Hyundai Elantra Best & Worst Years? (With Facts & Stats)

The Hyundai Elantra is a popular compact car known for its affordability, fuel economy, and unique exterior designs.

Now in its seventh generation, the Elantra brings with it over three decades of automotive wisdom.

JD Power rates the Elantra highly. In 2021, this vehicle received the 5th best rating among its direct competitors, scoring an 80 out of 100 consumer rating, with a remarkably high driving experience rating of 86 out of 100.

If you would like to know which model years of the Hyundai Elantra to go far (and which to steer clear of), continue reading our guide. 

Here’s the short answer to what the Best and Worst Years for the Hyundai Elantra are:

The best Hyundai Elantra model years are from 2019 onwards, 2004-2006, 2015, 2016, and 1998. On the other hand, the worst Hyundai Elantra model years are the 2017, 2010-2012, 2013, and the 2001-2002 model years. Taking note of these model years is important if you are looking to purchase a used Elantra.

What Are The Best Years For The Hyundai Elantra?

Hyundai has produced a lot of great Elantras, listed below are those that deserve a podium finish.

2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 Hyundai Elantra

The 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 Hyundai Elantra models are the kings of the hill because of their bold modern styling, up-to-date technology, sophisticated safety features, and great fuel economy. 

If you had to choose the most affordable Elantra among the bunch, then finding a used 2019 Hyundai Elantra would be your best bet. Otherwise, go for the latest 2022 Hyundai Elantra, preferably brand new.

The 2019 Hyundai Elantra received top marks from consumer ratings found on Kelley Blue Book and JD Power with a 4.2 out of 5.0 and 83 out of 100, respectively. However, it was the 2022 Hyundai Elantra that dominated reviews and consumer ratings on Edmunds with a rating of 4.8 out of 5.0

Based on information available on, all these model years combined accounted for a total of 40 problems or issues, which is remarkably low. 

One Elantra owner had this to say on Kelley Blue Book:

“Very comfortable and reliable Car. Easy to handle and good Pick up on sport mode! I have recommended this company to family and friends who are also happy!”

Over at Edmunds, this car owner had nothing but good things to say:

“If you are looking for some additional features, good gas mileage and good warranty you should go for this car without any second thought.”

2004, 2005, and 2006 Hyundai Elantra

It may feel vintage, but we strongly recommend getting the 2004, 2005, or the 2006 Hyundai Elantra for a lot of reasons. 

The 2004, 2005, and 2006 model years are known for ease of driving, stellar fuel economy, great performance on both automatic and manual transmissions, and good interior space. 

Although the trim levels were limited compared to today’s offerings, you could still acquire a great model at an affordable price without losing out on many of the great features.  

The 2004 and 2005 Hyundai Elantra have amazing reviews at Edmunds and also secured the 2nd and 3rd best consumer ratings – 4.7 out of 5.0 and 4.6 out of 5.0, respectively. On top of this, all three model years secured the best consumer rating (4.4 out of 5.0) on Kelley Blue Book, which says a lot about the greatness of this batch of model years. 

One Elantra owner had no regrets about his purchase on Kelley Blue Book:

“I bought this new and have never regretted my decision. I have never had a major problem and have maintenance done on regular schedule. Love the visibility this car gives me while driving.”

Over at Edmunds, this car owner shared his journey with his 2004 Elantra:

“…The biggest repair I’ve ever had to do on this car is replace the battery. Other than that, every day this car has started right up and performed great…”

Related: How Long Do Hyundai Elantra Last? (11 Important Facts)

2015 and 2016 Hyundai Elantra

The two model years that started the sixth generation of the Elantra franchise did not disappoint. With their compact looks, smooth handling and riding experience, and great blend between fuel economy and engine performance, the 2015 and 2016 Hyundai Elantra models were among the best of their generation.

If you are having a difficult time justifying purchasing the later models of the Hyundai Elantra but would not want to go down too much in terms of vehicle age, then the 2015 and 2016 Elantra models are a great in-between.

The 2015 and 2016 Elantra models did not secure the best scores on vehicle review sites compared to their peers in this section, but they both did great, with identical scores of 4.2 out of 5.0 and 81 out of 100 on Kelley Blue Book and JD Power, respectively.

