Reviews

2017 Hyundai Elantra Walk Around


As with the recent renewal of the Sonata, Hyundai went more conservative in restyling the Elantra. Instead of the sculpting that distinguished the sides of the fifth generation car, the 2017 version is distinguished by a strong character line running from the top of the front wheel arches to the taillights, and a another horizontal crease above the rocker panels connecting the wheel wells fore and aft.

Hyundai’s trademark hexagonal grille distinguishes the front, and options include 17-inch wheels, side mirror turn signal repeaters, and LED door handle lights. The profile is sleek, and Hyundai has improved the aerodynamic efficiency, contributing to reduced interior noise levels.

The net result is an Elantra that could easily be mistaken for its larger cousin, the Sonata. Hyundai characterizes the new design as confident.

We don’t think it stands out in the compact sedan scrum as much as the previous generation. But no one can call it a wallflower.

Interior

The 2017 Elantra is a slightly bigger Elantra than before. At 179.9 inches it’s not quite an inch longer than generation five, on the same 106.3-inch wheelbase. Height, 55.6 inches, carries over, but width expands by an inch, to 70.9. That doesn’t sound like much, but the Hyundai interior design team managed to create more interior space, an achievement the more remarkable in a package with the same wheelbase as the outgoing model.

Nevertheless, by EPA standards, which are based on interior volume, the new Elantra qualifies as a mid-size sedan, a distinction it shares with the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. What this adds up to in practical terms is a rear seat that’s habitable by adults of moderate size. The center seat, like those in all compacts, is suitable for small kids in child seats or perhaps the occasional passenger who is either a good sport or someone you don’t like.

Just as important, the interior furnishings are distinctly upscale by compact sedan standards; luxurious, even. There are almost no hard surfaces inside, and almost no shiny plastic.

The first two points of owner contact within, seat and steering wheel, are both satisfying, the seats for their comfortable padding and support (relaxed fit), the wheel for its just-right rim section and grip. Leather is part of the Limited trim level, but the standard cloth upholstery looks good, feels like quality, and looks as though it will wear well.

Instruments and info screens are attractively legible, and controls are well placed and devoid of operational mystery. Also, we’re happy to see that Hyundai, unlike some carmakers, hasn’t yielded to the tyranny of total touch screen controls. Buttons and knobs still work just fine for many functions, as evidenced in the Elantra.

Infotainment and telematics have been upgraded and now include Apple Car Play and Android Auto. Navigation is optional.

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