2017 Hyundai Elantra: Confident Exterior with Advanced Connectivity and Multimedia

March 5, 2016 Updated: March 7, 2016

The new Elantra is in dealerships at the time of this writing. With a modern interior, user-friendly technologies, and features hitting above its class, Hyundai engineers feel this new Elantra will be highly competitive in the compact car segment.

Starting at $17,150, the new Elantra costs less than the previous model year.

Elantra is assembled in both Montgomery, Alabama and Ulsan, South Korea. The Elantra’s “first premium features” include hands-free smart trunk and Clari-Fi music restoration technology, along with a host of safety features which will be mentioned later.

Outside, Elantra’s designers and engineers were successful in blending advanced styling with functional aerodynamics. Up front the Elantra has a signature hexagonal grille that speaks of character and boldness when combined with lighting signatures, which includes available HID headlights with Dynamic Bending Light System and unique vertical LED daytime running lights.

The sporty front fascia integrates functional front wheel air curtains—a component derived from the Sonata Hybrid that helps manage air flow to minimize air turbulence and wind resistance. An aerodynamic rear bumper bottom spoiler and rear decklid designed with an expanded trunk edge lowers the coefficient of drag.

Elantra has a sleek body style character line that showcases its sweeping side window silhouette and striking side profile. Available 17-inch alloy wheels and all-new LED door handle approach lights are factors rarely found in a compact car. Elantra will offer eight exterior colors, of which five are new. All these great colors will wrap a vehicle 179.9-inches long, 70.9-inches wide and 56.5-inches tall.

The Elantra has two all-new powertrains designed to improve fuel efficiency.

My favorite feature was the wide design of the instrument panel. The spaciousness of the 4.2-inch color TFT LCD instrument display improved visibility and functionality. The center stack is laid out in a horizontal design, with simple buttons and controls.

The power-adjustable driver’s seat and side mirrors, and dual automatic temperature control with auto defogging systems add to a comfortable atmosphere. Interestingly, all Elantra’s seats (leather or cloth) are made of SoyFoam, an environmentally friendly seating foam that substitutes petroleum-based polyol with hydroxyl-functionalized soybean oil. Passengers enjoy versatile front and rear seats with a 60/40 split-folding rear seat (110.2 cubic feet of total interior volume).

The 2017 Elantra is lighter than the previous model, but with its rigid chassis, is now reinforced with 53 percent advanced high-strength steel compared with 21 percent from previous models. Structural adhesive application is increased by 40 times at higher stress points on the chassis and to reinforce welding areas.

The Elantra has two all-new powertrains designed to improve fuel efficiency, but not at the expense of driving performance. The SE and Limited trims feature a 2.0 L Nu MPI Atkinson 4-cylinder engine producing a peak of 147 hp at 6,200 rpm and 132 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm.

This 2.0 L Nu 4-cylinder is by default paired with a 6-speed manual transmission with the SE trim, and next-generation 6-speed automatic transmission with the Limited. EPA fuel economy rating is 29 mpg city and 38 mpg highway, for a 33 combined mpg.

The second powertrain is an all-new 1.4 L Kappa turbocharged GDI 4-cylinder engine equipped with the Elantra Eco Trim (available spring 2016). The engine produces 128 bhp at 5,500 rpm and a robust 156 lb-ft of torque at 3,700 rpm. Initial field testing indicated this engine’s fuel economy is over 35 mpg.

Elantra had a great feeling in the steering. MacPherson struts with coil spring reduced body roll when cornering. In order to reduce engine sounds, engineers used a hood insulator. Elantra handled well and road noise was nearly eliminated. Sufficient torque allowed the vehicle to perform without restrictions on your desires.

The 2017 Elantra is available with a whole host of the latest advanced safety technologies including Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist System, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection and Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and Lane Change Assist.

Dave Suzhowski, President of Hyundai, stated, “I am extremely proud of the Hyundai brand, especially the new 2017 Elantra. It has initial value and throughout the lifetime of the vehicle it retains a substantial amount of that value. Each generation we have increased the quality of our production. A better product, for a better price.”

The 2017 Elantra will hit dealerships this month. The SE trim starts at $17,150 with the 6-speed manual. Opting for the automatic ups the price to $18,150. The Limited is standard-equipped with 6-speed auto with SHIFTTRONIC and Active ECO mode, and starts at $22,350. The Eco model pricing will be announced later this spring, and a Sport model will appear later in the year

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or at dcaussey@sbcglobal.net