Hyundai Elantra Limited
Big Changes for 2017
By Ron Amadon
DAMASCUS, MD. – SSHHH!!! Don’t tell anyone! You might be able to get a good deal on a well-equipped new set of wheels if you are willing to be a bit of a rebel and ignore current trends.
With buyers flocking to crossovers and SUV’s, sales of some great compact cars, that are not so compact anymore, have slumped. Slow demand equals dealers who are anxious to move merchandise.
Enter this weekend’s test car, the much improved and in some ways surprising 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited sedan.
A redesign brings its exterior design more in line with its big brother, the Sonata along with two new powertrains, improved noise insulation and ride quality.
The most widely available engine is a 2.0-liter four with 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. It is rated at 29/38/33 mpg by the EPA and was paired in the test car with a six-speed automatic.
NO CVT! Thank you Hyundai. Acceleration was on the leisurely side with a 0-60 in the plus 9 second range.
The second powertrain, offered only on the Eco model, is a 1-4 liter turbo with 128 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque from 1,400 to 3,700 rpm. Economy wise, look for 28 city, 37 highway for an average of 32 mpg.
All Elantra trims, there are three, are equipped with the new Drive Mode Select feature that adjusts both powertrain performance and steering effort. Eco, Normal or Sport are available by simply touching a button on the center console.
I favored the Sport mode, and came out with 31 mpg.
A $2,500 Tech Package brought a navi system on the large 8-inch touchscreen and a multi-media system that welcomes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The eight-speaker Infinity premium audio system included a center speaker and subwoofer with something called Clari-Fi. It is said to analyze digital audio files during playback and automatically rebuild much of what was lost in the compression process. The result is great sound, and if you crank it up, you will not have to worry about accumulating ear wax.
One will find a spacious interior as Hyundai made the 2017 a bit wider, and added some welcome rear seat space while fractionally reducing trunk capacity. The result is that two adults will not forward any complaints to the owner/operator.
The top-of-the-line Limited model was nicely finished inside with lots of soft touch surfaces and a surprise for this price range – a memory for driver’s seat adjustments. Power lumbar is also present. There was a 4.2 color TFT color instrument display that never washed out on sunny days.
Other goodies included Adaptive Xenon Headlights, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, and Lane Departure Warning and Intervention. Control wise, drivers will find the Elantra as easy to adapt to as the Chicago Cubs have adapted to first place.
Owners will find improved ride quality, not as stiff as earlier models, a quiet interior thanks to extra soundproofing, and Hyundai’s long list of standard equipment and extended warranty.
The Limited model carries a base price of $22,350. With a lengthy list of options, the test car MSRP was $27,710 with delivery. For the frugal, the Elantra lineup starts at $17,150.
At the end of the week’s test, I kept thinking about how the Elantra Limited demonstrated how far the compact sedan has come in recent years. No one should ever think of them as econo-boxes again.
The Elantra was a refined, well outfitted sedan and would make, in its lower trim levels, an ideal back to school car.
It is a shame that in the consumer rush to acquire more and more crossovers and SUV’s this class of car is suffering from weak sales. But that also should result in a better deal when you get to the haggling stage at your local outlet.