For 2017 Hyundai introduces their 6th generation Elantra, and it’s destined to be a big hit. Gone is last year’s brash, in-your-face design that separated it styling-wise from the more bland competitors in this compact car segment. Now we have an emphasis on a more elegant shape, and sophisticated style, and that sophistication is evident throughout the cabin and in the entire feel of this new model.
Boomerang-shaped LED running lights fame a deeper, wider gill, with chrome horizontal slats that give the front end a more bold and obvious presence. The cut lines on the sides of the Elantra flow nicely along to the rear LED taillights. A small spoiler on the trunk deck lid, and nice sporty lower rear fascia adds visual appeal. Aiding the overall looks of the Elantra was the stunning Electric Blue Metallic paint that is one of the nicest shades of blue you can find on any car at any price.
The Elantra Limited is powered by a new inline 4-cylinder motor that puts out 147 horsepower and 132 ft. lbs. of torque. That puts it in the middle of the pack with the competition. The power is more than adequate if not thrilling, (you’ll get a bit more oomph by pushing the drive mode button to Sport) but it’s also a more refined engine than the competitors.
It’s quiet, composed, and well mated to the 6-speed manumatic transmission, which also feels smooth under all conditions.
The gas mileage is very good with 28 City, and 37 Highway. Most of my driving was under highway conditions, and despite several hundred miles driving above the speed limit, I got just over 40 mpg. There is an Eco trim model with a 1.4 liter turbo engine that makes 128hp, but the gas savings is only 6 miles per gallon city, and 3 on the highway. I would like to get behind the wheel of the Sport model with a 201hp 1.6 liter turbo. I’m sure that would add some driving excitement into the Elantra.
The Elantra isn’t meant to be a sport sedan. But the basic strut front and twist-beam rear suspension and a stiffer body, combine to produce a supple comfortable ride quality on any road surface, and the Elantra feels composed and solid when tracking through the twisty bits. It never feels like an economy car. Hit the sport setting, and in addition to a wider rev range, you’ll also notice that the steering assist helps it track more precise. The Elantra won’t beg you to drive it hard, but it will allow you to.
The cabin is also a bright spot, with the redesign making it look very much like the larger Sonata model, which means a handsome clean design. In a nod to its price point, there is a lot of plastic throughout, but at least it’s textured to look better than it feels. We also wish that the door sills, and armrests were a bit softer to the touch.
But there is plenty of storage space, especially the large closing cubby at the base of the center stack, where you have two 12-volt outlets, a USB and AUX plugs, and plenty of room to store two cell phones. More outlets can be found in the center console.
The heated leather seats are much more comfortable than the previous model’s, and nicely bolstered. There’s a lot of room in the cabin both in front and rear. The moonroof also aids in an open airy feeling. One of the best improvements this year is how quiet the cabin is.
They’ve used a lot of sound deadening materials so that occupants and driver can talk or listen to music a low levels easily, and there’s no wind noise at speed. The trunk is large, and there are spring loaded rear seat-back releases to lower the rear seats, and even the sunglass holder in the headliner is lined with soft material to prevent scratches and annoying rattles. Again, with the emphasis on upscale sophistication, the new Elantra checks off all the boxes.
Hyundai has always been known for value, by offering a lot of excellent features as standard equipment. That hasn’t changed.
The Limited trim level includes a rearview camera, with blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert. 17” alloy wheels, side mirror turn indicators, and door handle approach lights. 6-speaker audio system, a 7” touchscreen, android and Apple car play, Automatic Climate Control, Steering wheel controls for audio and cruise control, power driver’s seat with lumbar support, leather heated front seats, proximity key with push button start, and more.
All these standard features can be had for only $22,350. Our test car added the $2,500 Tech Package that gets you an 8” touchscreen, and Navigation system, along with an Infinity Premium sound system with 8 speakers, a 4.2” color dash display between the speedo and tach, the moonroof, heated rear seats, and auto-dimming rearview mirror with home link and compass.
The Ultimate Package for $1,900 was also present, and that buys you HID headlights with dynamic Bending Light, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Smart Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, Drivers memory seat and outside mirrors. Carpeted floor mats, rear cargo tray and rear bumper protection added another $290.
The bottom number with freight came to only $27,880. What I really appreciate about this car is that many of the tech and safety features in these two packages are not even available on many of the other cars in this class.
The week before, my test car was a delightful Lexus ES 350, that stickered for just under $48,000. The Elantra had all of the same features and technology as the Lexus, and yet I was astonished that the Lexus, even at $20,000 more, didn’t have heated front seats, much less the heated rear seats that the Elantra was equipped with.
I know that nobody interested in a Lexus ES 350 will be cross shopping it with the Elantra, but it makes you think about how much car you can get for a very reasonable cost. So if you’re looking for a comfortable, refined, roomy family sedan, with a lot of standard content, and reasonably priced option packages, take a ride down to your Hyundai, and take the Elantra for a test ride.
Ken “Hawkeye” Glassman has been a motor journalist for over 30 years, reviewing automobile, as well as motorcycle ride reviews and accessory reviews.
His car articles have appeared in Robb Report Magazine, Autoguide.com, Car-Revs-Daily.com and other media. His work has also appeared in Road Bike Magazine, Motorcycle Tour and Cruiser, SpeedTV.com, MotorcycleUSA.com and others.
As motorcycle columnist for The Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, the paper became the only major circulation newspaper in the country to have a separate weekly section devoted to motorcycles. Later he wrote a weekly column for Cyclefocus Magazine.