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I am currently the owner of a 2001 Chevrolet Impala LS, loaded, looking to trade down to a 2009 Elantra or an '08 if I can find one that meets my specs. Are there any differences between the '08 and '09? Seems I can't get the color I want in an '09 model.

I was excited about the Elantra until I ran across the link below today:

Looks like Hyundai has a problem honoring warranty, and the underpinnings of older Elantras (and new ones??) are not up to the task of lasting more than a few years.

I might as well hang onto the Impala...

Can anyone help alleviate my concerns over the Elantra? I'm a bit worried about the timing belt, which evidently needs replacement every 60,000 miles. How much does that cost? What about the rest of the car?


Let me start by saying that you came to the right place - I can't answer all of your questions, but I can try to answer some.

First, with regards to warranty issues. Hyundai's warranty is one of the best in the business. As far as honouring warranties go, they're no different than any other manufacturer. If there's ever a problem, it's because of a specific dealer and has nothing to do with the brand in particular.

As far as longevity, there are least a couple of users driving around J2's, which are Elantra's from before '99 (If I remember correctly). These cars have shown that so far they really do stand the test of time. Many of our members have had their cars from the beginning, others, like me, have bought them second hand. My car has almost 70k miles on it, others here have well over 100+k miles with no signs of the cars giving out.

Just to show how much I liked my Elantra. I went on such a sales pitch that my mother sold her Acura EL to buy an '07 Elantra and loves it. The cars are GREAT value for your money, and are EXCELLENT if you intend to use them as an economy car. That said, there are SOME performance gains to be had, mostly in the suspension department - but there are some that bought the car unknowing that the engine wasn't as tunable as say, a Honda would be, and were very disappointed. From the sounds of things, this is NOT you, but I'm basing that off of one post.

Oh, and one last thing. With regards to the timing belt - most cars will have a timing belt that needs to be replaced. Some have timing chains, but you'll find MANY with belts that require changing between 60-80k miles. The change will vary in price depending on where you do it and I couldn't give you a good figure here in USD, hopefully someone else can chime in with that.

Anyway, that about sums up my discussion. Hope some of this has been useful.
Excellent post. Thank you for your thoughts. No, I'm not sure I'm really wanting to do many mods to the Elantra... another second off the 0-60 would be nice, but I'm not sure how much of a beating the engine can take (sounds like they're prone to burn oil after awhile). Daily commuting will be the car's purpose, but there will be some long interstate drives as well. The Sonata would be a good bet, but I don't want to spend the money and believe the Elantra will generally serve me well for most travel requirements.

Taking my first test drive on Saturday.

How is fit/finish? Are the window/lock/radio/cruise controls (steering wheel mounted) illuminated, and how easy are the bulbs to replace? The bulbs in the Impala's switches are soldered in place and the entire switch assembly must be replaced if you want light bulbs to work again after they burn out. Keeping the car "up" is an expensive proposition, and I hope the Elantra will be designed with easier and less expensive serviceability in mind.

Still would also appreciate any info on the approximate timing belt service cost I can expect, in $USD.

Thank you,

First welcome Mike happy-wavehello6.gif

As far as cost for replacing a timing belt, it seems prices range from $250-$400 depending on where you live, the shop, etc. I've never had to replace one so I don't know personally, but those are the price ranges I've seen. As far as concerns for Hyundai honoring their warranty, just make sure you keep records and do the recommended maintenance. As long as the preventative maintenance intervals are followed your golden. (as an FYI, that doesn't mean you have to do what your dealer "recommends.") It seems a lot of dealers offer a ton of unecessary services for exorbitant prices to get those uninformed consumers.

It seems the HD (2007+ Elantras) gets great gas mileage, so for commuting and long interstate drives, you should be pleasantly surprised. I believe the steering wheel mounted controls are illuminated (they are in my Sonata at least). I've never had to change a bulb, so I can't speak to the ease, but I'm sure someone can chime in here. I also don't believe there were any major changes that you would notice between the '08 and '09 Elantras.

