2012 Hyundai i30 (Elantra Touring) - Frankfurt Auto Show

Does anyone notice the remarkable resemblance between the Hyundai Elantra compact sedan sold in the United States and this, the Hyundai i30 five-door compact hatchback about to go on sale in Europe? Yep, it's pretty much the same car.

Hyundai unveiled the new i30 at the Frankfurt Auto Show, and although the name might not ring any bells over in the New World, it is coming here, badged as the Elantra Touring. Aha, ding, ding. The equivalent model in the previous-generation Elantra was always the overlooked bridesmaid to the sedan's far more popular bride - that's just how American tastes run.

To buy a Touring right now would still mean getting the old model. But Hyundai has re-affirmed its commitment to offer a five-door (and, frankly, more practical) version of the Elantra to buyers in the United States. With the 2012 Ford Focus now making five-door hatchery more acceptable, perhaps this newer generation of Elantra Touring will be catching the bouquet after all. Especially since it now offers more passenger room and 10 percent more cargo space.

The 2012 Hyundai Elantra sedan starts at $16,445 (add another $1,000 for an automatic transmission) and the sole engine in the range is a 148-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder. So expect something similar when the new Touring version filters into showrooms, possibly as a 2013 model. We'll provide more information when Hyundai makes it available.

 

See more coverage of the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show.

 

COLIN RYAN has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.