The Hyundai Elantra GT
Let me tell you about the bargain I drove: I didn't like that the windshield wiper motor carried audibly irritating noises into the cab. I didn't like that I could hear every pebble and road bump I passed over. I didn't like the ordinary car look and general feel of the vehicle. And I didn't like the lack of quick response to the gas peddle foot command. I felt like I had to nurse it all the time with the clutch. It just wouldn't respond like a more dynamic engine.
I did like the fact that I averaged 30 miles per gallon under daily North Idaho road conditions (a mix of highway and city stop-and-go).
I also liked the reachable price tag of $14,887. You could pay for this Hyundai Elantra GT on a maxed-out credit card. For that you get dual front and side airbags; independent McPherson struts up front and coil springs for rear suspension; and a 5-speed manual transmission driving a 2- liter DOHC engine.
The sound system was capable of drowning out the road noise and Hyundai introduces (at least to me) a unique way to hide the CD player entry behind the radio tuner. That was kind of nice.
Keyless remote entry (they treat the trunk as a fifth door), a rear window
defroster and tilt-steering adjustment add up on the positive side.
Being a low-end car, Hyundai engineers were wise to install rear child seat anchors, and my daughter says she liked the purple illuminated gauges on the panel. For the low price, you still have a workable cruise control, trip computer, non-CFC air conditioning, front fog lamps, power locks, power windows and power mirrors.
Put all that in a light frame on 15-inch Michelin tires over 5-spoke alloy wheels and you have a bargain.
This is a car meant for the entry-level family or career person who has a limited budget but wants something new for a start in life.