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2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring First Impressions

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Victoria, British Columbia - Last year, Hyundai took advantage of the Montreal International Auto Show to unveil the all-new 2009 Elantra Touring, a more family-oriented variant of their popular compact. Well, it took a little more than a year to officially welcome this model in North America due to its overly popular status in Europe (where it's called I30).

The new 2009 Elantra Touring, a more family-oriented variant of their popular compact.

Don't be fooled into thinking the Elantra Touring is merely an extended version of the regular Elantra. The former is built on a totally different platform and uses components that have little in common with the latter. In fact, if it were not for the name, this newcomer might not even pass as an Elantra.

Family styling
From the get-go, Hyundai executives were clear on one thing: the 2009 Elantra Touring directly takes aim at the Toyota Matrix, Pontiac Vibe, Dodge Caliber and the like. Of course, to a lesser extent, it also targets every other 5-door model in the entry-level segment. Here, in Victoria, the company decided to pit the Elantra Touring against the Matrix to illustrate how the Korean has the edge over the Japanese.

For instance, the new Hyundai is wider and sits on a longer wheelbase than any rival. On the other hand, the roof was purposely made a bit lower in order to give the machine a sleeker, more aerodynamic profile while lowering the center of gravity in the process.

The design of the new Elantra Touring is pretty unique and unlike anything else at Hyundai. The hood slopes forward, the sides are nicely sculpted and the rear section sports vertically-stacked taillights along the hatch.

Clean and cute, the Touring has no reason to envy traditional segment leaders in terms of style and on-road presence.

The design of the new Elantra Touring is pretty unique.