* Competes with: Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus
* Looks like: An aggressive compact sedan
* Drivetrain: 148-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine; six-speed manual or automatic transmission
* Hits dealerships: 2011
Hyundai busted sales records with its revamped Sonata midsize sedan earlier this year, and it looks like it will do the same when the new Elantra goes on sale next year.
The just-announced Elantra will use the same formula as the Sonata, offering a high level of refinement, value and performance for a good price. However, this model has a not-so-secret weapon: 40 mpg standard.
While the Chevy Cruze and smaller Ford Fiesta promise 40 mpg highway or better, they do so only in special trims or with certain transmissions. The new Elantra gets an EPA-estimated 29/40 mpg city/highway and 33 mpg combined. That's the exact same mileage as the smaller Fiesta SFE.
Pricing hasn't been announced, but it looks like the base GLS model will come without air conditioning and a few other conveniences to deliver a low price. It still comes with power windows, a six-speaker stereo system and USB port.
The GLS Popular Equipment Package can be added. It includes air conditioning, cruise control, telescopic steering wheel and 16-inch steel wheels.
The Limited trim will come loaded with leather seating, automatic transmission, black chrome grille, fog lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, sunroof, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, heated front and rear seats, and Bluetooth connectivity.
A navigation system with 7-inch screen is available as an option on either trim level.
By David Thomas