Earlier we talked about the 2011 Ford Fiesta, a car that seems to be changing all the rules for small cars. Now we change gears to a car model that has been around for decades and has built a reputation for being inexpensive, good quality and has a class-leading warranty. Even better is that Hyundai offers their customers a five-door version in the Elantra Touring model.

When you start to dig further into what the Elantra has to offer, it isn’t a surprise that Consumer Reports found it to be worthy of their Top Picks for 2010. All models come with a 138-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is considered peppy and gets 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. If you are looking for an even “greener” model, then you can look at the Elantra Blue that utilizes a smart alternator, lower-friction components, revised gear ratios and different engine calibration. The blue model will gain you an EPA rating of 26/35 mpg city/highway.

Now the reviews aren’t all roses, our partners over at The Car Connection say the dislikes are comprised of the following:

  • Exterior design is still a snooze
  • Engine too vocal when accelerating
  • Sedan lacks driving excitement
  • Mediocre Bluetooth speakerphone option

 However, those are offset by the likes that include ride quality, backseat legroom and improved fuel economy. The Elantra also has some impressive optional equipment like the 172-watt audio system with MP3 compatibility, iPod and USB inputs, heated seats and tilt and telescopic steering-wheel. Overall, for the base MSRP of $14,145 for the Elantra Blue and $16,895 for the Automatic GLS, the Hyundai is worth a good look.