Sometimes people are conditioned to believe that because a vehicle is affordable, it probably won’t look very good. We’re here to explain why that’s not exactly true. For instance, the current generation Honda Fit can be found on the used market at well under $20,000, comes in bright colors (like Mystic Yellow Pearl), and has available fog lamps, alloy wheels, and a spoiler. Meanwhile, the economical Hyundai Elantra underwent a redesign three years ago and now features the company’s modern “cascade” hexagonal grille, curvier shape, and an athletic stance both longer and wider than its predecessor.
Totally revised in 2015, Honda’s little five-door emerged much sportier and upscale compared to before. The headlight housings are slimmed down and integrated with the smoked grille showcasing a thin strip of chrome. Around the back, a matching chrome strip runs below the window, flanked by a pair of LED tail lamps. As mentioned, optional fog lights, 16-inch wheels, and a hatch wing makes the exterior pop even further.
The brand’s exclusive Magic Seats debuted on this generation: the second row can flip and fold into multiple configurations to hold something like a tall plant, a bicycle, or a surfboard. In maximum storage mode, up to 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space is ready to go.
Cue sad music — Volkswagen officially announced that after 2019, the modern Beetle will no longer be produced. Fortunately, consumers can still find lots of great examples among second-hand inventory. The 2014 model is an excellent one to pick, as VW evolved the car only a couple of years prior to resemble the spirit of original Bug as opposed to the New Beetle sold between 1997 and 2011. For instance the roof line is lower, the hood longer, the windshield more raked, and the overall body quite a bit wider.
A 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder replaces the original base 2.5-liter naturally aspirated engine, pumping out 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. There’s also a TDI utilizing a turbo 2.0-liter Clean Diesel mill with 140 horses and a robust 236 lb-ft of torque. All Beetles ride on independent rear suspension providing excellent handling characteristics.
Although not traditionally known as a head-turner, the Elantra has a long had a reputation of being a capable entry-level compact sedan. The sixth-gen however, introduced in 2017, is another story. The front fascia is fashioned after the other contemporary offerings in the Hyundai lineup, and the dimensions have been stretched out by 0.8 inches in length and 1.0 inch in width. These changes, in addition to many others, means the vehicle appears classy rather than budget, although it certainly remains easy on the wallet.
The Elantra is fun to drive, too, housing a peppy 147-horsepower 2.0-liter motor mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The ultra-stiff “SuperStructure” chassis upon which the car is built, comprised of advanced high strength made in-house at the Hyundai’s own Korean steel plant, allows a composed drive whether in a straight line or in the corners.