Previously, we would have been able to answer the question “is Hyundai Elantra a good first car for a teen” without any hesitation: yes, it is. Hyundai Elantra is so good that it was even named the best car for teens by consumer reports in 2011, along with another car from Hyundai - Sonata. Hyundai Elantra is a compact sedan that has the best fuel economy in its class, handles beautifully, looks great and is packed with safety features - everything a parent needs before handing the keys to an excited teenager. However, a recent accident on a Texas highway near Dallas shows that even the safest cars tend to fail. A teenage driver crashed his Elantra at the speed of 115 mph after an alleged electronic system failure that left him without an ability to stop.
The story as we know it started with a call to the 911 line, the call that came from a panicking driver who claimed that the accelerator pedal on his Hyundai Elantra was “stuck” and that his brakes were not functioning either. The driver was Elez Lushaj , a 16-year old teenager who just recently passed his Texas driving test and who was driving down one of the highways in Northern Texas near Dallas. The operator advised the driver to try and slow the vehicle down by switching switching the car into neutral or switching the ignition off, but Lushaj reported that none of it is working.
The car was quickly picked up by a local county sheriff who pursued the speeding Hyundai while the 911 operator was trying to contact the car manufacturer to check if anything can be done to slow the vehicle down in this situation. The sheriff clocked Elantra's speed to be close to 120 mph and having no means to safely stop the vehicle, all he could do is to follow it and try to keep the traffic away from the speeding car. The chase went on for almost 113 miles where it ended in a crash.
There is definitely something fishy about the story since such a massive simultaneous failure of all systems in the vehicle is highly unlikely, as righteously noted by a Hyundai representative. Hyundai offered to investigate the accident for any system failure, however the car was not made available for investigation by the family. Some of the reporters who later watched the video of the chase also commented that the vehicle did not seem to travel at constant speed and it was definitely traveling slower than the reported speed on certain parts of the highway. The police is still investigating the crash and everything that lead to it.
Now we are getting to the main question: is the Hyundai Elantra a good car for a teen? It allegedly suffered an electronic system failure that could have lead to the crash. However, the driver survived this at the speed of almost 115 mph with what may be considered minor injuries. To our opinion, this does a lot of credit to Hyundai's safety systems, the safety systems that were designed to work at lower speeds but still did a great job at saving the driver.
So what do we have here? A teen crashes his Hyundai Elantra at the speed of 115 mph after “claiming” that the vehicle would not stop. The car's safety systems did a wonderful job at saving the drivers life. The car was not provided to the manufacturer so the accident can be investigated, so the story of the “electronic failure” cannot be confirmed.
We think that Hyundai Elantra is a great first car for any teen who just got their Texas drivers license and this accident should show parents that Hyundai manufacturer will do everything to keep their child safe, no matter the conditions!