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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My wife and I drove an Eco last weekend and were impressed. We also wanted to drive an Elantra, but none could be had in our town w/ manual transmissions.

We had settled on the Cruze and were getting ready to buy (tomorrow) when the Hyundai dealership found a GLS w/ manual for us to drive...

We were very impressed w/ the Elantra, so now we have a tough decision on our hands. After driving the Elantra today we went to the Chevy dealer and drove the Cruze again so we could compare them back to back.

To be clear, we are talking about the Eco w/ Connectivity package vs Elantra GLS w/ Comfort package (cruise, A/C, telescoping column). Here are our current impressions:

  1. exterior styling: we like them both, although they are fairly different
  2. interior styling: we prefer the Elantra
  3. interior room: edge to the Elantra (front feels roomier, back seat is definitely roomier)
  4. transmissions: both seemed crisp
  5. acceleration: advantage Cruze (turbo at low RPMs makes a difference)
  6. wheels: advantage Cruze (forged alloy vs steel)
  7. mileage: probably a slight edge to Cruze
  8. steering/suspension: very similar
  9. braking: very similar, but edge to Elantra for 4 wheel discs
  10. warranty: big advantage to Elantra (we don't drive much, so it's essentially 5 years vs 10 years on the drive train)
  11. price: Elantra would be $800 cheaper
  12. safety: Cruze (crash ratings & 10 air bags)

For those of you that drove the Elantra - why did you choose the Cruze?

All other comments welcome! Help us decide!
 

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Lyrical Wordsmith
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I based my pick on looks, affordability and MPG. Also i am not too fond of the reliability of Hyundai, but that is biased. I love the car overall, and i don't know how you can not like the interior of the Cruze ;) this actually got me the MOST. Very different than GM's bland interior.
 

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Test drove both, and my wife drives a Sonata, so we are familiar with Hyundai. I chose Cruze over Elantra because it just felt better. Better interior, better feeling on road, better acceleration, I liked the appearance better and my local Chevy dealer extends the 5 yr 100K warranty to 10 yr 100K, with the 2nd 5yrs having a $100 deductible on major repair, so the warranty issue was a non-issue to me. Basic answer is, I just liked the Cruze more.
 

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I test drove the Elantra as well, and I have to say the exterior styling was big for me. I really don't like the shark theme Hyundai seems to be taking with their newer model cars. The interior as well. I thought the Cruze's was better laid out. The only thing I really liked better about the Elantra was the EPA estimates. 40mpg on all models? I can't even break 30 mpg with my Cruze Eco (Admittedly it is the A/T, and the M/T drivers seem to easily surpass their EPA numbers.) and the warranty.

Hope you come to a decision, and love the car you choose, even if it isn't the Cruze!
 

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...it's two sides of the "coin-toss":

HEADS = USA-made Cruze.

TAILS = Korean-made Elantra.


...although Hyundai will soon manufacture the Elantra in Alabama!
 

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I based my decision a lot off of the price of gas. There isn't really anything that quite competes with the cruze for its class/safety/affordability. I am getting 50 mpg on average so I'm very happy with the cruze.

Also I would try to see if the chevy dealer would bring the cruze down 800 to match the elantra.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
update

Unless my wife changes her mind in the next couple hours, we're going w/ the Cruze.

It was very tough decision. If we weren't receiving a $1000 loyalty bonus from Chevrolet, I think the Elantra would've come out on top.
 

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...it's two sides of the "coin-toss":

HEADS = USA-made Cruze.

TAILS = Korean-made Elantra.


...although Hyundai will soon manufacture the Elantra in Alabama!
Actually, the Elantra has been manufactured in Alabama since the beginning of the '11 model year. They have had to import some from Korea in order to keep up with demand. Even so, they are in short supply.
 

