in the mirror to see a doctor. If symptoms persist, buy the Suzuki.
Thankyuhhverruhhmuchh, as my cousin Elvis used to say before his untimely demise.
I think his youthful passing may have been related to too many ritty-linz or other extracurricular pharmaceuticals, so I stay away from anything stronger than Excedrin.

Isn't Total Recall an Aaahhhnold movie about Life on Mars?

Symptoms are persisting, so I will take two mirrors and Suzuki in the morning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Excellent review.

I was wondering if you noticed a dashboard buzz when accelerating hard with the Elantra.

Before I bought my Cobalt LT ($12,800 BTW ;)) I test drove two Elantras that exhibited that same trait. That, the buzzy engine and the fairly tepid acceleration turned me off. Otherwise I agree with your assessment. It is a fine car for the money and it is good looking.
Thank you, shark. How's your Cobalt equipped? What sort of MPG are you achieving?
I hope both the Hyundaiii! and the Suzuki would at least equal my Impala's highway mileage, which on a good day turned 33 MPGs.
That's a pretty decent price, I may have to go by the Shivvlay dealer. :yup:
 

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Thank you, shark. How's your Cobalt equipped? What sort of MPG are you achieving?
I hope both the Hyundaiii! and the Suzuki would at least equal my Impala's highway mileage, which on a good day turned 33 MPGs.
That's a pretty decent price, I may have to go by the Shivvlay dealer. :yup:
My Cobalt is the LT model with an automatic. The only options it has are the rear spoiler and body side moldings. It comes standard with power windows/door locks, ABS, side curtain airbags, traction control, mp3 cd stereo with iPod jack and XM. The 2.2L engine is much more powerful than any of the econo-cars I test drove including the LX and EX Civic.

I drive in mostly in stop and go Long Island-NYC traffic so my fuel economy has been around 28 MPG. When the road is clear I have been able to stabilize my DIC to read 40 MPG, but clear roads don't last very long here. :( If you can get 33 MPG with an Impala you could probably get 36 MPG or better with the Cobalt.

After three months and almost 6,000 miles I really like the Cobalt. It is a good little commuter. The interior is nothing exciting, but it is put together well. I like the hydraulic struts for the hood and trunk. Nice touch for such an inexpensive car. Handling is decent, although the skinny tires (195/60/15) could use an upgrade. Power is much better than I expected.
Here is an unscientific 0-60 I ran a couple of months ago:
 

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Excellent reviews, Lammy.

I can't help but like those peculiar little AWD wagon versions of the SX4. So cheap, so handy, especially around here in the winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good review.

I've always liked the Elantra. It seems to have quite a bit of interior space ( i think t may even be classified as a mid-size) and the price is hard to beat. If I were in the market for a vehicle, it would be near/at the top of my list. The Suzuki, though, should really get a lot better mpg.
Thanks, and I too like the Elan' a lot. It is a mid-size now, and as I said for 15 bills out the door it's extremely competitive.

I don't know why Suzuki can't do better than 31 rated, it usually means the corporate technology is not quite up to snuff. I would hope real world MPGs would be closer to 34-35. CR got 36 highway in an Elantra they tested within the last year.

Funny thing, I wasn't even trying for good MPG in the best tanks I got in my 04 3.4 Impala. I was running in eastern Tennessee in the middle of summer at 80-90+. They drive like Texans on that stretch of road, and at 80 you get passed like you're driving a street sweeper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Worst thing about the SX4 sedan is the lack of a 60/40 fold down rear seat.
That does hurt. The visibility and driving dynamics are great, though.

Just ran into a new 07 Maxx LT which I might bid on. More utility, not near the fun to drive.
 

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The Sx4 may be the highest quality and lowest priced asian compact car for sale in america, just my opinion. Suzuki is the #1 in market share in japan. I would have bought a sx4 sport over my mazda3. It has the same key fob issue as the mazda3 no trunk release button but a lot cheaper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Excellent review.

