The Elantra gets refreshed for 2017 and continues to impress.
Review and photos by Tom Sedens
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Pricing: 2017 Hyundai Elantra
Base price (Limited trim): $26,249
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $28,044
Hyundai claims the Elantra’s exterior styling is inspired by fighter jets. I think that’s a bit rich, but it does sport some swoopy lines and I think it looks good.
The Limited (and Ultimate)-specific trims get handsome chrome grilles, window mouldings and door handles. It’s just enough to add a little something and makes the little sedan a touch more dressy.
In the front, there are some striking vertical LED daytime running lights that catch your eye as the Elantra comes towards you, and it gets LED tail lights in the rear, which give it an interesting 3-light signature in the dark.
Tires are sized at 215/45 and are mounted on sweet 17-inch rims.
Hyundai tells us that the fighter jet inspiration continues on the inside. Again, I would say that’s a bit of a stretch. Sure, the new Elantra is nicely styled, but all things considered it’s a bit blah. Especially considering the last generation of Elantra had a more interesting approach in terms of its interior styling. So yeah, it got a bit boring, but at least it works well. There are some soft-touch materials, and overall the ergonomics are good.
I loved the heated steering wheel – it felt wonderful in hand with a nice fat rim. The heated seats – which were very comfortable – are trimmed in really nice leather. The driver’s side is power-adjustable with memory settings.
Front and centre is a large 8-inch touchscreen which handles all the regularly expected functions – audio, phone and in this case, navigation. A little ergonomics niggle – the right side of the screen (and the buttons and knobs located there) required a bit of a reach for me. We enjoyed our tunes thanks to the great 8-speaker Infinity sound system.
The usual upgrades are present – a dual-zone automatic climate control system, keyless entry and push-start ignition and a sunroof overhead. There’s also a universal garage door opener.
There are three seats back there, which are fine for two adults but my three kids felt it was a bit cramped width-wise, especially when you start adding booster seats.
Even with the driver’s seat moved back as far as it can go, I had enough leg room in the back seat. Now that is impressive for a small sedan. On the other hand, head room is tight – I’m 5’10” and found the headliner almost touching my hair.
Back passengers get heated seats, but nothing else in terms of convenience, charging ports, etc. There are two sets of LATCH connectors for child seats if you need those.
The Elantra does a decent job in the storage department. Under the centre stack, you’ll find a sliding lid hiding a drop-in bin – aux, USB and two 12V plugs are there as well. A useful little carpeted bin is situated under the armrest lid.
Pop the cool hands-free proximity-activated trunk lid and you’ll find a spacious 407 litre trunk. And yes, the rear seats fold down, in a 60/40 split, if you need some more space.
Under the Hood
Hyundai’s 2-litre 4-cylinder sits side-saddle up front, putting out 147 HP and 132 lb.ft of torque. It’s mated with a 6-speed automatic. The front-wheel drive sedan does quite well in the fuel economy ratings. Hyundai says it will get 8.3 L/100 km (28 US mpg) in town and 6.4 L/100 km (37 US mpg) on the highway. We averaged a very impressive 7.7 L/100 km (31 US mpg) during our week with it.
As I’m sure you’ve deduced through the numbers, the Elantra is not particularly powerful or quick. Which is perfectly fine. The engine definitely works hard if you step on the gas, but it is more than adequate for normal, everyday driving. The transmission is very smooth and you can count on it to hunt for higher gears quickly to be as efficient as possible. It can be shifted manually if that’s your thing.
There are some driving modes to choose from – Econ, Normal and Sport. These impact the Elantra’s steering weight/effort, responsiveness and the transmission’s aggressiveness in terms of shift points. I found the car to have a firm ride, but thought it was a very well sorted out suspension set-up in terms of balance between comfort and handling.
The drive was mostly quiet and the Elantra is a very nice highway cruiser.
Driver assistance technology came in the form of blind-spot monitoring, a back-up camera with rear parking sensors and rear cross-traffic alert. If you spring for the Ultimate trim, you’ll add an insane amount of safety technology.
The 2017 Elantra is a really nice car to drive every day. I really didn’t find anything not to like, and in this Limited trim, I felt like I was getting spoiled.
WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) was quite high. She’s not a huge fan of sedans, particularly smaller ones, but said this car felt expensive and drove very nicely. She commented on how nice and high-end the seats looked and felt. I agree – the leather was surprisingly nice for a car that’s under $30,000.
The sedan world is shrinking, but we North Americans still have a place in our hearts for them. This is a great little example of where have arrived, versus the Cavaliers of yesteryear. Small sedans don’t need to suck, and this one is a beauty.
Disclosure: Vehicle was provided by Hyundai Canada.
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