One Elantra owner shared a fair and objective assessment of his car on Kelley Blue Book:

“I am the 1st owner and have had my Elantra for 6 years now. No major problem but minor defects pop out now and then…”

Over at Edmunds, this Elantra owner talks about his experiences with his 2015 Elantra:

“I purchased in May of 2015 and have since taken it to 2 road trips and accumulated 6k miles on it. I can honestly say its a solid purchase. Comfortable, full of features, handles well (not sporty) looks amazing…”

1998 Hyundai Elantra

With a totally different look but still a family-friendly and practical vibe, the 1998 Hyundai Elantra may not look like its successors, but it definitely packs a punch as a reliable and efficient vehicle.

Although we do not generally recommend buying vehicles with over two decades of existence in the used car market, an argument could be made for getting this vehicle at the right price.

The 1998 Elantra scored a 3.8 out of 5.0 on Edmunds and a 4.2 out of 5.0 on Kelley Blue Book. Both ratings are above average. 

One Elantra owner shared his repair experience on Kelley Blue Book:

“this is an old car. Mine is a ’98 that I bought about 5 years ago. I’ve had to do brakes and replace the alternator. That’s it. It runs really well…”

Over at Edmunds, this car owner talked about how much his wife loved the 1998 Elantra:

“I bought this car new in 1998 and my wife loves it. She would rather keep it than give it up…”

Consumer Scores For Best Hyundai Elantra Years

Below is a table that presents all the consumer ratings of the best Hyundai Elantra model years from reputable vehicle websites:

Model YearEdmunds’ Consumer RatingKelley Blue Book’s Consumer RatingJD Power’s Consumer Rating
2022 Hyundai Elantra4.8 / 5.04.1 / 5.080 / 100
2021 Hyundai Elantra4.4 / 5.04.1 / 5.080 / 100
2020 Hyundai Elantra4.1 / 5.04.2 / 5.081 / 100
2019 Hyundai Elantra4.3 / 5.04.2 / 5.083 / 100
2016 Hyundai Elantra4.1 / 5.04.2 / 5.081 / 100
2015 Hyundai Elantra3.4 / 5.04.2 / 5.081 / 100
2006 Hyundai Elantra4.3 / 5.04.4 / 5.0NA
2005 Hyundai Elantra4.6 / 5.04.4 / 5.0NA
2004 Hyundai Elantra4.7 / 5.04.4 / 5.0NA
1998 Hyundai Elantra3.8 / 5.04.2 / 5.0NA

What Are The Worst Years For The Hyundai Elantra?

The Hyundai Elantra has also been subject to criticism due to its fair share of problems or issues. The models listed below are the versions of the vehicle that you have to avoid.

2017 Hyundai Elantra

The 2017 Hyundai Elantra was supposedly introduced to build on the great success of the 2015 and 2016 model years. However, a lot of mechanical problems, along with paint-related issues, immediately halted the momentum of the model.

In several cases, the Elantra’s body paint started to peel off at an average mileage of 46,000 miles, which is relatively young for any vehicle. The average cost to fix this issue is pegged at $1,500.

The 2017 Elantra had a total of 81 complaints at and 618 problems at

The main problems of the 2017 Hyundai Elantra are the following:

  • Paint peeling
  • Engine failure
  • Lost power while driving

2010, 2011, and 2012 Hyundai Elantra

The Elantra was known for its practicality, affordability, reliability, and fuel economy. The 2010, 2011, and 2012 Hyundai Elantras proved otherwise (but were fortunately treated as an exception rather than the general rule for this esteemed model).

One of the larger concerns was fuel economy. The MPG of these model years was well below the rated fuel economy for both city and highway driving. 

The bigger, more dangerous concern, however was engine ticking, which is indicative of low oil, poor circulation, or worn-out components – this ultimately led to engine failure. Repairs for issues of this category have an average cost to fix of $4,700.

The 2012 Elantra had 162 complaints at, followed by 108 complaints and 109 complaints of the 2010 and 2011 model years, respectively. Over at, the 2012 Elantra had 784 complaints at, followed by 496 complaints and 528 complaints of the 2010 and 2011 model years, respectively. 

