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Hyundai Elantra, Sedan
#977 of 5565 To rab613 re 2001 Elantra Problems
Apr 29, 2001 (1:56 pm)
Is the 2001 Elantra having "too many" problems? That's a tough question to answer. Some vehicles have proven over time to have fewer problems than others. A good way to find out about the most reliable cars over time is to check out the aforementioned Consumer Reports April '01 issue, which has reliability rankings on practically every car going back to 1993. Unfortunately, the sample size from CR readers was not large enough for CR to rate the 1993-98 Elantra in that issue. (Probably because until this year, CR has said negative things about Hyundais, steering CR readers away from them.)
Another consideration is that brand-new designs, like the '01 Elantra and '01 Civic, tend to have more problems in their first year than usual. To get a sense for these problems, you can check out the forums like this one, the Honda Civic forum, etc., where posters are not bashful about talking about even the smallest glitches in their brand-new babies (e.g., plastic screw-hole plugs that fall off, sticky fuel-filler doors, and--my personal favorite--truck lids that can be depressed a millimeter after they are closed). They also report more serious problems. But the question is, are the serious problems common or only present in the occasional "lemon"? Personally I've had no serious problems with my Elantra over its first six months and 3200 miles and am very happy with it. The car mags and CR have given the Elantra generally positive, even glowing reviews. So it's clear the serious problems noted by some posters do not occur on every Elantra.
If you really want the most reliable small car, your best bet is to buy a car that has a proven track record. Examples are the '96-'00 Civic (avoid the '01 since it is a brand-new model), the Sentra (new design in '00, so the bugs should be shaken out by now), the Corolla and its twin the Prizm (last redesign in '98), the Protege (last major redesign in '99), the Impreza (but not the brand-new '02 models), and the Saturn SL (not a great car, but a time-tested design). Steer clear of cars with a poorer-than average reliability record, like the Golf/Jetta, New Beetle, Focus, Cavalier/Sunfire, Neon, and the Elantra. You will have taken several fine cars off your list--including the VWs, Focus, and Elantra--but have a much better chance of getting a reliable car, which seems to be your major buying criterion.
You are definitely taking a risk buying a '01 Elantra, given it's a new design and given Hyundai's reliability history. I decided that the car was worth the risk, especially with the great warranty to back it up. And all evidence points to Hyundai's reliability record improving in the past few years. Still, it's not for everyone. If you really want an Elantra, you'd be better off waiting for the '02 model. Then most bugs should be taken care of and we'll know more about its reliability. You'll also be able to choose from the 4dr or the new 5dr GT, due out in limited numbers in a few weeks. Good luck on your car hunt!
#978 of 5565 6,000 miles and no problems
Apr 29, 2001 (8:14 pm)
Purchsaed my Elantra in December and it now reads 6,000 miles on it. Still has that new car smell and no problems. Gets 24 MPG in the city. Not bad for the HP this engine has. It is quiet and rides great for that size of car.
#979 of 5565 3500 Miles and no problems
Apr 29, 2001 (10:39 pm)
Last weekend we took our new Elantra from San Diego to Salt Lake City and back, and were very pleased with the car. I probably averaged about 95 mph on those long streches of I-15, and the car felt solid. Not a lot of wind noise. We are very satisfied with the car.
The only problem now is trying to get all those bug marks off the front of the car! But that's why I also lurk over on the Maintenence and Repair forum here in the Townhall.
Apr 30, 2001 (12:16 am)
I just test drove an Elantra and am fairly certain I will buy one. I was really aware of the "funky smell" as noted in the Edmunds.com review. It seemed more pronounced when I was braking at intersections and smelled somewhat like hot rubber. Any current owner experience this? Does the smell go away?
#981 of 5565 Funky Smell
Apr 30, 2001 (9:37 am)
The smell goes away. It is a coating that is under the car to protect it from corrosion on its trip over from Korea. The smell fades after the first couple hundred miles, then it is standard new car smell. Oh yea, 2000 miles on my new Elantra and no complaints. I'm only getting about 30 MPG on the highway though...
