Elantra Hazel BrownI love cars, many of us do. Used to be a fan of Japanese and US-made cars but the innovative design of Korean cars in the market today truly captured some fans, including me.

Well I know there are still a lot of “haters” out there, but Korean brands Kia and Hyundai have made a loud statement in the car industry – having to revolutionize designs, warranty and safety (some are rated higher than most US and European cars in the United States).

One of the Korean-made cars that really got me to love the first time I saw it is the Hyundai Elantra. I was driving from Appleton in Wisconsin going to Milwaukee on a 2012 Chevy Impala, when a car overtook me in the highway.

What caught my attention was the smooth, fluidic design of the car, a  bit larger for a compact, but definitely not a full-sized sedan and not as big as the Impala I was driving.

By the way at that time, I have already decided to buy a Chevrolet Cruze when I get back to Manila. But since I got curious, I decided to override the Impala’s cruise control (at 100mph) and tailed the overtaking car a bit – and saw that it was a Hyundai Elantra car.

That was the first time I saw an Elantra, especially on the road and indeed it was good looking – but it’s a Korean car. So I decided to google some info and looked very promising.

By the time I arrived home, my obvious choice was Elantra. Got a 1.8 GLS model “Hazel Brown” for myself, and driving it was quite an exciting experience, since at that time, there were only a few Elantras on the road, and the color was different from the others.

It has a standard 16″ rims, on a Nu 1.8 L MPI D-CVVT engine, with up to 148 horsepower (130 for the 1.6 variant), 6-speed automatic transmission, rear parking sensors with camera and standard fog lamps. It is also equipped with front and rear heated glass, as well as side turn signals complementing the elegantly designed front headlamps and tail lights.

elantra dashboard_800x600The interior is even looking better, with upholstered genuine leather sets, a 360-watt 6-piece speakers including 2 front tweeters stereo system with touchscreen 7-inch dvd/tv/GPS navigation, with hands-free calling via bluetooth, AUX, USB and iPhone connectivity, nicely illuminated control panels, leather-covered telescopic steering wheel with control buttons, and surprisingly, wider and bigger legroom.

I just didn’t like the motor driven power steering at first, as it felt not very responsive, but a little more driving time with the Elantra eliminated the concern. Definitely its upsides include comfort, nice design and smooth handling in both city and highway driving.

Overall, the Elantra was a good purchase. It has garnered several awards, being the 2012 Car of the Year in the United States, Canada, South Africa and the Philippines. It is also rated 5 star in safety rating by ANCAP in Australia.

The Koreans are starting to made a huge impact in the industry. Honda now considered the Elantra as a base platform in their future designs (currently, only benchmarking Toyota and Mitsubishi).

Perhaps, haters should give Koreans a little bit of love, what do you think?

Elantra Images Gallery