My experience with the fit and finish on my Hyundai's has all been very well. In fact the only rattle I can recall is the passenger side seat belt when the windows are down. Other than that no rattles, body panels all line up well, interior is nice, etc. Between my wife and I, we've owned a 99 Elantra, 01 Santa Fe, 04 Elantra GT, 06 Santa Fe (wife's current car) and 06 Sonata (my current car). We love both our cars and have never had any issues with any of our cars.
As far as burning oil, the only time my 99 ever burned oil was when I switched it to synthetic at 97k miles, then ran it 8000 miles that oil change. Stupid me. Even then it was only down a quart.

My 99 was a nice little car. Great mileage, interior fit and finish was nice, and it got me from point A to B safely and not dramatically. The 08 or 09 you're looking at is eons ahead of my 99, which was a pretty nice little car back then.
My current vehicle is a 2007 HD Elantra (HD is the chassis code; we refer to the chassis codes often here). As far as fit/finish, the paint is much improved from earlier models. Body panel alignment is real good and is fairly sturdy. However, on the HD, the suspension is something that needs improving. The suspension is extremely soft (however, I've heard that the SE suspension in 09 will be improved) and is not very stable in corners and where you want a stable suspension. I have found the rear end is designed with parts that make it impossible to adjust the alignment of the wheels except for toe settings and the camber angle does make the car unstable at times especially on the highway. What I did to my car was modify an existing control arm for a Chrysler (which is the same length you need for the HD) that is adjustable and install that on my car so I can set the wheel angles to a setting that makes the car more stable.

I have to drive with an auto trans (due to hand controls) and find the transmission to handle a lot of power/use, which a aux cooler addition to the existing cooler in the radiator makes the tranny do better in that kind of use. Engine is the same as the older XD version except for a revised head, intake manifold and exhaust manifold. ECU tends to be finicky though, which is the standard now.
I too have an 2007 Elantra with the Automatic Trans. I have heard that the 2009 SE model will have an improved suspension, go with that. Yes all of the buttons are lighted.

I have noticed rattles of the front passenger head rest and door panel, when no one is sitting in the seat. Also, there is a storage compartment above the radio, the cover makes a sound when driving over bumps roads. A.K.A. New York/New Jersey local roads. These sounds are there, but only on roads that are not flat. These issues may been seen with other cars in this segment, but I wouldn't know.

In regards to the warranty issue above, it is possible the driver didn't look at the temp gage and kept driving till the car died.

Good luck on the road test.
Well, where do we start? My 02 Elantra (manufactuered 11/01) has 99900 miles. Bought it new. Has been a fantastic car, abused to within an inch of it's life, always had the proper maintenance and runs and drives great. My wifes friend has an 01 with 88k that I maintain, has been a good, reliable car. Much more reliable than the Tercel she had before it. The wife and I have been so impressed with the car, that in October of last year we purchased a 2000 Accent with 131k miles on it from the original owner. Replaced the brakes, wheel bearings and changed the trans fluid, which had never been done. THe trans died at 135k miles, spent $200 for a replacement engine/trans, installed it and have driven it hard for the last 12 months. The car now has 158k miles and we're not planning on replacing it in our "fleet" for another 2 years, or 50-60k miles. The Elantra is back to daily driver (from former cone racer status) and we're expecting 200k miles from it.
Well, I'll be the counterbalance point of view here tongue.gif

Let me start by saying that I do not believe that my car was typical of Hyundai's build quality; however:

My '04 Elantra has shown signs of problems very early on. The clutch master cylinder and the passenger air bag were replaced under warranty in the first 6 months. It took 3 attempts for a dealer to properly install (i.e. not leaking coolant) a block heater. I had the common rotor pulsing problem and brakes were completely redone by me by the end of the second year ($250 in parts vs a $1200 dealer job). By that time, the driver's seat was also loose (rocking). I kept repairing small things such as the hatch handle mechanism completely rusting out, and a broken wheel stud. By the third year, electrical gremlins started to appear (no start, probably the clutch interlock switch acting out, and HVAC controls having a mind of their own). The icing on the cake was when I realized that my clutch started to slip and would need replacing (I know some people think that this is normal, but I don't; I've driven a Mitsubishi turbo for 10 years/230K km and a Jeep for 11 years/220K km, both on the original clutch). I bit the bullet and dumped the car before my 3 year ownership anniversary and I haven't looked back.

