Entry Price: $17,150
Price as Tested: $27,710
This week, we’re driving the re-designed 2017 Hyundai Elantra, which starts at just $17,150 for the manual transmission SE and then rises up to our tester’s entry of $22,350 in upper-class Limited Edition dress.
Now in its sixth-generation, Elantra has grown to mid-size dimensions since its debut as a compact in 1990. Back then, it rode on just a 98.4-inch wheelbase while today, Elantra moves smoothly around on a 106-inch plus wheelbase and is a true mid-size automobile.
Elantra by Hyundai also is one of the most popular consumer choices based on affordability, owner reliability and return on investment (ROI). Add the 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, and few cars on the road (other than corporate relative Kia) can sway prospective consumers in a direct side-by-side comparison.
Two new engines are available for 2017 and both are quite interesting. The engine in our Limited is a 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle engine that is the same engine used in numerous Hybrid applications. (Both Hyundai and Mazda are now utilizing these engines as sole producers of power).
Elantra’s 2.0 engine produces just 147 horses and 132 lb. ft. of torque, but after a few long runs I found it hard to believe the engine is only a 147-horse, hybrid-friendly engine. It accelerates better than expected and generates 28 city and 37 highway EPA fuel mileage numbers coupled to the Limited’s six-speed Shiftronic automatic.
The second engine is even smaller. It powers the new Elantra Eco model, which starts at $20,650. “Eco” features a new 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that is similar although somewhat smaller than the 1.7 turbo we just tested in the new Kia Optima a while back. Delivering 128 horses yet an impressive 156 lb. ft of torque, owners can expect 40-MPG highway from Elantra Eco while not lacking in the performance department thanks to the turbo boost.
Outwardly, our Limited Edition Elantra features a new, silky aerodynamic image along with a revamped amenity loaded leather interior. Standard features are many, including safety features like advanced stability control, blind-spot with rear cross traffic alerts, review safety camera with guidelines, four wheel ABS disc brakes, and all the airbags.
Our Limited featured two options, including a highly recommended $1,900 Ultimate Package that bolsters the safety factor up several steps. Included are lane-departure and lane-keep systems, automatic high-beam assist, smart cruise control, and the very desirable automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. There’s more to this option and your dealer will gladly explain everything in layman’s terms.
There is a caveat to the above option, however. This Ultimate Package is only available (at this time) on the Limited model and also necessitates purchasing a $2,500 Tech Option. The Tech Option adds eight-speaker Infinity stereo system with subwoofer, 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, heated front and rear seats, Android and Apple CarPlay, power sunroof, “Clar-fi” music restoration technology, special color instrumentation cluster, and auto dim rear view mirror. Thus if you want all of the safety features Elantra offers, it will actually cost you $4,400.
On the highway the Eco and Limited models feature a standard “Drive Mode Select,” which is optional on the entry SE automatic. The Normal, Eco or Sport drive modes impact throttle response, shift points and steering input all at the touch of a button. I personally enjoy Sport mode for a more performance oriented drive. If you choose Eco, you’re libel to better the MPG ratings, especially the city number. Overall, and regardless of drive mode, every Elantra offers a very comfortable ride for all passengers.
Underneath, Hyundai has tweaked the Elantra independent suspension a bit to allow better handling characteristics, especially in tighter turns. Elantra incorporates the industry standard coil over MacPherson front struts and a rear coupled torsion beam setup. Overall, Elantra delivers good handling when united with its 17-inch tires on lightweight alloy wheels.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 106.3 inches, 5.3 inch ground clearance, 2,976 lb. curb weight, 14.4 cu. ft. of cargo space, and a 14-gallon fuel tank.
In summary, this new generation 2017 Elantra is on sale now at your area Hyundai dealer. Few competitors can match the ROI, so when it comes to spending your hard earned cash, Elantra is a better value than ever before.
Likes: New design, price, wonderful interior, engines, fuel economy.
Dislikes: Top safety equipment only available on Limited; option necessity concerning Ultimate Package, rear drum brakes on entry SE model.
— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other GateHouse Media publications. He welcomes reader questions at email@example.com.
Test Drive: 2017 Hyundai Elantra
Entry Price: $17,150