2007 Elantra?

Anyone have the inside scoop on the 2007 Elantra, which is supposedly going to feature a major re-design?
I've found a few snippets on Edmunds.com and other places, but not a
complete list of specs and features, nor have I seen any reviews. (I assume at least the test models must be out by now.)
As I've posted here before, I am looking for the right ride for which to trade in my '04 Chevy (Malibu) Classic, which is OK but unexciting and not great on gas. The more I look at Hyundai and its cars the more appealing they seem; I had been---to some extent, still am---looking at the '06 Sonata, but all the posts about disappointing fuel economy have given me pause.
I don't expect gas prices to fall by much anytime soon, and I alas must work hard for a living....so now I want to check out the '07 Elantra, especially since its interior is supposed to be much roomier than the current model. (So roomy the EPA considers it a mid-size, I've heard.)
If true, that would alleviate one of the main reasons I never looked seriously at the Elantra before: I'm a big guy who drives a lot, sometimes with passengers and/or cargo, and I need a half-decent size car.
Anyway, the current Elantra's fuel economy numbers are not great for its class. 24/32 with the auto, as I recall. Anyone know if the new model is supposed to be better on gas? Also I am curious as to why the '06 Kia Spectra, almost identical to the Elantra mechanically, gets better mpg ratings of 25/34, while the Elantra gets better crash test ratings from the NHTSA. (Not that the Spectra's crash ratings are all that bad.)
That's a consistent pattern I've noticed in my research. Compare Accent/Rio, Elantra/Spectra or Sonata/Optima. In all cases, the Hyundai gets slightly better crash test ratings while the Kia gets slightly better mpg ratings. I thought the differences between Hyundai and Kia were supposed to be in the details and doo-dads. Curious....
All info greatly appreciated.
Thanks and Regards, Eric M
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Eric wrote:

Well, that depends on what you consider major. The redesign is largely cosmetic, with a few changes in standard equipment. Essentially, it's a new body on the same platform with the same mechanicals.
It's 2" taller and wider, and much more rounded. They claim that it feels dramatically more roomy and that's quite possible. Personally, I think they've taken all of the character out of the shape, but others my find it appealing.
The power steering is now "motor driven" and "speed sensitive", which apparently means computer-controlled electrical assist rather than hydraulic assist. It could be a big step upward in feel compared to the rather over-boosted steering in the current car and it eliminates one source of drag on the engine.
The result of the mechanical and aerodynamic changes is a claimed a 4 mpg increase in highway fuel economy, which is nothing to sneeze at. Then again, my '04 5-speed Elantra consistently gets 2-3 mpg more than its EPA highway rating at 65 mph, so I don't know how much of the increase is actual and how much is just more realistic numbers for the car. OTOH, the auto seems to struggle to achieve its EPA rating. If you want the best possible fuel economy, get the 5-speed.
Four-wheel disks are standard on all models and ABS is standard. The two upper models have 16" wheels. There is no GT in the line.
Here's a link to a discussion and some pics:
http://www.elantraclub.com/forum/index.php?showtopicw90&st=0
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http://paultan.org/archives/2006/04/15/2007-hyundai-elantra /
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Nellie wrote:

Thanks to Nellie and Brian for the info. I'll wait to see more details on the specs, safety and other features and mpg ratings, not to mention MSRP.
These motor-head websites and blogs always focus on the looks of a car first and foremost. While I like a clean line to my ride, looks are not a huge deal for me. To me that's more like the tiebreaker if it's too close to call; guess I'll never be a motorhead.
There are a few cars which I feel are garishly ugly, such as the yellow Suzuki Aero S/X a friend of mine bought last year. Even there, if Suzuki's fuel economy and reliability ratings were better, I would consider an AWD Aerio at the right price.....factoring in the cost of a paint job, that is.
Regards, Eric M
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Here's a link to an interesting review of the '07 Elantra.
http://www.autoweb.com/content/shared/articles/templates/index.cfm/article_id_int/1350
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