Driving mini-me cars isn't pretty for a family of four, but that's just part of my gig here at Mother Proof and shows what I'm willing to do for you. Do you feel the love, dear readers? Well, listen up ladies, I'm going out on a limb here to let you know that the 2007 Hyundai Elantra is downright and surprisingly roomy. Yes! And that means that I can give my thesaurus a much-needed break from the typical frantic search for "small" synonyms, which I'm occasionally confronted with when tooling around in little clown cars.

When I pick up the Hyundai Elantra, expecting to be crammed in and underwhelmed, (which is not exactly what I have in mind for my crankoid family after weeks of confinement compliments to our snow-laden winter) I find that the 2007 Elantra looks pretty sharp for a budget car, and it actually proves to be fun to drive. You heard me right, my friends, it's fun to drive! I enjoy the peppy engine and the manual transmission. Parking is a breeze, and I easily squeeze between huge pickup trucks and SUVs. Zipping around just about anywhere is groovy in this little fuel-efficient dynamo. Come to think of it, I'm feeling kind of young and college-studenty all over again. Yippee, yeah, yeah ... bring it on! In fact, the boring Hyundai I remember from high school and college is long gone and has been replaced by a much more sporty, ergonomic and comfortable car.

But what strikes me about the Elantra is the fact I never say to myself, "I wish it had..." I don't miss anything that isn't already there. Just like cleaning my closets and getting rid of all the clutter: Sure, I have less stuff, but what I need is right there and ready to go. No more "vintage" sweats from high school, no more mismatched socks, or fluorescent pink Wet 'N Wild lipstick from 1989 lurking in the back of a drawer. There is a place for everything and everything in its place. But if and when I need to haul all my vintage clothing to Goodwill, the trunk of the Elantra is totally capable, and I'm pleasantly surprised by the room back there.

Since I'm talking about cargo and space, I would do well to mention all the wonderful consoles and storage for the driver and front passenger. There's a lidded compartment on top of the dashboard perfect for pens, paper, snacks, and cell phones, but not for lipstick or balm-I'm too nervous it would melt in the sun and require a trip to the makeup aisle. (On the other hand, I could use a new shade of gloss...). There's a compartment in the console beneath the stereo which is perfect to store several CDs, and also a fairly decent illuminated glove box. There are cup holders in the front, and two in the rear center armrest. Also, the rear seats split 60/40 to fold down in case I need a little more room. Upon further research, I learn the Elantra has the most interior space of any car in its class. Indeed!

As far as safety goes, I want to note that there are six standard airbags in the Elantra, including side-curtain airbags for the back seat. Standard! I love it. Also, I'm happy to tell you that the Elantra comes with ABS. One safety hiccup with the Elantra is the back seat. Installing car seats is easy enough, and the kids have just enough personal space. Three car seats will not fit in the back seat. Three boosters just might if they don't have any cup holders. So take note of the fact that while the Elantra more interior space in its class, it's still not a school bus.

The main issue I have with this car is that the back shelf comes up so high it's difficult to see out the rear window. It would seem odd to wish for a backup camera in a small budget car, but I do with the Elantra. I am extra careful backing up in this baby.

If I were looking for a new car and wanted to shop at a real makeup counter and not an aisle in my grocery store, I would be doing myself a service to check out the Elantra. With a base price of just $13,395, I'd forget what I thought I might be missing in a budget vehicle. Hyundai has surprised me with their small, er, half-pint car with big space!

*For more information on the 2007 Hyundai Elantra and its safety features visit Cars.com.


LATCH Connectors: 2

Seating Capacity (includes driver): 5


Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample

Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair - Ample


Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Fair - Great

Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove On): Good Times