THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: The refinement and content in this vehicle for the price is amazing.
- What’s Worst: Performance isn’t its strong suit.
- What’s Interesting: Hyundai has added many safety features that just a few years ago were found only on luxury automobiles.
Now in its sixth generation, the Elantra has become one of Hyundai’s all-time best-selling models.
Since its introduction in 1991, the Elantra has sold more than 10 million units worldwide including more than 500,000 in Canada.
It has been one of the best-selling vehicles overall in this country for the past few years.
For 2017, the Elantra has been re-designed with a smoothly contoured look outside, highlighted by the signature Hyundai hexagonal grille combined with unique vertical LED daytime running lights, a first for the Elantra.
The already beautiful exterior styling has an even more streamlined look that takes the coefficient of drag down to an ultra-efficient 0.27, better than even the electric Nissan Leaf.
Overall length of the new Elantra is 20 mm more and the width and height are 5 mm more.
The cabin is spacious for a compact sedan with abundant room in the rear for two, three in a pinch. With 3,120 litres of total interior volume, the Elantra is essentially a mid-size car but classified as a compact.
Inside, it is nicely finished with quality materials, good fit and finish and controls that are easy to use and well positioned.
Hyundai engineers made a determined effort to reduce interior noise levels on the new model and they appear to have succeeded. It is quiet and comfortable with a much-improved ride over the outgoing model.
The improved ride and handling is due in part to a more rigid chassis that has been reinforced with 53 per cent advanced high-strength steel (up from 21 per cent), resulting in a 29.5 per cent improvement in torsional rigidity.
Our tester was a mid-level SE model, boasting a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. The engine employs Atkinson Cycle technology that has been used extensively on hybrid powerplants.
A 1.6-litre turbocharge inline four is available at the top of the trim line in the Sport model range. As tested, the 2.0-litre engine produces 147 hp and 132 lb/ft of torque, while the turbo makes 201 hp.
Prices start at $15,999 for the Elantra L with manual transmission, heated front seats, remote keyless entry and projection headlights. The LE, at $18,499 adds the six-speed automatic transmission, air conditioning and BlueTooth and steering wheel mounted audio and telephone controls.
The GL and GLS models are priced at $20,349 and $22,699 respectively, while our SE came in at $23,999. The Limited, Limited SE and Limited Ultimate round out the 2.0-litre offerings.
In the Elantra Sport lineup, models start at $24,999, rising to $28,999.
New for 2017, the Elantra offers a number of advanced safety features often found only on much higher-end vehicles.
One such feature is the available Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection. This technology utilizes front forward facing camera and radar to detect a vehicle or a pedestrian and warn the driver of a potential collision. If the driver fails to react, the system will apply emergency braking.
Other safety features include Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist, and a rearview camera now with dynamic guidance.
Lane Keeping Assist uses the forward facing camera to monitor lane marking and will alert the driver if the vehicle drifts out of the lane without signaling. The system will apply corrective steering assistance if needed.
Among other innovative features on the Elantra is a segment-exclusive Hand-Free Proximity Trunk, allowing drivers to open their trunk if their hands are full by simply the rear of the vehicle with the key fob in a pocket or purse. An audible beep will sound three times and the trunk will automatically open.
Also available on the new Elantra is an Adaptive HID headlight system so the lights turn in with the direction of the steering wheel for better visibility at night. Adaptive Cruise Control is another high-tech option that might appeal to many drivers.
On the road, the Elantra is an easy car to drive drive. Acceleration is adequate, but far from exhilarating.
The ride quality is much improved and Hyundai’s engineers have made great headway in reducing noise in the cabin.
This all adds up to a solid family sedan that is high in content and solid in value.
At $23,999, our tester had leather seating, heated both front and rear, and a host of the tech features mentioned above plus dual zone climate control, heated steering wheel and a seven-inch colour touch screen with rearview camera.
Well worth a long hard look if shopping in the compact car class.
Also Read: This is the safest, most capable Impreza yet
2017 Hyundai Elantra SE
BODY STYLE: Compact four-door sedan.
DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, front-wheel drive.
ENGINE: 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder (147 hp, 132 lb/ft of torque) with a six-speed automatic transmission.
CARGO CAPACITY: 407 litres.
TOW RATING: Not recommended.
FUEL ECONOMY: 7.4/8.3/6.4 L/100 km city/highway/combined.
PRICE: $23,999, as tested $25,704 including $1,705 destination charge.
WEB SITE: www.hyundaicanada.com