When we last left the Hyundai Elantra, its styling may have impressed us; but when it came to road manners, we thought it was more of a step back in time for this fastly progressing brand. Well, Hyundai certainly hasn’t gotten to where they are today by ending with a cliff hanger. Well, now there’s a new gen Elantra for ’17. So let’s tune in, and find out what happens next.
The Hyundai Elantra sedan has had its ups and downs since going on sale here in the early 90s. And despite our misgivings over the last generation, sales have skyrocketed of late to well over 200,000-units per year. Sounds like a lot, but that’s about 100,000 less than either the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla. So needless to say, Hyundai is eager to boost their sales further with this 6th-generation 2017 4-door.
Styling is perhaps not as daring as last gen, but it’s still a compact looker and fully in line with larger 4-door stablemates, Sonata and Genesis. Especially up front, where it now shares their larger grille and available signature DRLs.
Same basic platform as before, but it’s had a complete onceover; with a stiffer structure, progressively more isolated suspension, and a modest increase in overall size.
It’s 1.0-inch wider; and just shy of an inch longer, though wheelbase remains the same. 17-inch alloy wheels come with Limited trim, base SEs are equipped with 15-inch “steelies”.
Most appreciably, things are a lot quieter inside, thanks to thicker glass and additional sound deadening materials.
Helping too is a new, standard 2.0-liter I4 that’s a bit more powerful than the previous gen’s 1.8-liter; at 147-horsepower and 132 lb-ft. of torque.
It’s smoother, quieter operation is readily apparent at cruising speeds. A 6-speed manual transmission is available, but only in base SE trim. A 6-speed automatic is fitted to our Limited tester.
A 128-horsepower 1.4-liter I4-powered Eco model is also available for maximum efficiency, up to 40-highway; though truth be told, the 2.0-liter is not bad in that regard either.
2.0 Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 28-City, 37-Highway, and 32-Combined. We averaged a very good 35.6 miles-per-gallon of Regular. Thus the Energy Impact Score is a good one at 10.3-barrels of oil used annually with C02 emissions of 4.7-tons.
Front seats are plenty wide and offer above average for its class comfort. Likewise in the rear, there’s adult-size room and adequate coziness.
Trunk space is fine at 14.4 cubic-ft., but it’s cheaply finished and the deck lid feels very flimsy. However, we liked the hand-free opening smart trunk.
Limited trim delivers a display audio system with 7-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android auto. Adding the Tech package ups it to 8-inches and adds navigation and Infinity premium audio, as well as heated seats.
Gauges are clean and simple with a 4-inch color TFT info display. The interior has definitely moved upscale in appearance, with the Ultimate package adding seat memory plus the latest in safety including blind spot detection, cross traffic alert, and even emergency braking.
Useful room is up too, so like Civic and Corolla, the Elantra is now classified as midsize by the government.
But middling is how we found full-throttle acceleration, taking 9.3-seconds to hit 60 miles-per-hour with lots of 4-cylinder wail. But, acceleration does remain steady; thanks to minimal lag between shifts. So the Elantra feels faster than the numbers; which were 17.3 in the ¼ at 83 miles-per-hour.
Things certainly have improved in the handling department. There is plenty of grip at a moderate pace; and a playful amount of understeer when pushed harder. The car reacts quickly to steering inputs; and a nicely responsive throttle enabled us to easily keep it right on the edge, inspiring confidence as speeds increased.
Brakes were another pleasant surprise. Panic stops from 60 took a good 123–feet with minimal fade; along with a nicely firm, short travel pedal.
So with all of the improvements, the Elantra’s value proposition is also stronger than ever, as base SE pricing is actually reduced by 90-bucks to $17,985. Limited trim starts at $23,185.
Far more competent, more refined, and more consistent with Hyundai’s increasingly upscale ambitions; plus an outstanding warranty; all things that help make the 2017 Hyundai Elantra a vehicle worthy of your compact consideration. One that might finally be ready to give Corolla and Civic a real run for your money.
Engine: 2.0 liter I4
Torque: 132 lb-ft.
Transmission: 6 spd auto
0-60 mph: 9.3 seconds
1/4 mile: 17.3 seconds @ 83 mph
EPA: 28 mpg city / 37 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 10.3 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 4.7 tons/yr