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December 8, 2012

Hyundai Elantra Coupe opens doors to style

(Continued)

The front cabin matched our needs very well. We never felt crowded, and it provided ample nooks, spaces, shelves and receptacles for travel necessities like cell phone, quarters for tolls, candy bars, sunglasses and gloves for the seasonal chill.

Fittingly, we needed the back seat for accessory space only, as it’s intended. It held a pillow and blanket for in-transit snoozing (passenger only, of course), and a cap and a couple of sweaters and jackets, again for the seasonal chill. Space was never an issue. Unlike some other coupe/sedan pairs, the cabin size of the Elantra Coupe is the same as the Elantra Sedan, offering close to 96 cubic feet of volume – about the same as the Honda Civic Sedan but about 12 cubic feet larger than the Civic Coupe.

Yes, laying even those few items onto the back seat was awkward. We had to flip and slide a front seat forward, reposition a front shoulder strap that hung in the way, and still stretch deep into the back cabin to arrange the space. Then the front seat had to be flipped and slid back. It needed repositioning for its occupant. And that occupant had to reach and contort to find the shoulder strap again.

That’s the typical drill for any two-door car. It’s hardly a burden. But it’s a handful more steps than you endure in a four-door model.

After that the Elantra Coupe performed flawlessly. I drove very long stretches without feeling any muscle aches or road fatigue. The car averaged 35 miles per gallon. Donna and I chatted unbothered by intruding noise. The audio system – upgraded in the fully equipped model I tested – provided crystal companionship. As part of an optional, $2,350 technology package, the Elantra Coupe included one of the most helpful, easy-to-operate navigation systems I’ve used.

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