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  1. exterior styling: we like them both, although they are fairly different The Cruze looked more stylish.
  2. interior styling: we prefer the Elantra -- Kinda agreed
  3. interior room: edge to the Elantra (front feels roomier, back seat is definitely roomier) -- yes like 10 cubice feet more
  4. transmissions: both seemed crisp -- ECO gear ratio is better for MPG economy. Its small but it makes the difference. Actually most elantra users based on the forums I read were a little disappointed with the real MPG while most eco owners seem impressed.
  5. acceleration: advantage Cruze (turbo at low RPMs makes a difference)
  6. wheels: advantage Cruze (forged alloy vs steel) - much lighter on the ECO and the tires are better for MPG
  7. mileage: probably a slight edge to Cruze -- Read up on this, but the real drivers review in forums present a huge difference. Just looking at fuelly, the elantra is averaging 30.2 while the curse is averaging 32.3.
  8. steering/suspension: very similar -- Elantra independent rear suspension, eco slightly better turning circle.
  9. braking: very similar, but edge to Elantra for 4 wheel discs
  10. warranty: big advantage to Elantra (we don't drive much, so it's essentially 5 years vs 10 years on the drive train)
  11. price: Elantra would be $800 cheaper
  12. safety: Cruze (crash ratings & 10 air bags -- Cruze has the best safety rating.

In the end it came down to MPG for me, and the elantra couldn't touch the cruze eco. In fact, no gas car it size can yet IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
purchased the Cruze this morning

It's a done deal - we bought a silver Cruze Eco w/ the Connectivity package. Dealer price was $19K even. We received a $1K loyalty bonus, taking the price (excluding TT&L) down to $18K.

I wanted to write up my thoughts on this comparison before my memories fade, for the next person that comes to this forum with the same question. Please see the OP for the exact cars that I'm comparing...

In the end, the Cruze Eco won on its technical/mechanical merits. Better fuel mileage - I spent some time in an Elantra forum, and folks are getting good mileage, but I don't see folks reporting mid-40s like some people here. Slightly better handling - slalom course and skidpad numbers I've read in online reports. Better acceleration (technically the Elantra has more HP, but nobody drives their car at 6000 RPM). Better safety features.

Some people may prioritize the categories mentioned in the OP differently than we have, and those folks may prefer the Elantra. The biggest difference (in our opinion) between the cars is the interior. Not that there's anything wrong w/ the Cruze, but the Elantra is very cohesive and well integrated. It feels more like a driving environment, and less like a collection of parts, if that makes any sense. The seats are more comfortable, the design is more elegant, and there's more room in the back seat. The only aspect of the Cruze interior that I'd put above the Elantra is noise insulation (although the Elantra is also fairly quiet).

The other two areas where the Elantra really shines are the warranty and price. If you look at what you get for the money, the Elantra really can't be beat. I agree with what I've read online in several places - best value in the class.

One other thing - if we'd been looking for an automatic transmission, the Elantra probably would've been our choice. That opinion is the result of reading posts on this forum and from reading reviews. While the manual transmissions in both cars are quite good, the Hyundai automatic seems to be quite a bit better than the Cruze's.

That's about it. I hope these thoughts are helpful to somebody.
 

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One other thing - if we'd been looking for an automatic transmission, the Elantra probably would've been our choice. That opinion is the result of reading posts on this forum and from reading reviews. While the manual transmissions in both cars are quite good, the Hyundai automatic seems to be quite a bit better than the Cruze's.
Best of luck with your new ride!!

I'm late to the comments part, but found it funny that you would choose the Elantra automatic over the Cruze. I've only driven the Elantra automatic and not the manual and I haven't found it better than the Cruze 2LT auto I have and here's why:

I've had two Alamo rentals of 4 and 8 days of the GLS trim that were both equipped with the preferred package with alloys and bluetooth. While a nice car in general, after a few days the following faults and/or ommissions came to light - suspension tuning was the worst of both worlds - harsh over expansion joints (Florida has lots of concrete roads) and soft on sharper turns so it really leaned, positively anemic acceleration with the auto if the AC was on and it was always on in Florida which meant you were always in the throttle which lead to low 30's mpgs, and manual seat adjustments that didn't allow much seat bottom adjustment so your legs got tired on longer drives. The auto in the Elantra was not any smoother than the Cruze auto and it needed to kick down a gear anytime I put the foot into the gas. It had the same hard time deciding when to shift up and down as the Cruze does if the driving is spirited. I put 650 miles on the shorter rental and over a 1000 on the longer rental and average mpg was in the low 30's - similar to my Cruze with more than 50% of the mileage on the highway in the rentals.

