The Elantra did not perform well in tests: its airbag and seat belt did not safeguard the driver adequately. What’s more, his knees were also poorly protected and as a result he risked knee and leg injuries. While the Elantra’s body was strong and safe around its occupants, the floor pan distorted in the frontal impact and this allowed the driver’s seat to move forward and outward. This, testers concluded after inspecting the car, caused the seat belt to slacken and allowed the driver’s head and chest to hit the steering wheel. Also, a door opened during the side impact, increasing risks.
The airbag deployed but the driver’s head and chest hit the steering wheel. These results indicated a risk of injury and the driver might suffer worse harm if the circumstances were different. Testers also found hard areas beneath the fascia that could injure the driver’s legs and knees. The clutch pedal was driven a long distance rearwards by the impact, presenting a risk to his lower limbs. What’s more, the force of the impact moved his seat upwards and outwards, slackening his belt and increasing his chances of suffering serious injuries as a result. On a more positive note, the Elantra’s centre rear passenger is given a three-point belt which provides greater protection than a static, lap-only belt could.
The rear door on the side of the car struck in the impact opened and anyone in the rear risked ejection. Otherwise, the Elantra performed well, although the driver ran a limited risk of sustaining abdominal injuries.
A passenger’s front airbag is fitted as standard and this could prove hazardous to a child if placed in a rear-facing restraint opposite it. But the warnings given were unsatisfactory. There was nothing in writing to accompany the pictogram fixed to the fascia-end, and the notice on the visor did not mention the degree of risk involved. Finally, the restraints themselves performed inadequately.
The Elantra performed in line with most rivals, giving very little protection to pedestrians.