One year ago to the day, I walked into Ron Marhofer Hyundai in Green after finding a used 2011 Elantra with 5,000 miles. A week earlier, focused on a Ford Focus, I had decided to hold off until after the auto shows. The theory was that by waiting, more cars could potentially come off short-term leases and end up on lots with slashed pricing on recently-used 2012 cars. I was also grappling with the (at the time) potentially awesome Subaru Impreza revision. But this Elantra, with a low price and a few thousand miles on the odometer, charmed me into shunning the tech I had desired for an opportunity to get in that day.
The car was listed below Kelly Blue Book (for a reason, we’ll get to that…) and seemed like quite a deal with only 5,000 miles on the odometer. Listed at 40 MPG highway, this seemed like the perfect car for the impending mileage. At the time, I was still part time, but doing the 500+ miles a week I knew would be ahead of me each week. The PT, by my own fuel mileage estimates, would get 21 MPG combined at best. I was sold by the dreams of doubling my fuel economy, and thereby saving gas money each week.
So that day one year ago, Ruby (yes, I nickname my cars…you should too) was sold and Elle became my willful companion. Elle has been with me on nearly weekly roundtrips between Strongsville, Pittsburgh, Stow, and Vermillion. She gets monthly oil changes (Hyundai recommends oil changes every 3,000 miles in Ohio…7,500 in places more fortunate) and has never been a problem child. Marhofer’s service associates nearly know me by name at this point, and tell me that I am only second to a woman in a 2006 Elantra in mileage accrued in a year. In fact, some upcoming service will be done for the first time on a 2011 Elantra at Marhofer…on my car.
Elle is slightly less stock now, although they are definitely enhancements. My Elantra received a proper spare tire for emergencies. While I do have AAA and it is only a “just in case” item, I felt more comfortable having a normal spare tire replace the standard-issue air pump with fix-a-flat goo kit. Also for my birthday, she received a remote car starter. While not necessarily what I had expected for my birthday, the gift has definitely been helpful now that Old Man Winter showed up.
There have been several hiccups with my Elantra so far. First of all, my driving revealed that the front bumper had been previously repaired at some point. The issue had not shown up via CarFax, which had only shown that the vehicle had been repossessed from its previous owner. After taking pictures and having the damaged looked over, the dealership (Ron Marhofer) decided that the damage had not occurred while they had the car, and would not repair or replace the bumper. Although they did offer me a $1,000 replacement if I wanted to have it fixed properly. Nah, no thanks.
Secondly, I didn’t have a memorandum title until March. The dealership had to send me a second temporary tag due to the delays, which was more of a headache than a true problem. They shipped me the memorandum title and plates as soon as they arrived…it just took forever on their end (or the state’s end, or the bank’s end, who knows…) for some reason.
Lastly, the car has become eligible for Hyundai’s Fuel Economy Reimbursement program. While I am grateful that the company has offered a solution to owners who are receiving less MPG’s than advertised, it kind of sucks when you find out that the car you bought for 40 MPG highway is now only rated at 38. And in reality, the days of 35+ MPG are long gone. Usually I project about 350-360 MPG before needing to refuel for 10-11 gallons of gas. The trip computer usually shows between 30-34 MPG’s in what I would describe as 70% highway driving. I will gladly take Hyundai’s reimbursement over a class-action lawsuit, though, and am happy that the program continues once a year for the length of time the car is owned. The only thing I wish I could change is that the payments would come via check instead of prepaid debit cards. But I digress.
My Elantra has been a good car, and I expect to drive it until 100,000 miles. Hyundai’s powertrain warrantee ends at that point, which makes continued ownership slightly risky. If my levels of driving are reduced, I could potentially change my game plan but we’ll see what the next year holds. of course, I guess we also have to get past “Wacky Mayan Day,” right?