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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Strap in... This is a long one.

Hello, elantrasport.com! Glad to be here, and man, I am test-drove out! I considered posting this in the introductions section, but I think this post is more relevant here, and it would be kinda silly to make an introduction post without actually owning the car. It's been a long road but I finally managed to find something to replace my '13 Audi A4. What!?! You might be asking yourself. Yes, I decided to go the cheap route, as I couldn't stand handing over a large chunk of money every month for a car that nowhere near justifies twice the price of an ES. Also, now that's it's past its warranty, I'm sure maintenance is going to kill me. So, I started test driving cars, slowly but surely, and my preconceptions across the board were pretty much shattered. I figured I'd post my findings for prospective buyers, and maybe to start up some discussion. So, without further ado, here's a list of cars I test drove in order!

1. Chevy Cruze Hatchback... lol, no. Got me in with their low lease payments ($149/mo 0 down), got me out with the most boring-as-**** hatchback I've ever driven
2. VW Golf... Nice driving manners, reminded me of my A4 in a lot of ways, but sparsely equipped for the money (good luck finding a well-optioned manual, too), terrible lease residuals and dealers didn't want to budge much on price.
3. Honda Civic 1.5L Coupe. Great car, better equipped than expected... Probably would have bought one, but manuals were few and far between, and I didn't want to drive to PA to test one. Steering was "springy" and pretty satisfying, plenty of torque, but the CVT was a no-go. Oh, and I wasn't a fan of the seats... basically park benches.
3. Hyundai Elantra Sport... Surprised the **** out of me. Figured it would be just a trim package with the VT engine in it, it handled surprisingly well, torque for days, Italian-like exhaust, manual shifter/clutch was my favorite of all I tested (could use stiffer shifter bushings, though) and really well equipped. Also, the incentives were crazy... got like $5k off an ES with premium package. Also, fuel economy is miles better than what it's rated for (regular gas, too!!!) Ended up using it as a benchmark. Cons: Really loud on the highway (maybe I'm just used to my A4?), interior could keep the entire plastic injection molding industry alive (although the fantastic seats make up for this), especially when compared to the Mazda 3.
4. Kia Forte5 SX. Similar engine as the ES, but more expensive with a worse suspension setup and disappointing interior. Pass.
5. Mazda 3... Surprised again, this time in a disappointing way. For all the hype this car gets, it just couldn't stand up to it. The ES gets criticized for its steering (seems great to me) but the 3 wasn't any better. Clunky shifter and oddly heavy clutch (least linear clutch I've ever used). Interior could rival my A4s, though. Incredible quality and design (although the infotainment system wasn't my favorite).

Why I didn't test drive the...

1. GTI. Couldn't afford it. Well, I can, but I didn't want to. Dealer wanted to deal even less on them.
2. Focus ST. Owned one. Seats are terrible for long drives, really tiny inside (I'm 6'7, though), but it's an insanely fun car to drive. Been there, done that. Would be torture not being able to mod, due to me leasing this time around.
3. Fiesta ST. Owned a regular Fiesta. The base one is a sh** sandwich. Again, I'm sure it's an amazing car to drive, but this is a DD, so sadly performance isn't the only priority.
4. Toyota 86. Slow, small, can't fit, not a Toyota fan.
5. WRX. Actually, I did... A long time ago. Was plenty fast, but it just wasn't for me. Also, again, probably too much money to lease.

The ES is an insanely underrated car. I just finished up with a 24 hour test drive and I found very few niggles. The only ones off the top of my head is the lack of a CD player (becoming the norm), the warm temperature of the HIDs and the lack of sensors in the backs of the door handles for the proximity key. I never thought I'd own a Hyundai (well... I quite admire the Genesis Coupe, but can you even buy those anymore?), but this car is really special. I can't wait to own it on Monday!
 

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You'd be hard-pressed to find a better bang-for-the-buck, especially when the warranty is factored in. It has the best smiles-per-dollar factor of anything in the market. Congrats...
 

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Congrats on the new ride! It's not that surprising, the ES is a little Audi knock-off without the polish.

Like, you, I drove a bunch of cars. Wanted out of a 14.5 Camry V6, needed to get back into a manual. Was ready to get a penalty box just to get back into a manual. Drove the base model Mazda3, Corolla Im, Jetta 1.4t, etc. I, too, never thought I'd own a Hyundai, let alone have it be one of my favorite cars I've ever had, out of 14 cars!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Congrats on the new ride! It's not that surprising, the ES is a little Audi knock-off without the polish.
Thanks! If you don't touch any of the harder interior trim pieces, the ES definitely shares some traits with the A4. It has about the same amount of power, the interior is laid out much like the A4 and looks very handsome, and I could easily see an Audi badge on the front grille. Also, the Infinity stereo... While it isn't as good as the Bang & Olufsen stereo in my A4, it isn't far behind... with a lot more bass, too.
 

