The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

CNHI News Service Originals

October 22, 2012

Hyundai coupe has same driving feel as four-door sedan

As much as I love the newest Hyundai Elantra sedan, I'm left with one question after driving the two-door coupe version.

Why does it exist?

For some background, you've got to understand what coupes are usually about. Going from four doors to two doesn't just look better, with sleeker lines and a carefree, kid-free design factor, but it also implies sportiness.

Two-door cars usually drive differently from their four-door cousins, with firmer, sportier suspensions and often more powerful engines.

That's what Honda does with its Accord and Civic coupes, and it's what Hyundai does so brilliantly with its Genesis Coupe — a car that drives so aggressively I dubbed it the "Ax Murderer" the last time I drove

one.

The two-door Elantra, though, only hits on the first half of the coupe equation.

It looks spectacular.

Even with four doors, this is a gorgeous, stunning car. Eliminating the back doors and elongating the front ones only makes it better, with a sleek roofline and classic proportions all wrapped in a modern, flowing style.

Get inside the car, though, and you're hard pressed to find any differences whatsoever between the Elantra coupe and the Elantra sedan.

The instruments are all the same — nice and classy, but identical.

And, most noticeably, the driving feel is exactly the same. It's got the same engine and the same comfortable, quiet, squishy driving feel of the four-door Elantra.

Granted, one of my favorite things about the sedan Elantra is the softness of its suspension. Too many small cars try to mimic BMW by filling their shock absorbers with concrete, so it's terrific to find a compact car with a truly supple ride.

But in the coupe? It just feels wrong. I can't help but wishing the coupe had an edgier feel from the driver's seat, more like the dramatic difference you find between the elegant, polite Genesis Sedan and the lethal, angry Genesis Coupe.

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