The main problems of the 2010, 2011, and 2012 Hyundai Elantra models are the following:

  • Transmission slipping
  • Rattles at start-up
  • Engine ticking

2013 Hyundai Elantra

It cannot be disputed that the 2013 Hyundai Elantra was the worst Elantra ever offered. There were countless reports and complaints about the model year’s engine, and several more complaints pertaining to the model’s wheels and brakes. The vehicle was ultimately a safety risk for a lot of owners.

The 2013 Elantra had a total of 542 complaints at and 1,383 problems at, the greatest amounts for any Hyundai Elantra model that ever existed.

The main problems of the 2013 Hyundai Elantra are the following:

  • MPG not close to estimates
  • Engine ticking
  • Engine failure

2001 and 2002 Hyundai Elantra

Although these two model years are technically not as bad as the previous entries, the issues presented by these two are significant enough to warrant a spot on the list of worst model years. These models were prone to overheating, excessive rust, transmission problems, and various engine issues that led to failure while driving.

The 2001 Elantra had a total of 18 complaints at and 440 problems at while the 2002 Elantra had a total of 15 complaints at and 419 problems at

The main problems of the 2001 and 2002 Hyundai Elantra models are the following:

  • Transmission slipping
  • Overheating
  • Excessive rust

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

There are several Hyundai Elantra models that have received quite a number of complaints through the years. Listed below are complaints and problems listed for each model year: 

Model YearComplaints ( (
2022 Hyundai Elantra134
2021 Hyundai Elantra754
2020 Hyundai Elantra19132
2019 Hyundai Elantra12108
2018 Hyundai Elantra25176
2017 Hyundai Elantra81618
2016 Hyundai Elantra45219
2015 Hyundai Elantra74182
2014 Hyundai Elantra89338
2013 Hyundai Elantra5421,383
2012 Hyundai Elantra162784
2011 Hyundai Elantra109528
2010 Hyundai Elantra108496
2009 Hyundai Elantra42317
2008 Hyundai Elantra27385
2007 Hyundai Elantra17342
2006 Hyundai Elantra40204
2005 Hyundai Elantra12165
2004 Hyundai Elantra14204
2003 Hyundai Elantra11295
2002 Hyundai Elantra15419
2001 Hyundai Elantra18440
2000 Hyundai Elantra11256
1999 Hyundai Elantra5182
1998 Hyundai Elantra375
1997 Hyundai Elantra4196
1996 Hyundai Elantra3138

What Problems Do Hyundai Elantras Have?

Based on the information we have gathered online, here are the most prevalent issues that you may encounter with a Hyundai Elantra:

  • Airbag-related problems
  • Engine and engine cooling problems
  • Steering problems
  • Faulty service brakes

Related: 4 Most Common Problems With Hyundai Elantra (Explained)

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Hyundai Elantra?

There are a lot of great options in the compact car segment to which the Hyundai Elantra belongs. Take a look at some of the interesting models to check out if you want to explore other options:

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy
Hyundai Elantra8.0$20,500 – $27,050City: 28-33 / Highway: 36-42
Honda Civic8.6$22,550 – $30,050City: 26-33 / Highway: 36-42
Mazda38.6$21,150 – $34,750City: 23-28 / Highway: 31-36
Kia Forte8.5$19,090 – $24,490City: 22-31 /Highway: 31-41
Toyota Corolla8.0$20,425 – $28,710City: 28-32 /Highway: 36-41
Subaru Impreza7.8$18,795 – $26,395City: 22-28 / Highway: 30-36
Volkswagen Jetta7.8$20,365 – $32,095City: 26-31 / Highway: 36-43
Nissan Sentra7.5$19,610 – $22,200City: 28-29 / Highway: 37-39
Hyundai Veloster NNA$32,500 – $34,000City: 20-22 / Highway: 27-28
Subaru WRXNA$29,105 – $41,895City: NA /Highway: NA
Volkswagen GTINA$29,880 – $39,130City: NA /Highway: NA

Related: How Long Will a Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Last? (Solved)



  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...