What compact sedan can you buy that costs around $23,000, is fuel-efficient, and comes with fresh styling and an upscale interior? If you answered the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla you would be close. It actually comes from Hyundai.
This week, we tested the all-new 2017 Elantra to see what changes the South Korean automaker has made to the compact sedan.
Are they keeping up with their Japanese rivals?
What’s New For 2016?
The Hyundai Elantra gets a complete redesign for 2017. It features new exterior styling, a more upscale interior, new engines, a stiffer structure, and upgraded technology offerings. It’s also larger than previous models.
Features & Options
The 2017 Elantra Limited ($22,350) comes standard with lots of power accessories: a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40-split folding rear seatback, six-speaker sound system with satellite radio, and a CD player. The Limited gets a few upgrades over the standard SE too.
Limited features 17-inch alloy wheels, additional chrome trim, LED taillights, leather seats, a power-adjustable driver seat (with power lumbar adjustment), Hyundai’s Blue Link system, and a second (charge-only) USB port.
Total MSRP including destination: $23,185.
The 2017 Elantra is slightly bigger than the outgoing model. The design team created more interior space with the same wheelbase as before. Stepping inside reveals a more modern, upscale cabin. There’s very little hard surfaces inside, and almost no shiny plastic.
The front seats are comfortable for long commutes and the padding and support have been improved. The tilt/telescoping steering wheel and power seats allow the driver to find the perfect driving position, which is not always the case in a compact sedan. The inside almost feels like a mid-size car with the extra room.
Leather is part of the Limited trim level, making our Elantra tester feel more upscale. That makes it a good value for the $23,000 price tag. The rear seat is habitable for average size adults we found. It’s still a small compact, but it’s a comfortable place in the front and back.
It gets the latest infotainment and telematics, including Apple Car Play and Android Auto.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. It doesn’t sound like much, but it seems to work well with the 6-speed automatic. The new engine gets a power decrease from 173 horsepower to 147, an adjustment likely made to increase gas mileage.
EPA estimated fuel economy is 28/37 city/highway and 32 combined mpg with the automatic. This is an improvement of several miles per gallon over former Elantra models.
Hyundai lowered the power numbers for Elantra in the name of efficiency and it worked. If you are looking a for a fast, performance oriented small sedan, the Elantra isn’t for you. It’s still got plenty of power for most driving situations, but it isn’t a sports model by any means. We would rate the sedan a 6 out of 10 on the fun-to-drive meter, if we are being generous.
In city traffic, this car is easy to drive and will get you to your destination without issue, however.
On the open highway, the Elantra’s stiffer structure delivers a smooth and comfortable ride. It gives the driver a feeling of confidence with a reassuring solid feel at highway speeds. Inside the cabin, the Elantra is quieter than the outgoing model. It gets additional noise insulation and it’s a strong point for the sedan.
We took it up into the mountains west of Denver and the compact car did surprisingly well. We were able to keep up our momentum until a slower car stopped up the fast lane we were in. It took awhile to get back up to our intended speed.
If you are looking for a good value, the new 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited is a solid choice. It’s affordable, stylish, comfortable, and fuel efficient. It gives the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla a good run for their money with a composed ride and healthy list of high-tech features.
*Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy
Video: Bob King Hyundai, 1601 Silas Creek Pkwy, Winston-Salem, NC 27127