The Elantra is fully redesigned for the 2017-MY and seeking to steal market share from recently redesigned compact sedans such as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, and Ford Focus.
The new sheet metal is, remarkably, more conservative than the outgoing model’s. Hyundai’s designers toned down the look to more closely resemble the mid-size Sonata, right down to the hood lip-to-bumper hexagonal grille.
The Elantra’s interior is clean and sparsely appointed, boasting oversized controls and labels spread out across a big, broad dashboard. Slightly expanded exterior dimensions allowed for a few inches of additional legroom for rear-seat passengers; however, the truck has shrunk by almost half a cubic foot.
In an era marked by base-model vehicles stuffed with advanced technology and mid-range features, it doesn’t get much more basic than the 2017 Elantra SE, which comes equipped with a six-speed stick, air conditioning, power windows, and mirrors.
To get a 7-inch touchscreen, rearview camera, and Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity, fleet buyers will have to upgrade to an automatic transmission and add the SE’s Popular Equipment package. A Tech package can be stacked onto the Popular Equipment package to add keyless ignition, entry, and trunk, dual-zone climate control, LED headlights, and blind-spot monitoring.
Elantra Limited buyers get all of the above plus 17-inch wheels, leather upholstery, power driver’s seat, and LED taillights. Tech and Ultimate packages add uptown features such as an Infinity sound system, 8-inch touchscreen, and driver memory.
A 2.0-liter four-banger pulls every SE and Limited edition with 147 horsepower (hp), 132 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque, and up to 38 miles per gallon (mpg) on the highway.
An upcoming Eco model will add a 1.4-liter turbo I-4 to the lineup. The smaller engine is expected to deliver 128 hp and 156 lb.-ft. Hyundai expects the Eco to surpass the 40-mpg mark in highway driving.
Critics have praised the Elantra’s new look, quiet ride, and tight cornering, but have deducted points for uninspiring power and acceleration.
The 2017 Hyundai Elantra is in showrooms now. Prices start at a hair over $17,000 for the base SE with manual transmission and $18,000 for the SE automatic. The Limited starts at $22,350; pricing for the Eco will be announced upon its release.