I was wondering if you noticed a dashboard buzz when accelerating hard with the Elantra.

Before I bought my Cobalt LT ($12,800 BTW ;)) I test drove two Elantras that exhibited that same trait. That, the buzzy engine and the fairly tepid acceleration turned me off. Otherwise I agree with your assessment. It is a fine car for the money and it is good looking.
I checked an Elantra SE out from the dealership yesterday to bring home to let my wife have a gander. (She hates going to car dealers.) No dashboard buzz on WFO, and no buzzing at 70 or 70+.
My new Car and Driver came today and they had a small car test. I looked up their December 2006 small car test and they mentioned a serious Hyundai buzzing at 70.
I guess Hyundai read it and fixed it, the car was quiet and composed at all speeds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Worst thing about the SX4 sedan is the lack of a 60/40 fold down rear seat.
New (May 08) Car and Driver mentioned that in their small car test.

They also panned the front quarter windows/triangulated front pillar (one of my favorite features, along with the giant RVmirrors), suggesting only nerds :think: like good visibility I suppose.

BTW, the SX4 was big-car quiet (67 dB) at 70 MPH. That's a surprise.

Bedard's again been suffering from Honda exhaust snorting withdrawl syndrome. Terrible thing to see. :spit:
 

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Suzuki I think didn't add the 60/40 split due to configurations of the platform and suspension there was no room or just due to cost.....

On another note:
Now, to compete for buyers, even low-end cars come loaded at the base price. Sometimes the extras include pretty fancy stuff: Suzuki told USA TODAY Thursday that its entry-level crossover, the 2009 SX4, will be the first vehicle under $16,000 to have a navigation system as standard equipment. It arrives in August.
- USA Today

Here's the link:

http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2008-04-17-options-standard-loaded_N.htm

Cheers!
 

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AWD is a pretty big advantage for a Suzuki compact as well. That said after owning an Elantra GT for five years, I would be hard-pressed to pass up a Hyundai if I went looking for a small car again.

I miss seeing the 25.6 MPG combined on my DIC. The purple and red lights on the speedometer looked good too.

My current car is much faster and more comfortable, but I see 21.5 MPG on the DIC these days.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Suzuki I think didn't add the 60/40 split due to configurations of the platform and suspension there was no room or just due to cost.....

On another note:
- USA Today

Here's the link:

http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2008-04-17-options-standard-loaded_N.htm

Cheers!
No fold-down is definitely a minus for such a small car.

The NYT article reminds me of the KIA (aka Hyundai) lot. As I remarked elsewhere, I think 70% of the Spectras were sticks. A lot were LX models, which have roll-down windows as standard.
Don't see those often, I suggested they list them as an extra-cost "retro" option, charge an extra hunnert bucks or so for them.
It would work. :yup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
AWD is a pretty big advantage for a Suzuki compact as well. That said after owning an Elantra GT for five years, I would be hard-pressed to pass up a Hyundai if I went looking for a small car again.

I miss seeing the 25.6 MPG combined on my DIC. The purple and red lights on the speedometer looked good too.

My current car is much faster and more comfortable, but I see 21.5 MPG on the DIC these days.
You'll be glad to know that the Elantra and cousin Spectra are still excellent cars. What year was your GT?

With my new Spectra, I got over 36 on my first tank. The legislature slipped some ethanol into my last fill-up, and the second one gathered only 31. So it's over the border to Washington for gas from now on...

The Spectra (and Elantra) is extremely comfortable. And fast, though not particularly quick. Quick enough for me, I don't live where I need a 7 second 0-60 to merge with thundering hordes of maniacs.
It's easy to slip up on 80, and today I ran it up to three digits and there's little feeling of speed even at that pace.

I love this size car, 180" keeps them agile and fun sized.
 

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My Elantra GT was a 2001.5. I bought it just as they were introducing the 5-door hatchbacks. It was a great vehicle, but I was ready for a little more luxury in my life and glad I gave Buick a shot. I looked hard at the Azera before going with Buick.
 
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