Words by Ferman Lao | Photos by Christopher Kho
When the all-new Elantra came about in early 2011, it looked to me like the engineers at Hyundai had just rehashed one of their previous designs. By pulling and stretching the Accent's basic shape to the necessary dimensions, they've managed to come up with a new compact car. But in my mind, the Accent was already the mini-Sonata, and therefore had no room left for another car to sit between the two. Add to this Hyundai's habit of recycling design concepts, which made me take the Elantra not so seriously.
Fast forward a couple of months ahead and I found myself in South Korea, sitting behind the wheel of an automatic 1.6 Elantra for a media test drive experience. This was my chance to get acquainted with Hyundai's latest compact, away from the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila's streets. For first impressions, I was quite impressed at how its 6-speed auto behaved very much like a manual transmission would, and how good it was for an affordably-sedan. That experience left me thinking, "If the auto's this good, I wonder what the manual's like?"