Used Hyundai Elantra Saloon 2001 - 2006 review

Category: Family car

It's very cheap, but most rivals are better to drive and more spacious

Hyundai Elantra Saloon (01 - 06)
  • Hyundai Elantra Saloon (01 - 06)
  • Hyundai Elantra Saloon (01 - 06)
Used Hyundai Elantra Saloon 2001 - 2006 review
Star rating

What's the used Hyundai Elantra saloon like?

If you want a solidly screwed together, reliable and well-equipped new-ish car for not a lot of cash, the Elantra should be on your shopping list. When they first rolled out of the new car showroom, they had a five-year warranty, so used ones benefit from the reassuring manufacturer safety net for longer.

What you won't get is an enjoyable car to drive or as much room as most other family cars. In fact, cabin and luggage space are closer to those of small family cars, such as the Ford Focus, than the Mondeos and Vectras of this world.


It's very cheap, but most rivals are better to drive and more spacious

  • It's cheap, well equipped and many are still covered by the five-year warranty
  • It has old-school looks, mediocre refinement
  • weak handling and modest space

The Elantra saloon and hatch both drive reasonably well, but they don't handle brilliantly - there's little front-end grip, and steering that's more vague than a politician on Newsnight. The engines are mediocre, too. On the positive side, they're stashed full of kit and, if you can put up with the tyre roar, reasonably refined on a long haul.

Ownership cost

What used Hyundai Elantra saloon will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Hyundai Elantra saloon?

The Elantra sheds value quickly over its first three years, but after that, depreciation is pretty average. So the Elantra adds up as a used buy, financially at least.

Servicing won't be cheap. Routine maintenance at a franchised dealer will set you back more than, say, for a Ford Mondeo or Vauxhall Vectra. Independent garages will be cheaper, but remember that they must carry out work to the manufacturer's standards if you want to keep that five-year warranty valid.

If your Elantra is still under warranty, that should take care of unscheduled repairs, although Hyundais rarely go wrong so you shouldn't have too much of a problem there.

Or at the fuel pumps: the petrols give mid- to high-30s to the gallon and the diesel mid-40s. Insurance, too, is reasonable, with group eight for the 1.6 and group 13 for the 2.0 petrol and diesel.

Our recommendations

Which used Hyundai Elantra saloon should I buy?

Earlier cars offer three engines and all have something in their favour.

The 1.6 petrol is quite flexible and offers good fuel economy, while the 2.0 petrol isn't that much thirstier but is a fair bit swifter. The third option is a 2.0 turbodiesel, which is noisier and less refined than the petrols but has far more mid-range pull and better economy - both very welcome in the real world. On later cars, the petrols were dropped from the line-up, so you're looking at diesel only.

You can consider this saloon, but we'd go for the practicality of the five-door hatch, despite the fact that even that isn't hugely roomy for a full-sized family car.

All models do well for kit. Even the base Si model has air-con, CD player, electric front windows and remote central locking. The GSi, our choice, ups that further, with alloy wheels, climate control and leather seats.

Hyundai dealers are the place to find a good one, but the classifieds can throw up gems, too.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Hyundai Elantra saloon?