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Old 1st July 2008, 07:32   #1
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Default Elantra CRDi - 2yrs Young, 49K Strong and hungry for more....

The Elantra CRDi - I had never been a fan of its looks and remember showing it my thumbs down when looking for a change 3 years back. Elantra was never a value-for-money package during those times and competing with the Octavia (the price tag automatically pitched it against the Skoda) was a big mistake Hyundai did. I settled for a Lancer Petrol only because I was (and still am) an ardent admirer of Mitsubishi since my college days and Lancer was particularly my favorite. It was the nation's favorite for several years after launch. However, it was a big let down - severe technical issues with regard to non-engine parts, stupid support et al. Though I knew what my Lancer could deliver, I settled for it only due to the love for the car. I was at loss since I used it only for a year.
It was now time to complement myself with something that delivered jaw dropping power; while at the same time proved a value-for-money. I did enough study and test rode Octavia, Innova, Accent (I was broken, remember?) - I wanted to switch to Diesel because I knew I would be driving more. I did my own Math and analysis, thanks to Excel, and the verdict was only on one car - Hyundai Elantra. I knew how it would perform; thanks to my friends and colleagues who turn to me whenever they buy new car, I always get to test drive most of the models. Looks - I had to do something about it because looks, for me, matter a lot when it comes to buying a car.
I test drove an Elantra again (2 infact - there were 2 dealers at that time in Trivandrum) and after a month of ifs and buts, now and later, I decided Elantra was destined to be my Stallion. I must admit there has been no looking back since then. I crossed 49K yesterday while driving down from Cochin and I am only happy to say - Elantra still rocks !!!
I am equally thrilled and surprised at something - I am still with my stock tyres. MRF has been a let down over these years and mine is no exception. One of my friends had his tyres (of his Elantra) blast whilst at 60kmph and Hyundai never bothered to do anything about it. I had to change one tyre during the initial days when it cracked, but since then it has been smooth. I think I can still do 1000 more - but slowly since rains have started and threads have started disappearing faster.
Performance - I was never unhappy about the performance when I fixed the Pete's Tuning Box. I had been a big fan of the tiny monster ever since I drove a Skoda years back on a demo. I wanted to somehow see if my Elantra's grunt could be smoothened. I must admit that the engine has become a lot smoother and sweeter and the driveability - one needs to drive this to experience what a difference it makes to the torque at the lower rpms. I am at Stage 1 and with a Green Cotton Filter, 40 to 180 is stunningly effortless. Driving has been a pleasure since then.
Maintenance - Strut and shock absorbers had to be changed once on the front and I am due for another replacement on my front left - I guess that is where my car gets a lot of impact. No major maintenance till now - I change the oil (Mineral) at 5000, not a mile more - earlier if I can. Around 1500 for all those and the one I did at 48500 (for 50K) cost 8K. I don't think signs for an Engine Overhaul is no where to be seen or heard.
Fuel Efficiency - I never have that at the back of my mind when I drive an Elantra, I would fall at the feet of someone who would. But once I took my Elantra around (only in the City) wishing to figure the best figures it could return - it gave me 14.5KM a litre. I get almost the same efficiency on highways - remember this is a beast when you revv it past 2500-3000; it would beg to be pushed further. Pete's hasn't dropped my FE - for the first couple of weeks YES but that's when I was testing Pete's, what it could and wouldn't do !!!
Stability - Amazing for a car of its genre. Don't be on the defensive when you take sharp turns at even 80-100. This car just doesn't go out of the track. Highways, sharp curves, ghat roads, hair pins - Relax, the Elantra knows how to manage all those; you manage just the fun element of driving the car. Steering feels rock solid and that adds to my confidence. Driving in the city may not be as easy as a Honda City or Verna. Who cares? All that matters is its behavior on the Highways. For the first time yesterday, I was tested when I felt a slight skiiiid under the tyres while taking a 45-degree curve at 80-90. I was testing an Innova on my way back and everytime we hit a block or a signal light (I was ahead), I would vroom past and rub him the wrong side. Who would want to see the car he is racing with go OUT OF SIGHT seconds after the signal turns green and again wait for him to follow? Poor soul - that is Pete's for you.
Build Quality - I am not that impressed, remembering I am comparing with the best there. Please note that I couldn't complain of any annoying rattle (other than the one on one of the A/C vents which I had from Day One) when I took it for the service at 48K. All the less significant ones have disappeared after the service. A happy driver!!!
Too many PLUSs? There are some negatives too, silly when compared to the positives -
1. Build Quality - I am not that impressed; maybe I shoudl stop comparing this with the Skoda. After all, how much did I pay?
2. Turbo Lag - You start cursing yourself and the traffic. Pete's solved that to a great extent. Prolonged/Extended City Driving can be taxing.
3. Front Looks - I am pretty relaxed. Switched to a horizontal grille with body coloured paint
4. Tyres - MRF - they are bad. I was lucky, my leg automatically steps on the brakes at the sight of even the slightest bad road. You get better tyre mileage if you are a careful driver.
5. Ground Clearance - Low, but that comes to my advantage when I cruise at speeds over 175 KMPH. Stability is generally very impressive. But the downside, I had had to pull over and walk the rest of the distance. Why? there was a dip (a mini crater) and my Elantra got afraid of it. :-) Next change would require an upgrade too.
6. Headlamps - they are horrendous. I have still not found a solution to that. Candle lights in front of the belligerent truck drivers and Lauras. Can someone PLEASE help this poor soul find some alternative to upgrade without spoiling my reflectors and holders? Or may be suggest a n upgrade for them as well? I am badly in need of some help here.
Well, that's that about my Black Beauty. I am still in love with it and though I must admit my thoughts hover around the Laura, I dont think I would let this Stallion go - after all I am not a hard-hearted animal!!!
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Old 1st July 2008, 11:05   #2
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Regarding the headlamps why don't you try HIDs, one of my friend has it and its amazing. In one of our trips to kerala we use to follow his car just for the sake of visibility. It should be around 20-22k for both h1 and h7.
Even i tried with 100/90 in my elantra but the visibility is not that great and should be replaced once in a year.

