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Hyundai (sort of) stands pat on 2011 Elantra pricing Add to ...

Hyundai Canada has just announced pricing for the all-new 2011 Elantra compact car, touting an unchanged base price of $15,849. Hyundai says the 2010 and 2011 models are priced the same, despite a complete redesign and approximately $1,900 in extra features and equipment in 2011 car.

And it's true Hyundai is holding the line on the sticker price. But who pays sticker?

I did a bit of digging on the 2010 Elantra and found plenty of discounts that lower the real price by thousands of dollars: a $2,850 factory rebate (factory-to-dealer incentive, according to www.carcostcanada.com) plus another $500 in Clean Air Cash. If you qualify for that $500 you also would get another $300 in federal Retire your Ride money. Those deals can be combined with a 3.45 per cent Hyundai finance offer.

For the buyer able to combine all the offers on the 2010 Elantra, the discounts total $3,650 plus an attractive retail finance rate. I'd argue the "real" price of the base 2010 Elantra is as low as $12,199, not $15,849.

Hard-charging Hyundai Canada is hoping this new Elantra is good enough, appealing enough, to move off dealer lots without all those sales sweeteners. The story there starts with fuel economy.

Hyundai argues the 2011 Elantra delivers class-leading fuel economy ratings of 6.8 L/100 km in the city and 4.9 L/100 km on the highway for six-speed manual models. Take the optional six-speed automatic and fuel economy suffers only marginally, adding 0.1 L/100 km to city fuel consumption. Another point Hyundai wants to make: "Unlike some competitors in the segment that offer maximum fuel efficiency only in a limited number of trims, all models in the Elantra range offer the same top-notch fuel economy." The Elantra has better highway fuel economy than the Chevrolet Cruze, Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.

Then there's design. Hyundai's "fluidic sculpture" look first seen on the Sonata is at work here and I like it. The new Elantra is slightly longer and sits lower than its predecessor, too.

The engine is a new 1.8-litre four-banger from the company's Nu engine family, generating 145 horsepower and 143 pounds-feet of torque. The new aluminum block engine is lighter than the outgoing 2.0-litre iron block.

And it's modern, with "dual continuously variable valve timing, an improved electronic throttle control and a two-step variable induction system."

Standard equipment on all Elantras: six airbags, electronic anti-skid control with traction control, four wheel disc brakes with anti-lock, six-speed transmissions, power windows and a six-speaker audio system. New options: heated rear seats, navigation with a seven-inch screen, rear-view camera and something called proximity entry with electric push button start.

What could be improved? The Elantra's new engine does not feature gasoline direct injection, a fairly pricey fuel-saving technology standard on the Sonata.

On the other hand, the top-of-the-line Elantra Limited has had its suggested retail price reduced by $1,100 to $22,699, even as Hyundai argues the addition of more than $1,400 in features and equipment.

Of course with incentives on the 2010 in play, the pricing story changes. And anyone who does not include incentives when negotiating a purchase is leaving money on the table.

High-value SUVs popular with organized crime rings, reports Insurance Bureau of Canada

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