2017 Hyundai ELANTRA Ultimate – Road Test Review + Drive Video

The 2017 Elantra Limited is a knockout.

It blew us away with its supremely European handling and best-ever-tested autonomous drive.

How do we do this phenomenal car justice in a text-only written review?  Impossible!

As such, we have the usual 50 photos of the car plus a very cool HD drive video to come along for the ride.

Just try not to be wowed by what this Acura ILX rival can do!


HD DRIVE VIDEO – 2017 Hyundai ELANTRA Ultimate





First things first, though.  How does it look?  Remarkably mature and sophisticated.  The Elantra Limited is the top of the range, and this car brings along a few key upgrades versus other Elantras.  Most notably, the 17-inch alloys that fill out the arches far more confidently than the MPG-focused rims on the also-tested 2017 Elantra ECO.

LED daytime running lights are joined by LED taillights for the Limited spec, and our car goes beyond this for the lighting.  The Tech and Ultimate packs bring along HID low-beams with adaptive cornering functionality.  A feature that astounded us on cars like the F-Type R Jaguar and Infiniti QX80 — now available in a $27k compact?

The swivel of the HID projector balls around corners is not the only swanky feature of the Elantra, though.  Far from it.  More on the huge list of goodies the Tech/Ultimate upgrades bring along in the next section.

For now, the styling.  Up front, we have a confident new full-frame grille in dark satin grey with horizontal slats.  The LEDs make an upward strake on each front fender, leading into the matching-white HID lowbeam nicely.  The whole look is slightly softer in front than the new Civic, and has a bit of Dodge Dart-meets-Corolla S about its general face.  Not a bad thing on first glance, but not terrific either.

The 2017 Elantra is a full inch wider than before, but loses much of the crisp panel shaping from the 2016 models.  This is most visible in profile, were the new Elantra has much smoother, more rounded appearances for its upper shoulderline.  This subtle, upward-arcing swage line was previous razor-sharp and appeared to be quite a deep metal stamping.  The effect helped the old Elantra look remarkably fresh, even a few years since its arrival.

The new model loses that crisp, unique look to its flanks and most of its nose/tail.  The replacement?  A more timeless and global — perhaps even Euro, dare we say — clean feel to the car all around.  There are highlights, though.  We love the curt overhangs front and rear.  The integrated spoiler out back is actually the trunk metal pulled rearward in a classy and very BMW-like flip at its edges.

Slimline taillights are gorgeous with their three individual LED light-pods, and the car is actually quite handsome from the rear three-quarter angle — ever a tough one for compact sedans.

The 2017 Elantra might not visually captivate as well as the previous generation, but this metalwork is far, far stiffer than ever before.  A rigid chassis makes solid mounting points for its new Euro-honed suspension and drive controls.  Into the cabin we go!


The Elantra’s cabin is instantly one of the best-assembled and highest quality in its segment. Perhaps slightly behind the new Honda Civic for feeling pricey, but far better than the Honda or Acura ILX at feeling classy and serene.  The new design eschews wild dashboard curves for a clean, geometric aesthetic for its low and unintrusive dashboard design.  The appeal of a low upper dash is clear: it helps avoid that Ford Focus-like claustrophobia — where the center pod feels like it wants to come sit in your lap.

No, the Elantra’s upper dash is chill, calm and keeps its distance.  Visibility is terrific and the silver-sheen effect lining the main controls is actually pretty elegant.  It is metallicized so its cool to the touch.  Also is non-reflective and and won’t shoot a weird sun angle directly into your eye.  Not as much of a clifflike top to the dash really is a smart effort.  See the Corolla’s clifflike switch between upper dash and center to know why Hyundai’s is better.

Simple shapes also have a side benefit: they make the controls and layout easy to master.  Getting in for the first time leaves an unmistakable sense of quality to the Elantra.  Push on those door panels, tug the dash and feel the soft-touch plastics.  All very, very impressive.

The leather seating of this Elantra Limited is nice to have, with subtle perforations (but not full cooled seats, which are still a bit above this pricepoint).  The leather feels acceptably soft, but not as great as the semi-aniline leather wrap for the steering wheel and shifter.  These touchpoints are phenomenally good.

Seating support is quite good around corners. Seating position is top-of-class, too, with a huge range of adjustment.  Mercifully, the seat can ride deep and low toward the floor — at least an extra four inches lower than possible in any Focus or Corolla.  Perfect for sporty drivers and tall folks alike.

An unusually huge range of adjustment for the tilt/telescoping steering wheel comes far out and very low when needed.  All quite good.  Almost as good as the easy-to-master MID-cluster controls, operated via a very high-tech-feeling toggle on the steering-wheel. (This high-res midcluster is actually part of the Tech pack below, not a Limited standard feature.)  Unlike most mainstream cars, though, the Elantra lets you make real changes to the car’s settings and displays.  Another rarity for the one-mode-fits-all mood in many compacts.


The Elantra Limited comes standard with guidelined backup camera, proximity key/pushbutton start, touchscreen audio, dual automatic climate controls, LED blinker repeaters in the mirrors, exterior approach puddle lamps, handsfree SmartTrunk and more.  It is seriously plush in there for a price in the 22s.  Android Auto and Apple CarPlay?  Yes.  Bluetooth of course, even Hyundai Bluelink connected-car services as a trial.  Seriously impressive stuff, with almost none of the above goodies available on most rivals at any cost.

All this is well and good for the Elantra and its new owner (you).

LIMITED ULTIMATE?  Industry-Leading

Where the car is a premium-killer in its upgrades comes in two stages.  The first is the $2500 Tech Pack and the second is the $1900 Ultimate pack.  Going Ultimate requires the tech box checked first, by the way.


  • 8-inch touchscreen nav (+1 inch vs 7-inch screen in lower Elantras, plus adds nav
  • premium 8-speaker audio with subwoofer
  • high-res 4-inch mid cluster menu/display
  • moonroof
  • heated front and rear seats
  • auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink and compass


  • HID lowbeams with dynamic bending light
  • auto emergency braking
  • smart cruise
  • lane-keep assist (!  more on this below)
  • memory seats and mirrors

It is VERY rare for us to make lists of features.  We’re just slightly astounded that all these very-new and very-advanced items come on a compact car at all.  Let alone for about $4400 more than the stock machine.

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About The Author

Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly expanding automotive news magazine.He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.