I had a loaded Limited for review for a week (I write a column for the local paper) as well and put 1400 miles on this model. Same suspension issues as the GLS. Not as tepid in acceleration as the AC was not on thanks to the cooler New England climate. Confounding options - no power seat option up front, but it had a heated rear seat???

All in all, the GLS was an OK value at about $18.5K as optioned, but the Limited not so much so at $23.7K (it had the tech pkg, self dimming mirror, and the cargo nets). The 5/60 basic warranty and 10/100 powertrain would make a difference if I was keeping the car a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm late to the comments part, but found it funny that you would choose the Elantra automatic over the Cruze. I've only driven the Elantra automatic and not the manual and I haven't found it better than the Cruze 2LT auto I have and here's why:
And to be fair - I didn't drive either car w/ an automatic. The comments I provided were the result of reviews and posts that I've read.

One other advantage the Elantra AT has over the Cruze AT: no decrease in mileage. The Elantra is rated at 40/29 regardless of transmission.
 

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This is an interesting discussion. I've owned an Elantra GLS automatic since December and have 6500 miles on it. I've been very pleased with it. I love the styling, both inside and out. I've averaged 28 mpg in mostly suburban driving. I did get 39.6 mpg on one trip I took.

The reason I'm lurking here is that I greatly miss driving a manual. This is the first automatic car I've owned in over 20 years. I think the Elantra automatic is an absolute jewel, but it just isn't as much fun as a stick shift. I would have bought a manual Elantra, but they are not equipped with Bluetooth. You can get a manual Eco with Bluetooth. I got a $1500 certificate because I'm a former Saturn owner. I was playing around with the idea of trading for a Eco with a manual. I came here to find out what owners' experience had been. I probably won't trade, but the exploring is fun.
 

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Congratulations feh! You really did your homework. Another point in favor of the Cruze that I haven't heard mentioned yet is that everything else being equal, a heavier car is going to be safer than a lighter car and the Cruze weighs more than the Elantra. The Elantra is listed at 2770 lbs., while the Eco is listed at 3009lbs. So even if they get the same crash test ratings, the Eco should be safer. And does the Elantra have knee airbags?

Also count me as another Eco owner who has exceeded the EPA ratings for gas mileage. I just returned from my first road trip and got 45.2 mpg, and that is calculating it the old fashioned way. The gauge told me I got 45.7. And I was driving 70 on the freeway with a 200lb passenger and about 35 lbs of luggage.

On the downside, read the posts on here about paint chips behind the rear door. I got one myself on the trip and I am going to get splash guards and have 3M paint protection film installed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Congratulations feh! You really did your homework. Another point in favor of the Cruze that I haven't heard mentioned yet is that everything else being equal, a heavier car is going to be safer than a lighter car and the Cruze weighs more than the Elantra. The Elantra is listed at 2770 lbs., while the Eco is listed at 3009lbs.
Yes, I didn't include that in my writeup, but I have the same opinion. The Cruze feels more substantial and solid than the Elantra.

There are advantages and disadvantages to that - the extra weight hurts acceleration.
 

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I haven't driven the new Elantra, but I parked beside one today at the movies, and I got to say, it is a nicely styled car, and I seem to be seeing more of them on the road than Cruzes, don't know if it's a monthly payment issue advantage Hyundai has over Chev or what.....But I did I highway trip this weekend with my Cruze, drove for mileage on Cruise Control got 5.7 litres per 100 kms.....My Cruze is automatic, so impressed with this car, style, ride, performance and now mileage, never thought I would get the advertised mileage....Pleasantly surprised.
 
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