I must say that I never had any issue with a dealer doing warranty work on the car, my worries had to do with the build quality of MY car.

However, that experience was enough to prevent us from buying an '07 HD for my wife when we were car shopping at the time.

My point is that while most Hyundais are probably fine, but as with any car company, there are a few bad apples in the lot. Too bad mine was.

QUOTE (mlewis73 @ Dec 3 2008, 09:51 PM) *
I am currently the owner of a 2001 Chevrolet Impala LS, loaded, looking to trade down to a 2009 Elantra.

First off, welcome to ElantraClub Mike. thumbsup.gif Secondly, I don't think you'd be trading down at all. tongue.gif Look around this community... the vast majority of Elantra owners have nothing but praise for the car especially at the price point. I mean, I liked it so much I started EC.

Here's another idea.... check out this review of the '08 Elantra from Consumer Guide:

Then look at this link from the same site reviewing your model:

You'll see the Elantra was rated higher in it's class than your car was in it's class. biggrin.gif So sure, you're trading down in size but not in quality.

This link might make ya smile:

So sure, no car is perfect and some of our members have had issues from time to time with the car, but overall it's very reliable.
Here's my 2 cents worth- 115,000 hard driven miles: the only work (outside of routine maintenace items) was replacement of both rear wheel bearings at 70K and 90K miles. The car is still rattle free and gets 34mpg at 65-70mph. I use it like a truck(it's a hatchback) and will use it to pull a boat next summer.
The interior still looks like new.
The paint still looks like new.

I am redoing all the suspension this winter and fully expect to get at least another trouble free 100,000 miles out of it.

Good build quality - good warranty.

Go for it!
Hey Mike! Welcome to the Club!

Now, I don't have mt Elantra anymore but will let you in on what I thought of it. First off I had a 2004 Elantra GT comfort (fully loaded).

I had issues with my first dealer and then I changed. The second one was fantastic! I even went to a third dealer because I was closer that day and they were fabulous also!

The car ran great! I beat the crap out of it and it lasted until I sold it! After 3 years and 66K KM's, the clutch was starting to slip in cold weather and I had an idle issue (MAF sensor issue I think) and probably caused by my K&N filter. Other than that, it was a fantastic car! I miss it a lot!

The wife has an Accent and that little beast is rockin! We only had the passenger air bag changed under warranty, that's it.

Hey, stuff will happen. I get stories from (from friends) about all car manufacturers and it's not always better there also.

So anyways, if you do opt for a Hyundai product, I'm sure you will be satisfied!

Have fun, try different models (maybe the Sonata?) and good luck with the new purchase!
My wife's '06 now has 81,000 miles on it. We just replaced the brakes (front) for the first time and the clutch is original. We have only had two problems, one was with a bad throttle cable assembly that was replaced under warranty. The second was with the drivers door weather stripping which ripped and was replaced at 17,000 miles and has not ripped again. Everything else done to the car has been routine maintainance and the engine runs like new and does not burn or leak oil anywhere.
As far as Hyundai, in general, they do make good vehicles as long as you use proper parts, fluids in maintaining the vehicle. At my shop, I have had a lot of hyundai's that people have used the wrong parts and those parts and fluids can cause trouble, particularly many aftermarket parts like sparkplug wires, o2 sensors, timing belts, oil filters and some transmission oils.
I know a handful of people here who think Hyundai's weak link is their dealer service, especially the repair shops. I've had a couple of issues myself but they were resolved well in the end. They've gotten better. There are horror stories about dealer service just as I think any brand has some bad stories on the internet nowadays. The good news is the Elantra is a very reliable car, so you won't see the dealership much, and if you don't like one dealership you can try another. It is Consumer Reports best small car, as Mitch said.
My car's ('03) had about one warranty-repair per year, it was always done pretty quick and free and usually correctly. Except when I accidentally drained the battery myself, the car's never failed to start and go. It's got 91,000miles and six years and I can't really name anything that's currently wrong with it...mmm... um... nope, can't think of anything... the hood paint got stained by tree sap. sad.gif
Thanks, all, for your replies. I will read the info at the links suggested elsewhere in this message chain.

