2010 Hyundai Elantra Blue
There’s no denying: It’s tough to get excited by a Hyundai Elantra — any Hyundai Elantra, but perhaps especially the Blue, the compact runabout’s new base model.
It’s not that it’s a bad car, really. It’s just, well, an Elantra. The Blue is touted as the fuel-miser of the range, which includes GLS and SE trim levels, not that any of them could really be called guzzlers. Unique to the Blue is a five-speed manual gearbox with eco-tuned ratios and, um, that’s about it. Oh, wait: There’s a “Blue” badge on the trunk lid. Almost forgot about that.
No, aside from its name (an unblushing ripoff of Mercedes and VW, which use “blue” in the names of their eco-friendlier offerings), the Elantra Blue isn’t likely to set aflutter the hearts of greenies or techies or diesel fans or, well, anybody else. It’s the base model, notable only for being the one Elantra model to offer a manual gearbox. It’s not to be confused with Hyundai’s own, forthcoming “BlueDrive” Sonata Hybrid, which at least puts the filched “Blue” moniker to good use, returning 39 mpg on the Interstate.
As for the car itself… It’s fine. Really. The sedan starts at $14,145, which is $1500 cheaper than a Honda Civic DX, and that’s okay. (There is no Blue version of the Elantra Touring wagonette, not that many are likely to notice.) The seats are better than a park bench and dash and switchgear feel pretty good to the touch. My car had the $1700 Convenience Package, which includes air conditioning and satellite radio, both of which are nice to have, and there was a $325 Bluetooth hands-free setup, which would’ve been nice if it didn’t keep forgetting my phone and then refusing to reacquaint itself. With 138 horsepower, the 2.0-liter in-line four is peppy with the stick-shift, though I suspect it’d be fairly insufferable with the four-speed automatic that’s standard in the GLS and SE models.
And the fuel-miser part of the equation? The bottom line is 26 mpg city and 35 mpg highway, which is pretty okay and compares (drum roll, please) with 26/34 mpg for up-trim Elantras equipped with the automatic. Yep, that’s it: One mile per gallon better than the non-Blue models.
One! Mile! Per! Gallon! Better! (Excited yet?)