Hyundai Elantra gets two siblings

Feb. 8, 2012 at 10:18 PM
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CHICAGO, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Hyundai Wednesday showed off two siblings to its hot-selling Elantra sedan, a two-door sport coupe and a five-door hatchback, at the Chicago Auto Show.

Elantra has been on a roll, picking up car of the year honors at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. The South Korean automaker sold 1 million Elantras worldwide in 2011 and hopes to build on the success of the compact with the 2013 Coupe and 2013 GT, both arriving at dealerships in the spring.

The new cars share the same 148-horsepower, 1.8-liter Nu 4-cylinder engine and powertrain as the sedan, with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The Coupe SE model has five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels and the same "Fludic Sculpture" design as the Elantra sedan.

The Nu engine has an aluminum block with cast iron cylinder liner, cylinder head and crank that's 30 percent lighter than an iron engine block.

The Coupe is "bigger than the [Honda] Civic, [Ford] Focus and [Toyota] Matrix," Mike O'Brien, vice president of product and corporate planning, said at the auto show media preview. The Coupe is 175 pounds lighter than the Ford Focus, 151 pounds lighter than the Mazda 3 and 222 pounds lighter than the Volkswagen Golf.

Hyundai sales jumped 20 percent in 2011 and John Krafcik, president and chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor America, said growth was limited only by capacity to build Elantras at its Montgomery, Ala., plant where the sedan is assembled.

"We began the move toward smaller lighter cars in 2008, when gas prices spiked," Krafcik said. "Now we have, I believe, the most fuel-efficient line in the industry, rising to 36.7 [mpg] in January, up 3 miles per gallon from a year earlier." He said Hyundai had the right mix of vehicles and this was the year for customer satisfaction.

Hyundai estimates mileage for the Elantra Coupe at 29 miles per gallon city and 40 miles per gallon highway, while the GT hatchback returns 28 mpg city and 39 mpg highway.

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