Looking forward to test driving on Saturday. The general manager of the dealership has offered to discuss my concerns with me, and to show me some additional information about Hyundai vehicles in general. Should be a fun time.

Thanks again,
Mike, glad to know we've been of some help - make sure to keep us posted as you make your decision - hope to see you around the board!
As a followup... I test drove one today. I'll post a new message regarding my impressions.

Thank you,

I see his last post is December 8.
Yooo, hooo, where are youuu??

I pretty much agree with most of what is written above. There are always trouble prone cars in any production run, and there are always a few bad dealers or service people, that is just the odds.

I owned a 2004 Impala 3.4, sticker $24,000 and which I bought in December 2004 at huge discounts/rebates (paid about 68% of stickah). Bought the KIA Spectra, a mechanical twin of the current Elantra, and which utilizes the last-generation Elantra chassis (XD2, right?), in early 2008 at about 75% of sticker.

I agree with elantragt, this is not a "trade down" by any stretch. My Spectra and the Elantras feel much more solid than my Impala did. The door thunk, trunk close, the feel of the controls, the better controlled suspension, the tight feeling 4-w-disc brakes, all IMO are big improvements over the Chev. Any my 33.3' turning circle is mighty handy.

I replaced the Impala struts in August 2005 at 14,700 miles with KYB GR-2 because the stock setup was so soft and squishy I couldn't stand it any longer, and paid over $600 for the change. That improved things, but the Impala was still not as well controlled as stock Spectras or Elantras.

As far as highway cruising, IMO my Spectra is equal or superior to the Impala at 70-90. It is solid and stable at speed, and it doesn't float as my Impala did over long waves on the highway,
Anti-roll control is also better. I like the feel of the controls better, the one thing I miss is the dual zone, which IMO should be standard on every car any smart maker builds.

As for the timing belt, that is the penalty you pay for many OHC mills. If I keep the car that long, I will probably change mine at about 50,000. The chief other-brand competitor when I was shopping, the Suzuki SX4 sedan, has a cam chain. But it lacked the VVT, which meant noticeably less torque down low.
Everything is a trade-off in one way or another.

FWIW, Car and Driver was surprisingly positive about both the sedan and hatch versions of the Spectra.
From the July 2004 issue: "You could also argue that the Spectra knocked off the Audi's (A4) quality standards; the new car's panel gaps are minute. Its doors close with a comforting thud, and its interior fit and finish is premium. This is not your cousin's friend's Kia....On the highway, the cabin is a place of Lexus-like serenity. The ride is smooth yet never feels like the dampers have breen swapped for wet sponges. The loosey-goosey steering sense is gone, replaced with an effort and feel that, although perhaps too light, clearly replays the front tires' attitude."

This is the first car I've bought in a long time that lacks ABS. The stock four-wheel-discs feel so dialed-in that I felt comfortable without. Of course, ultimately ABS is better in most conditions and given another chance, I'd probably buy the SX with ABS.

Anyway, hope your horse is OK and you return soon.
According to my '09 Elantra book which I picked up last Saturday at the local dealer, the GLS is available in white with the beige interior. No ESP, but those colors are available.
Trade down? says who? lol

Just buy my 02 GT turbo! lol

good luck

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