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2017 Hyundai Elantra: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro February 2016

The newly redesigned 2017 Hyundai Elantra is a compact sedan in size -- and price -- only. Otherwise, it's all grown up, featuring a handsome interior, high-end gadgets and a comfortable driving experience that you'd traditionally expect from a larger car.

To us, that's a good thing, because driving a small car shouldn't feel like you're in a penalty box -- and the Elantra certainly doesn't. Even basic models are well-equipped, and upscale versions are positively luxurious. The small sedan also touts a more restrained interior and exterior design than before, which means your small car doesn't have to look funky if you'd prefer to be taken seriously. Plus, every Elantra comes standard with Hyundai's excellent warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage and 10 years or 100,000 miles of powertrain protection.

Any drawbacks? Well, with its latest redesign, the Elantra is no longer the price leader of the segment, which means you may pay a little more to get the Elantra's excellent upgrades. More importantly, it competes in a segment with a lot of excellent challengers, so you'll want to shop the competition before signing the papers, no matter how much you like the Elantra.

What's New for 2017?

The Elantra is totally redesigned for 2017. Last year's coupe model was dropped, while the sedan carries on with new interior and exterior design, a totally new powertrain and a long list of new standard and optional features. Although Hyundai says the 5-door Elantra GT will carry on in its current form for one more model year before it too is redesigned, the automaker has not yet revealed details on the 2017 Elantra GT.

What We Like

High-end grown-up cabin; comfortable seats; smooth driving experience; long list of features

What We Don't

Styling doesn't stand out; certain safety features are confined solely to pricey high-end models

How Much?

$18,000-$23,400

Fuel Economy

The 2017 Hyundai Elantra is offered with two engine options. Base-level SE and upscale Limited models come with the sedan's 147-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, which is offered with a 6-speed manual (SE only) or a 6-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is 26 miles per gallon in the city and 36 mpg on the highway with the stick shift, or up to 29 mpg city and 38 mpg hwy with the automatic.

Meanwhile, the fuel-efficient Elantra Eco touts a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 128 hp. This model, which is only offered with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, is expected to earn 35mpg in combined city and highway driving -- a figure that likely translates to just over 30 mpg city and just over 40 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The latest Hyundai Elantra is offered in three trim levels: base-level SE, fuel-efficient Eco and upscale Limited.

The base-level SE ($18,000) comes standard with air conditioning, a 6-speaker sound system, power accessories (windows, mirrors and locks), a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, satellite radio and a CD player.

If you opt for an automatic transmission ($1,000 extra), you can choose two additional packages: the Popular Equipment package ($800), which features alloy wheels, a backup camera, a 7-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, steering wheel audio controls, automatic headlights and heated mirrors, and the Tech package ($1,300), which adds keyless access with a push-button starter, a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, LED running lights, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and a hands-free trunk opener.

Although pricing for the Eco has not yet been announced, it builds on the SE automatic with both packages and adds the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, unique 15-in alloy wheels and a unique 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Topping the range is the Limited ($23,400), which adds both packages from the SE model, plus 17-in alloy wheels, Hyundai's Blue Link infotainment system, leather seats, a power driver's seat and LED taillights.

Optional on the Limited is another Tech package ($2,500), which adds heated rear seats, a power sunroof, an 8-in center touchscreen, an 8-speaker Infinity sound system and a navigation system. Above that is the Limited package ($1,900), which boasts forward-collision warning with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, adaptive xenon headlights, lane-keep assist and driver memory settings.

Safety

At the time of this writing, the 2017 Elantra had not yet been crash-tested by the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

As for equipment, however, the Elantra shines. Standard on all models are anti-lock brakes, side-curtain airbags and traction control with stability control, while a backup camera, a rear cross-traffic alert system and a blind spot monitor are optional on the SE and standard on others. Although it's pricey, the Elantra Limited with the Ultimate package also includes forward-collision warning with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, adaptive xenon headlights and lane-keep assist.

Behind the Wheel

On the road, the Elantra is a mixed bag. Acceleration is only mediocre, as some rivals offer up to 40 more hp. While ride quality, handling and steering are all good, they're not great, and the Elantra lags behind some more engaging rivals such as the Mazda3 and the latest Honda Civic.

Overall, however, the Elantra feels a lot more substantial than it really is, mating more mature road manners with its more mature design. It also touts well-shaped seats, predictable handling and a soft, comfortable ride. But it doesn't stand out as especially fun or exciting to drive. Then again, we suspect most compact car shoppers aren't looking for a lot of excitement behind the wheel.

As for equipment, we found everything to be well-labeled, easy-to-use and appropriately laid out. The infotainment system is easy-to-use and quick to respond, and we like the fact that it's easy to get the Elantra with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Our only gripe was that we found the Elantra Limited's optional lane-keep assist system to be a little aggressive compared to other systems.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Honda Civic -- The newly redesigned Honda Civic is the new gold standard for this class, offering an excellent interior, a lot of new equipment, fuel-efficient engines and a lot of passenger room.

2016 Mazda3 -- The Mazda3 is among our favorite compact cars, as it offers sharp handling, sharp styling and a lot of the Elantra's gadgets.

2016 Toyota Corolla -- The Corolla is not especially attractive or loaded with features, but it gets the job done, touting a comfortable ride and long-lasting durability.

Used Hyundai Sonata -- If you like the Elantra's equipment and styling but need more space, you should consider a used version of the brand's midsize Sonata sedan, which feels like a larger version of the Elantra.

Autotrader's Advice

Picking the best Elantra is hard, because many of the excellent safety options we'd like are confined to the pricey Ultimate package in the Limited trim. As a result, we'd go with the Elantra SE with both its Popular Equipment package and its Tech package. Affordable and well-equipped, it's the best value in this lineup.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Hyundai Elantra: New Car Review - Autotrader