I own a 2004 GLS with 22k on it. Zero problems to this point, though it is practically a brand-new car.
Gas mileage has been above EPA estimates, with highway mileage being around 35-37 mpg. Acceleration is plenty adequate even with an auto, the manuals are a lot quicker.
I don't have anything bad to say about the vehicle, and I plan to keep it for a long time.
The redesigned '07 Elantra will be out in the fall, so maybe he should wait to check it out. Might get a good deal on an '06.
There are several here that have them (me included) and have been very happy with them. Hyundai has come a long way in the past few years.
2 good forums to visit would be www.elantraclub.com and www.elantraxd.com. Both are Elantra specific forums with tons of info.
In the 2 years and 36000 miles I have had it, it has been to the dealer 4 times, once for a recal notice and I had the radio repaird under warranty while there, had an issue with the wiper arm coming loose (I could have fixed it, but it was raining and I was right by the dealer) Had a headlight with moisture that was replaced under warranty, and right after I bought the car I had to have the windshield replaced because the dealer had used some shoe polish stuff on the windshield that would not come off.
Best part is, I still have 24,000 miles of bumper to bumper warranty and 64,000 miles of powertrain.
Mum and Dad bought one 18 months ago. The hatch, with the leather interior (just under $20k on the road).
The space in the hatch is very adaptable and useable.
Car (auto) get them 15-16km/l on the highway (35 to 38MPG)
I have a Getz 1.3, bought new 12 mnths ago. Has 11000 miles now, faultless performance, no faults rattles or squeaks. Well built with a good paintwork, very easy to work on. The Elantra looks good and if my Getz is anything to go by it will be a good buy.
In a comparison test, both Edmunds.com and Car&Driver scored the Elantra a solid 2nd place finish. The 1st place finishers were different for each test. The Elantra has alot going for itself. I beleive it was the least expensive car in both tests and still scored high. They're well made, fun to drive, decent power and mpg, well laid out interiors with good materials and fit & finish, and respectable ride and handling. I myself would consider a pre-owned Elantra, as their resale value seem to drop considerably and there still alot of life left in these models. Hyundai has come a long way in the quality and reliability surveys. They have passed many other car manufactures in many respondants surveys and are nipping at the heals of the best companies.
I wish I could agree with others who responded. My 2001 Elantra was a serious nightmare. I spent hundreds of hours dealing with all the problems and eventually bought out my lease for 4k just to get rid of it. However, 2001 was the first year of the new model elantra, so it could of been a lemon.. I really hope your experience is better.
My wife has a 2003 Elantra (auto) we bought brand new. it has almost 50,000 miles on it now, and we're VERY satisfied so far. It's comfy, even on long trips, has a bunch of nice standard stuff which are options on most other cars in this category, and handles nicely for an econ car (we're planning to replace the oem Michelin MXV4+ tires soon with some Kumho's probably, which I think will improve handling even more). It's pretty fast, too, compared with others in the same class. Very well put together, too. and I LOVE the headlights-performance: best I've ever seen.
Only things which needed attention so far were:
rear brake noise,
digital clock's display problem
(all replaced or repaired under warranty without any questions by the dealer, who's been very nice so far)
We get btw 35-37 on hwy, in-town mileage was never really calculated, but we know it's not bad at all.
We recommend it without any hesitation.
Get the GT if you can; for a little more, you get some nice stuff in it, but the GLS is nice, too.
I picked up a 2005 Elantra from the Hertz rental fleet at nearby BWI airport last September with around 15k miles on it.
The car is quiet, comfortable, well-assembled, and so far trouble-free in 12k miles.