#982 of 5565 Buying the second year model
Apr 30, 2001 (7:48 pm)
Does not necessarily mean bugs will be worked out.
Look how long Chrysler has taken to fix their 4 speed transmissions which first came out in 1990! How about alternators that don't last on GM products, year after year of new cars or Ford with Heater cores that don't last or ...... But I guess those aren't bugs, just bad designs that don't last long enough. Is there a difference?
I wouldn't worry about this with Civic, Impreza or Elantra. I have more confidence that they got it right the first time.
#983 of 5565 Chrysler is not Honda
Apr 30, 2001 (9:23 pm)
I agree, longevity alone is no guarantee of reliability--although Chrysler did eventually fix their 4-speed automatics, it just took them way too long. That's why you need to look at the reliability records, such as you will find in Consumer Reports. For the more reliable makes, like Honda, Toyota, Nissan, and Subaru, almost any model is a safer bet than most other cars. But even the most reliable makes suffer first-year pains--check out the Honda Civic forum to see what I mean. Until recently, North Americans did not suffer the bugs of first-year Japanese models because the Japanese automakers introduced new models in Japan at least a year before shipping them overseas. Now new models are often introduced almost simultaneously in Japan and the U.S.
So you are welcome to have all the confidence in the world that Honda, Subaru, and Hyundai "got it right the first time" with their new models, but for buyers who are extremely cautious about reliability, it's a risker proposition than buying a proven model. Honda and Subaru et. al. have at least proven over the years that they have an excellent reliability track record. We cannot say the same yet for Hyundai, although indicators are looking up--enough at least for me to buy one of the first '01 Elantras shipped to the U.S. Besides, a little risk-taking makes life more interesting, to go along with the 140 horses.
#984 of 5565 Just so you know....
Apr 30, 2001 (10:27 pm)
Hyundai did introduce the "2001" Elantra in Korea in Spring 2000. I remember because there were some pictures of one taken on the street, posted on some random Korean website in late April or early May. This may have given Hyundai the chance to watch out for bugs, minor design flaws, etc. Still, I would think they'd be extremely cautious when introducing their cars into the U.S. market these days.
By the way, I'm still loving my 2001 Elantra. I've had it for about a month now and have averaged about 28-29 mpg on 80% suburban driving.
#985 of 5565 My Elantra has gone to hail
May 02, 2001 (6:45 pm)
After 25 years of car ownership, my luck ran out yesterday and I watched a hailstorm pummel my '01 Elantra while it was sitting in a parking lot (no cover in sight). Not too bad--the hood and roof collected 5-6 small dents. I drove it to my local Abra body shop today, which I have used for other work (my Grand Caravan, which attracts damage like a dog attracts fleas). The manager told me that it was definitely a PDR job (paintless dent removal). I have read about the problems with PDR on other forums (like the defunct "Hail Damage Repair"). Most problems seemed to be due to the use of extreme cold to pop out the dents. Abra uses "specially designed tools" to tap out the dents from the inside, and they guarantee their work for the lifetime of the car. Does anyone have any experience with this type of repair, from Abra or elsewhere? If it works as advertised, I'd rather not mess with the factory finish.
#986 of 5565 our happy elantra
May 02, 2001 (7:38 pm)
we bought a new 00 elantra 11 months ago, put almost 41,632 miles (mostly freeway) on it, get excellent mpg almost 33 and it has not let us down, i mean its not a lexus but its affordable and has made us happy so far.plus we drive alot, which makes us feel good that in 41000 its done us right, we bought the auto tranny which is barely adequate as we acclerate hard, but i tend to drive my elantra around 80-86 mph on the freeway and it does us fine, only some slight wind noise.we have accent' too but its not as good, well its a 96 with 88552 miles, we had to put a new tranny in it and struts..inform me on ur cars when you get time,thanks