your alloys looks good. what was the cost? which brand? can you post a clear picture.
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Old 1st July 2008, 11:18   #3
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Nice write-up mate.
You've taken a lot of trouble to deliver all the facts.
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Old 1st July 2008, 20:27   #4
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Nice and honest write up.
Car looks great too. Surprised to know that it doesnt give the best city drives, one of the elantra i drove had a relatively light steering.

BTW Where in tvm did you get it Peted?
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Old 3rd July 2008, 10:23   #5
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Default Pete's Box & Steering

Originally Posted by kris905 View Post
Nice and honest write up.
Car looks great too. Surprised to know that it doesnt give the best city drives, one of the elantra i drove had a relatively light steering.

BTW Where in tvm did you get it Peted?
Got it Pete'd at Peter's in Cochin. It apparently does not have a light steering as a Verna or a Honda City. Taking U turns and hurried crossing can therefore become "eventful". However, there some of my motor enthusiast friends who hate light steerings and I have every reason to second their opinion for what matters is how your behaves while on the highway. Once you cross the City Limits (read - as you start enjoying the real ride), the same steering can come to your advantage by way of getting tighter at higher speeds. Needless to say, that is quite advantageous for the driver at speeds above 120. Btw, a Steering Oil additive and Gear Oil additive didn't help me smoothen the tough guys.
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Old 5th July 2008, 14:05   #6
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Nice review. I agree with you that the positioning Hyundai choose for this car was the weakest link for this car. Its great VFM package and the diesel was a good option.

About the lightening problem, post here:
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Old 7th July 2008, 13:34   #7
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@convival - Nice review.
The Elantra is one of few Hyundai's i have a big soft spot for.
Please keep on updating this thread and please post some more pictures.
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