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Thanks! If you don't touch any of the harder interior trim pieces, the ES definitely shares some traits with the A4. It has about the same amount of power, the interior is laid out much like the A4 and looks very handsome, and I could easily see an Audi badge on the front grille. Also, the Infinity stereo... While it isn't as good as the Bang & Olufsen stereo in my A4, it isn't far behind... with a lot more bass, too.
Luckily no one sits there poking the trim pieces going "look how soft this is... Poke poke". This car is killer. I'm glad the ex-Audi TT designer worked on the ES design as much as they did. My jaw dropped when I saw the price point for these cars. And your reviews of all the other cars are pretty on point. Been curious about the civic 1.5 turbo but I'm sure I'm not missing much.
 

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Congrats and nice first post! Hyundai made an amazing car for the money so you made the right choice.

We'll have shifter bushings available for you next week :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I can already tell that leasing this car over buying was a very poor decision, hahaha. Oh well, you can always demod on lease return day, right? ;)

Also, the link to your website in your signature is broken.
 

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I think the interior is great.

The straight forward, bright crisp white guages with red needles, perfect. One of my favorite things about the car that no review ever really mentions. Audi rip off but so what. Way better than anything in the segment.

I like the faux carbon fiber trim 1000 times better than the silver painted plastic accents that every other car out there has. The silver dash in the lower trim Jetta and Golfs is nasty.

There is nothing weird about the dashboard, it doesn't look like an alien designed it.

In spite of some of the hard plastic, it has the best interior in the segment IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Haha, that was actually my first thought once I started it up... These gauges look very familiar... Especially the center display. Not that I mind, I think it looks great! I actually really like the design of the interior... It definitely values function over form, and that is not a bad thing.
 

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The ES gets criticized for its steering (seems great to me) but the 3 wasn't any better.
Yeah I don't get it either. I've been through several sporty cars (Sentra SE-R's, Miata, RX-7's) and I have no complaints about the ES steering.

Also, just curious why you didn't bother to test drive a Sentra SR Turbo or Nismo. I personally work for Nissan (in a round about way) and I was waiting patiently for that Nismo to come out. But when I saw what it became, it wasn't hard for me to leave it behind and go to the ES which I had been keeping my eye on since it was announced. Hoping to get some opinions on Nissan's offerings so I can pass on the feedback to the people in charge of the program.
 

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Congrats and welcome.

Just pushed mine through a 90 km balls to the wall drive on a tight twisty road. It handles great, watch the understear though. Engine is quick to rev which is helping my heal toe. Enjoy.
 

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Good info. Thanks! Yes, I too was checking out a Golf GTI, but like you was not happy with the salesman's attitude. Not only offered no incentives, but when I mentioned other cars I was going to test drive he was really cocky saying "yeah, well, you know... You get what you pay for." Yeah, I know that VW Golf Gti is the original hot hatch, but VW has taken a beating reputation wise with the TD cheating, and reliability numbers are not that great. Yes a Hyundai ES is not as quick in stock firm, but just a little modding/tuning will get it pretty **** close, plus I thought the interior and what you get for the $$$ is hard to beat!
 

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Good info. Thanks! Yes, I too was checking out a Golf GTI, but like you was not happy with the salesman's attitude. Not only offered no incentives, but when I mentioned other cars I was going to test drive he was really cocky saying "yeah, well, you know... You get what you pay for." Yeah, I know that VW Golf Gti is the original hot hatch, but VW has taken a beating reputation wise with the TD cheating, and reliability numbers are not that great. Yes a Hyundai ES is not as quick in stock firm, but just a little modding/tuning will get it pretty **** close, plus I thought the interior and what you get for the $$$ is hard to beat!
I agree. I am to scared of voiding warranty to mod, but if I used the price difference to mod the ES, It would be close. VW GTI has the name. Hyundai ES is hopefully, for Hyundai fans, the beginning of a name. Hyundai is now known for quality, just have to build the performance end of the spectrum now. Hyundai biggest hurtle I think is it's distant past.
 

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Hyundai has been known in the industry for quality for quite some time - easily 15 years. It's just taken some time for the rest of the country to catch up.
 

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Good info. Thanks! Yes, I too was checking out a Golf GTI, but like you was not happy with the salesman's attitude. Not only offered no incentives, but when I mentioned other cars I was going to test drive he was really cocky saying "yeah, well, you know... You get what you pay for." Yeah, I know that VW Golf Gti is the original hot hatch, but VW has taken a beating reputation wise with the TD cheating, and reliability numbers are not that great. Yes a Hyundai ES is not as quick in stock firm, but just a little modding/tuning will get it pretty **** close, plus I thought the interior and what you get for the $$$ is hard to beat!
I've had many sales people from many manufacturers frown upon the other cars I was interested in. It's what they do. It's not a VW thing. The GTI is a great car no doubt. Even the base S. Money wise though the Elantra Sport cannot be beat. Though I'm interested in the premium, I was emailed this morning a quote for a base Sport at $17,132 before taxes and registration. Which for me is like $325 so out the door under $17,500. That does include quite a few rebates, but I qualify for all so it's a real price for me. I could probably do another $500-$1000 off if I tried. Best bargain I've ever seen in all my years! Unfortunately this dealer doesn't have a Sport w/Premium package.

PS. Why isn't there a thread about what people pay? It's hardly talked about on here. While on other forums it's a wide open discussion. Just curious.
 
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