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2010 Hyundai Elantra SE

Hyundai Motors aimed the company “star-ward” with a goal to completely revamp its image from cheap Korean make to universally respected import. Now, there’s no denying that the little Korean carmaker that could has arrived as one of the top automakers.

2010 Hyundai Elantra

“Hyundai Group has the fourth largest sales volume on the planet, with only Volkswagen Group, Toyota and GM ahead of it,” says Fred Beans Hyundai sales consultant Tim Bergey. “We continue to receive Consumer Reports recommendations for most of our models, which rates both the Elantra SE and the Genesis sedan as tops in their class.

“Genesis was 2009 North American Car of the Year, and now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has named Hyundai as the top major automaker in corporate average fuel economy, besting Toyota, Honda and others. Hyundai continues to hold a price and warranty advantage over the competition, not to mention a more secure purchase experience with Hyundai Assurance (see http://www.hyundaiusa.com/financial-tools/hyundai-assurance.aspx). Is it any wonder that Hyundai sales continue to increase in a down market?”

For illustration, Bergey likes to point to the highly regarded Elantra SE for 2010.

“There’s a lot to like about the SE. This sedan has an amazing list of standard features for a car with an MSRP of under $20,000,” he says. “In addition to standard safety features that many mid-sized cars don’t have, the SE boasts a number of standard amenities.”

Safety first. Helping to avoid an accident are the electronic stability control, traction control, ABS and 4-wheel disc brakes, 4-wheel independent suspension and tire pressure monitoring system. If you do get into a collision, keeping you safe are the six airbags and active front head restraints, 3-point seat belts and adjustable headrests for all five seating positions, and crumple zones with reinforced steel body structure.

Treasured standard amenities include 6-speaker 172-watt premium AM/FM/XM/MP3/CD stereo with USB and aux inputs, remote keyless entry alarm system with remote trunk release, trip computer, power heated outside mirrors (with power windows and locks, of course), tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, radio controls on the steering wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels, sport-tuned suspension, front headrests that adjust up/down and fore/aft, fog lights, lighted vanity mirrors, and much more.

“And catch this tidbit: While the Elantra SE is classed as a compact, the EPA actually rates it as a mid-size car because of its class-leading passenger volume.”

In 2008 and 2009, Consumer Reports named the Elantra SE as Top Pick in the small sedan category (beating Honda Civic and other well-respected models). “But Hyundai didn’t sit still, boosting its fuel economy on the new 2010 to 26/34 and adding other improvements.”

A measure of how well Elantra is regarded by its owners is the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Initial Quality Study (IQS), which ranked Elantra number one in the compact car segment.

“And it continues to be reliable long after you drive it off the lot,” says Bergey. Consumer Reports gave Elantra its “excellent” reliability rating, calling it “one of the most reliable in its class.”