Top-of-the-line 2017 Elantra trim delivers the trappings in style.
Compact sedans typically offer great value, supplying an ideal entryway to new car ownership for the majority of consumers. Nearly all manufacturers offer one, although the segment has been taking a hit as shoppers continue to shift their purchase decisions to small SUVs.
The Hyundai Elantra is one such model, a five-passenger front-wheel drive sedan offered in five grades: SE ($17,150), Value ($20,250), Eco ($20,650), Sport (21,650), and Limited ($22,350). Add $835 for destination.
Yes, the Elantra is a sedan-only model, but there is a hatchback, the Elantra GT, and it is sold separately. A coupe version was discontinued in 2015.
My test vehicle was a 2017 Elantra Limited outfitted with a pair of packages — tech ($2,500) and ultimate ($1,900). The final tally came in at $27,890, near the top end of the segment.
The Elantra name can be traced all the way back to 1990 when the first-generation model was released. The current and sixth-generation Elantra rolled out in early 2016 as a 2017 model year vehicle.
Hyundai is making a significant deal about the Elantra’s starting price, coming in at $100 lower than the previous model. That $100 savings tells only a small part of the story: two new powertrains are offered and a driver’s knee airbag is included.
2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited
But the focus of this review is on the top-of-the-line Limited edition. Like other top trims, this one overlaps the next model up, namely the Sonata midsize sedan.
Indeed, you can obtain a fairly well-equipped Sonata for about the same price as the Elantra. Then again, if you want the tech and ultimate packages offered in the Elantra Limited, you’ll find yourself shopping for similarly packaged Sonata Limited costing about $33,000.
The Elantra Limited does a commendable job of transforming a mainstream compact four door into a premium sedan. No, it isn’t a luxury model, although it does possess a few extravagances you typically won’t find in this segment.
A Matter of Style
For starters, the exterior is dressed to impress, featuring a unique chrome grille, chrome beltline molding, and chrome door handles. You’ll also find LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, and door handle approach lights. Hyundai’s well-received hands-free smart trunk is included — no need to swish a leg back and forth under the bumper in a sometimes vain effort to make the lid lift. All Limited models are outfitted with 17-inch alloy wheels set within all-season tires.
Inside, the premium features are nearly everywhere. Right off, you’ll notice the standard leather seats. You’ll also find heated front seats, a power driver’s seat with lumbar support, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and keyless entry with push-button start.
The hits keep coming with the dual climate control system, a seven-inch color display with an audio package, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual charging USB ports, a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, and BlueLink telematics. On the safety front, blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert is also included.
Choose Your Package
What absolutely elevates the Elantra Limited is its two package options: tech and ultimate. You can buy tech alone, but the ultimate package requires you to pay for tech too. As you read on you’ll learn how beneficial the duo are to this model.
The tech package brings in a navigation system with an eight-inch touchscreen. You’ll also enjoy a sweet sounding Infinity audio system with eight speakers, including a center channel and subwoofer. Hyundai adds a 4.2-inch color instrument cluster display, a power tilt-and-slide sunroof, heated (outboard) rear seats, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink and compass.
The ultimate package brings in the driver assist features consumers want. For starters, you’ll receive HID headlights with dynamic bending light technology — the better to view around corners. Automatic high beam assist is included adding to the standard automatic on/off headlamps.
Further, you’ll find automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, smart cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, a memory system for the driver’s seat and exterior mirrors.
All in all, Elantra Limited offers a complete package, delivering the broadest range of amenities for the money in this segment.
Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH)
The absolute bugaboo with some small cars is NVH: noise, vibration, and harshness. That’s understandable as budgetary constraints typically mean manufacturers place price above all else.
No small car cabin is whisper quiet, even the Elantra Limited. The din of the engine is always heard inside and at times it is quite loud. As for vibration, this sedan does everything to ensure it is mitigated — no creaking dashboard or door shimmy detected. And when it comes to harshness, traveling over bumpy surfaces doesn’t produce the jarring feel through the steering column common to certain models. No, the Elantra isn’t a Sonata, but it certainly does a credible job in all matters NVH.
On the Road
An all-new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine powers the Elantra Limited. This engine produces 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque and sits between the available 1.4- and 1.6-liter turbo engines in the power spectrum. This naturally aspirated engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The lion’s share of drivers should find the Elantra Limited’s engine suits their needs. Certainly, it isn’t a performance boss, but it is no slouch either. Off-the-mark acceleration is more than sufficient and when you press the pedal to the metal, the engine delivers a distinct roar (a purr is more like it).
If you want more performance, the larger turbo delivers it, but it does so at the cost of fuel economy, coming in about 4 mpg less than the standard engine.
Safety Features and Rating
Besides its seven standard airbags and the usual traction and stability control, and anti-lock brakes, Hyundai delivers top scores in all things crashworthiness. But there is one caveat.
Notably, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the 2017 Elantra with its highest honor — Top Safety Pick+. In testing conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2017 Elantra scored four stars out of five, missing the top rating in frontal crash and rollover. This is an unusual discrepancy between the two main North American crash testing authorities, one worth keeping in mind.
If you aren’t a Hyundai owner, why should you consider one? After all, the Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Chevrolet Cruze, Nissan Sentra, Volkswagen Jetta, and Mazda 3 are compelling reasons to consider the competition.
That said, Hyundai still offers the best warranties in the business, including a five-year, 60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty and a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. On top of that, you’ll have five years of complimentary roadside assistance.
The warranties alone are a difference maker for certain buyers. Drill down on the amenities list and you’ll find that Hyundai backs up its “class above” claims quite well. Moreover, it does so at a price point that shouldn’t be easily dismissed.
2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited Specifications
|Base Sticker Price||$22,350 (sedan); $15,395 (hatchback)|
|Price as Tested||$27,585|
|Standard Engine||2.0-liter, four cylinder|
|Horsepower||147 @ 6,200|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||132 @ 4,500|
|Curb Weight (pounds)||2,976|
|Head room (f,r — inches)||38.8, 37.3|
|Leg room (f,r — inches)||42.2, 35.7|
|Shoulder room (f,r — inches)||56.2, 55.3|
|Hip room (f,r — inches)||53.4, 51.9|
|Storage (cubic feet)||14.4|
|Gross vehicle weight (pounds)||3,924|
|Fuel Tank (gallons)||14|
|EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway)||28/37|
|Manufacturing Plant||Montgomery, Alabama or Ulsan, Korea|
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