One of the main reasons for Hyundai’s continued success here is staying ahead of the curve wit standard content. The Elantra is all new for 2017, so they sent us one directly from the factory. Although it was designed in South Korea, North American Elantras are assembled in Montgomery, Alabama.
Styling is a blend of Genesis and Sonata, with clever use of racing technology to improve fuel economy. A small front spoiler is used to direct airflow around the front wheels, which improves aerodynamics under the car. Our test car was the fully loaded Limited model, which arrived with the Ultimate package on top. We didn’t know lane keeping assist and automatic braking were available, and they are just two of the features that set this compact apart from its competitors.
This is the first Hyundai we have experienced with Smart Cruise and 8 speaker Infinity audio. While it might not have the best sound insulation or 20 way adjustable seats, Elantra proved to be a sensible commuter car. Around town, the 2.0L didn’t feel strained, and it sips on fuel. To achieve 37 mpg on the highway, this engine runs on the Atkinson cycle, which holds the intake valve open later into the compression stroke. This allows it to use less fuel and air than a normal Otto cycle 2.0L, but low-end power is lost in the process. With driver and fuel, it is possible to weigh in under 3,000 lbs, which is another key to great mileage.
Cushy MacPhereson struts up front and a twist-beam rear axle are the standard for compact sedans, and they do a great job of isolating the body from most annoyances. The six-speed automatic transmission has 3 driving modes (Eco, Normal & Sport) with their own shift parameters. Pushing hard into a corner will evoke understeer, so we recommend against it. The most remarkable parts of the Elantra are all the smaller details you don’t expect to find. The door handles have hidden LED approach lights. Instead of gauges, the instrumentation is handled by a 4.2″ TFT screen. All four seats are heated, with the driver’s having adjustable lumbar and memory settings.
Backed by a 10 year/100,000 mile warranty, Elantra offers everything you could need in a daily driver. The price as tested was $27, 710, and for that you will receive all the safety and technology of the big guys without depreciation being such a concern. If you don’t need the size and weight of a mid-size car, Elantra is your next car.