Midway through the current 2010 model year, the Hyundai Elantra GLS and SE trim levels are getting an upgrade in the form of an optional in-dash navigation unit.
This LG-sourced system features 8GB of flash memory for storing map data and POIs. This looks to be a modified version of the flash-based Hyundai navigation system we tested in the Genesis Coupe--which was also a mid-cycle upgrade. If that system is any indicator, you can forget about using any of that space for storing music. However, with iPod and USB connectivity, we don't think this will be a deal breaker. What does strike us as odd is that Hyundai's maps appear to be viewable in 2D only, which is odd because even $99 portable navigation devices offer some sort of 3D-perspective view.
Bluetooth hands-free calling with automatic phone book import piques our interest, as does the reasonably sized 6.5-inch color touch screen. Hyundai rounds out the package with a 200-watt AM/FM/CD audio system and XM satellite radio with XM NavTraffic and 90-days of complimentary service.
The navigation-equipped Elantras roll onto dealers' lots this month. Hyundai points out that at $17,995 ($1,100 over the price of a standard Elantra GLS), the Elantra GLS with Navigation is the least expensive navigation-equipped vehicle in a class populated with the Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra, Mitsubishi Lancer, and VW Jetta, among others. Meanwhile, the sporty* Elantra SE with Navigation adds a "sport-tuned" suspension, electronic stability control and traction control, and bigger alloy wheels for $19,845.
*I can't help but wonder how one could seriously call a vehicle "sporty" with a single-option four-speed automatic transmission. Go figure.