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New Driver

Sajeev, I have, as do most Americans, several automobiles in my current stable and have (in the past 70+ years) owned a great many others. For the most recent decade or two my favorites have included a 1996 Hyundai Elantra GLS Wagon, which serves me as my absolute all-time favorite, multi-purpose town car.


This particular styling exercise by Hyundai, designated the 2nd Generation / J2R Elantra GLS Wagon, includes an extremely pleasing, shared body style spanning 1995 through about 1999 (in 2000, the third generation was introduced). It is often remarked that this 2nd-gen Hyundai Elantra GS Wagon has more than a passing resemblance to the mid-90s Ford Taurus wagon, given that both use similar aerodynamic and styling concepts. So much do they resemble each other (the Taurus is somewhat larger) that you could swear their resemblance had to be deliberate (although it seems not to have been).


That said, when I first laid my eyes on this elegantly designed little Hyundai, I resolved to find a pure white specimen (this was in about 2010 or so) and searched diligently until I finally found one offered for sale in Arizona (white is both utilitarian and elegant in California's hot summer weather). I purchased it for just under $2000 and had it shipped to me on a car transport truck from Arizona. It had just 118,000 miles on it at that time and appeared to have been well maintained and looked after (I hoped).


That was then and today (2022) I have just reached the 147K mile point on this machine and it continues to perform flawlessly for me in my daily trips around town. It's also perfect for carrying my Siberian Husky dogs in its spacious aft cargo platform (seats down and folded up).


My only expenses have  been for new tyres, new schock absorbers and the usual regular oil changes and tune-ups. Despite having the old OBD-1 on-board computerised diagnostic system (the OBD-2 came into use in 1997), it regularly takes and passes the semi-annual, rigorous California Emissions Test with flying colors. With its 1.8 DOHC liter engine and automatic transmission (electronically controlled), it only sips modestly at the gas pump and MPG rating is typically 27 or so for in-city driving. It is slightly underpowered and the subsequent generation's 2.0 DOHC engine was apparently the engine it should have had from the start. Still, my 'boy racer' days are long past and it perfectly suits my leisurely, sedate driving style! It's huge and low-to-the-ground cargo space is absolutely amazing, as well, and as someone who cut my teeth packing (original) VW Beetles (Type 1) back in the 70s, I have become a gifted adept at fitting just about anything into it!


The interior is thoughtfully designed, ergonometrically well-suited for comfort and also stylish, as well, yielding up a car that on every level continues to please me unceasingly! Although I have other vehicles that are much newer (and many that were 'classics' in the past), this little white 1996 Hyundai Elantra GLS Wagon of mine will remain with me until one of us dies, LoL (and it shows NO sign of wearing out any time soon!). I would no sooner sell it and buy one of the latest models (of any marque) than I would replace my wonderful Husky dogs with cats!


Classify me as "WELL pleased" with this wonderful little 1996 Elantra Wagon design exercise by Hyundai Motors (and with all my past experience with motor vehicles both in the USA and abroad, I feel highly qualified to make this judgement, without qualification or further justifications).