1999 Hyundai Lantra Special Lean-burn 1.5 DOHC from South Korea


Great car, if not for the rust


This model is called the Hyundai Avante in Korea.

I have purchased this car as used car, at 600,000KRW (approximately 580USD / 400EUR). It was about to be scrapped, but someone listed it on the board of open-market.

The domestic (in Korea) versions are very vulnerable to ust, because they are not galvanized with zinc. Mine is also suffering from rusting of the rear wheelhouse and side-seal. This is chronic in domestic Korean cars manufactured before 2009.

Nevertheless, it certainly is value for money. The only problem that required maintenance was one CV-joint, so I replaced it.

Except for this, no problem was caused at all, the engine is so reliable and economic (average consumption is around 14KPL).

Just for the maintenance, I replaced the rocker arm gasket and trivial parts.

General Comments:

Since it has got a lean-burn engine (I think this lean-burn system engine is not equipped for the export models), well this can make the movement quite sluggish when the system is on, but in urban areas, it isn't really annoying. When driving on the motorway, except for the up-hill sections, or sudden acceleration, the power is enough.

The only drawback is the rust problem (only for the domestic Korean models).

Except for this, this J2 Lantra (Elantra/Avante) is the perfect car still, nowadays. The parts are very cheap, easy to obtain and fix. The design of this car is still not that old-fashioned.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th May, 2014

1999 Hyundai Lantra SE 1.8 from Australia and New Zealand


A basic 'value-for-money' car that will not let you down


Nothing serious.

Drivers side window has a nasty rattle (which I am yet to sort out), and there seems to be quite a bit of road noise.

General Comments:

This car is no speed demon. It is slow to take off, but has more than adequate overtaking power on the highway.

It is light to handle and easy to park.

The seats are comfortable, and the radio/CD player buttons are so small that it's easy to become cross-eyed trying to work them out.

The car has not missed a beat over the last 20,000 kilometres. Very reliable, starts every time, runs well.

Good kill switch ensures that it is not a great target for thieves.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th October, 2007

22nd Jan 2013, 13:42

It is a very reliable car. Love it. Every time I ask my wife to update, she says I am very happy with my car. 191000 km, never missed a beat. Beautiful car.

1999 Hyundai Lantra Sportswagon from Australia and New Zealand


Only buy it if you need a wagon and can't afford a better model!


Central locking failed TWO DAYS after purchase. As this was a private purchase of a 2nd hand vehicle, the previous owner said "tough luck".

Check Engine light comes on every time car is started, but then turns off after you start driving. This only started a few weeks after purchase, and stopped again for a few weeks after I had a major service done, but is now happening again and my mechanic doesn't have a clue why.

Tinted windows aren't effective in blocking heat at all...

Interior is VERY cramped when more than 3 people in the car, and the seats are VERY uncomfortable - Driver and Passenger seats have forward/backward movement only, no Up/Down so a tall person will bang their head. I'm 5'3" and my head is almost brushing the ceiling!

My last wagon was a Mazda, which was very roomy and comfy, and could transport three adults in the back seat no problem. The Lantra is very small inside, being made in Korea and designed for smaller people... more suitable for a family with quite young children (up to 8 years old), but any older than that and you'll definitely need a larger vehicle.

Fuel economy seems good, but it would have to be better than my previous vehicle, which was a much larger Mazda.

There is a lot of driving noise with this car... around town is not very noticeable, but highway driving and anything over 80ks you get a horrible excess road noise, which reverberates from the back of the car - sounds like you're in a large vibrating metal drum, which basically you are...

General Comments:

The only good things I can really say about this car are apparently good fuel economy and the interior looks very nice. Neutral bluey/great velour seats look and feel much nicer then standard "cheapie" interiors found in other vehicles, but the seats are very hard and moulded with almost no padding, so quite uncomfortable, especially for larger buttocked people.

I would definitely not buy this model again, and possibly not even consider a Hyundai again. Think I'll hold out and save up for another Mazda wagon.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 10th September, 2007

20th Mar 2010, 19:52

Mate, you must have gotten a raw deal on your car then. Just because YOU got a crappy second hand car, doesn't mean you can/should run down the rest. In this review, you are reviewing your own car, not the cars in general.

My car is the same '99 sportswagon...

Anyway, I bought it second hand as well, but I don't understand, I'm 6'3" and I've still got 2-3 inches of head space above me 'til the roof.

There's no loud engine noise coming from the rear of the car exceeding 80 kilometers per hour, it's very good on fuel, the seats are actually VERY comfortable, and there is enough room and it's very spacious for 3-4 average sized people.

Recommendation - good first car, cheap on fuel powerful enough for most people (it's not a race car, but it's not a snail either) heaps of room for extra baggage, low maintenance.

21st Mar 2013, 10:08

I've also got a 2nd hand Hyundai Elantra sports wagon. I'm gonna keep this short and sweet.

The car has given me NO trouble at all. It's great on fuel and has put up with a lot of abuse. My car has been driven on rough dusty roads, taken thru water half way up the wheels, been tipped on it side, and never ever managed to skip a beat!

10th Jun 2013, 06:39

I totally agree, I bought one in 2000, and 225000km on the clock. No hiccups, and it's a beauty.

26th Jan 2015, 00:22

This sounds more like the type of review I have been reading. I am checking these out because my mum is looking at buying a 1999, so I thought I'd do some research. I feel for the large buttocked person who used to drive a Mazda 626; a raw deal indeed. Perhaps a Ford may be a better option in term of fitting a larger than normal person in the car.

However as far as my mum is concerned, the model seems like it might fit the bill nicely. She currently drives a Suzuki Grand Vitara, which has been an awesome vehicle, and despite claims of poor fuel economy, she gets good mileage. But she is 70 now and just needs a smaller car. Does anyone know if there have been problems with the auto trans on these models?