By Steven Weiland

I’m a big fan of The Walking Dead, both the graphic novel and the television series, and I’ll be the first to acknowledge the great contribution that writer Robert Kirkman has made to the zombie sub-genre. But he is now also responsible for designing possibly the worst zombie survival vehicle ever for an advertising scheme for corporate partner Hyundai.

What really gets me is that the base car used, a Hyundai Elantra, could make a fine zombie vehicle. However, many of the “upgrades” made to it go directly against its natural survival advantages.

In the video above, fabricator Gary Castillano explains all that’s not right with this modified Elantra. Here are the main issues:

  1. ARMOR PLATING – The first modification is to add armor plating, which instantly turns the car from a light and fuel efficient escape vehicle into a slow and lumbering gas guzzler. With no gas stations to fill up every 20 miles, you’ll be stalled in no time flat.
  2. COW CATCH – Despite the added weight, it could make sense to add a scoop in the front of the car to push any zombies or other debris out of your way, right? But then they inexplicably add spikes, which are designed to impale and trap, rendering the scoop worthless.
  3. WINCH – A winch could be good, but it’s only on the front of the car. So you better hope that you never drive head first into trouble and need to pull yourself out from behind. Plus it’s mounted behind the scoop–not sure how that’s supposed to work, but good luck!
  4. WINDOW BARS – Covering the windows to prevent zombies from getting in is smart, but the custom steel bars they install are so wide apart that there’s plenty of room from hands and arms to reach in when the glass breaks. Why not just use bulletproof glass?
  5. WHEEL SPIKES – So we’re already completely destroyed the Elantra’s fuel efficiency, but the wheel spikes eliminate its second most valuable natural asset: maneuverability. With the spikes attached, the car is too wide to fit through tight spots, let alone the average garage door.
  6. ESCAPE HATCH – The solid steel escape hatch on the top of the car is impressive. But I guess they never got the memo that the Hyndai Elantra already comes with an optional escape hatch called a sunroof. But let’s add more weight for the fun of it!

The final advantage of the Elantra is that it blends in to almost any setting. The last thing you want to do in a zombie outbreak is stand out and attract attention from any zombies or other hostile humans in the area. But this modified Hyundai will do nothing more than draw a crowd.

Sure it’s a creative advertising stunt, and sure I shouldn’t take these things so seriously. I just wish they would have considered actual zombie survival issues when designing it, because I think their campaign would have been a lot more successful in the end.


  1. This is all interesting as i love the walking dead series and other zombie movies, but I really hope you do not think there is ever gonna be a zombie apocalypse lol

  2. If you use titanium or its alloys, or ceramic and ceramic metal hybrids, these are all decently light, very strong and probably good for armoring your car. The weight may no longer be that big of a problem. As for everything else i pretty much agree. the window bars are flawed. i would just use a plexiglass, probably lighter than regular glass, and stronger, or even a polycarbonate, even lighter than plexiglass. Remove the spikes from the front scoop, and make it out of a light material like i previously stated. The sunroof can stay, put the cage around it. Tear out the back seats and a good bit of unnecessary interior to compensate for weight. The wheel spikes are removable and i feel like the pros are equivalent to the cons so they can stay or leave i couldn’t care less. These modifications, and i think we’ve got ourselves a pretty good zombie survival vehicle on our hands.

  3. The addition of the spikes to the wheels will also cause the wheels to be very unbalanced, meaning they will shake violently if you go over about 20 mph.

  4. And with those unbalanced wheel spikes on there, have fun ruining ALL of the wheel mounting components.

  5. Do the wipers still work under the windshield bars? One might find the need to wipe some blood or other bodily fluid off the windshield. Id rather deck out a 4runner or some such.

  6. + ARMOR PLATING – Agree
    + COW CATCH – Agree
    + WENCH – Why add a wench and not change the ride height? A taller ride height would allow much more maneuverability
    + WINDOW BARS – What they forgot was heavy grate/mesh welded to the some of the bars. Safety Tempered Glass doesnt break that easily, and allows for the windows to roll down. Bullet proof glass is thicker than glass, scratches easier, and is heavier. In the world of TWD darker tinted glass (low observability) would serve better than bulletproof
    + WHEEL SPIKES – They would do much to the fuel efficiency
    + ESCAPE HATCH – As you said there is a sun roof that does need to have the glass protected.

    The bigger issue would why would somebody choose a 2 door vehicle with an anemic 1.6l engine and two wheel drive (vs AWD or 4wd) to do this modifications to the Genesis or Santa Fe would have served as a better Hyundai base for a zombie (escape?) vehicle

  7. Having a “wench” around would be really nice. And one mounted to a car? Well, she can’t bleedin’ well get away in that case, now can she? Always know where she is that way.

    However, a “winch” is a useful tool often found mounted on a vehicle involving a cable and some method of putting tension on said cable.

    Other than picking at nits… I agree, the vehicle is pretty silly. 😉

  8. Wow, what a fail on their part. The spikes are the most glaring, and instead of a cow catch, why not use a snow plow? Lighter weight, same effect, right? Also, more available and actually designed for civilian vehicles.

    However, the most USELESS part is the metal netting over the brake lights. Really? We’re protecting the BRAKE LIGHTS? Yeah, real essential for combating the undead. Armor and iron bars are worthless, and what? No gun ports? They already make them, be just as easy as the iron bars, and you’d be able to roll down the windows more than with the bars. AND you’d be able to shoot from inside, with a bulletproof window to open and close.

  9. While I agree with everything that Steven pointed out, the thing we have to keep in mind is that good [Hollywood] storytelling versus sound logic based on reality are often two very different things. For example, in nearly every Sci-Fi movie we see, every space scene is illuminated with millions of visible stars when the reality is that the void is far less visually interesting. This misperception of space has become so accepted that occasionally space-related documentaries use the “starry night sky” effect for their space scenes, too.

    Most zombie-genre films are full of leaps of rational offensive and defensive logic. That brings about imperfect strategies that typically add to the fun and excitement of the story. And that Hyundai Elantra is a perfect plot twist waiting to happen when some hero tries to jam through a mob and ends up getting wedged on a mound of corpses.

  10. anthony edmondson

    Give me a Mercedes Uni-mog and im good to go! Its funny that you guys post this today because i was thinking about there useless Elantra this morning! lol

  11. I think in the interests of advertising they wanted it too look bad ass instead of being bad ass…

    The zombie car version of leaping sideways through the air while firing two guns, looks awesome, but in a real world shoot out… yeah

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