There’s no question that Hyundai’s Elantra can easily compete against the big guns from Honda and Toyota. In fact, it may just be one-up on them warranty wise.
Now in its sixth generation, Hyundai’s 2017 Elantra comes with a freshened, chiseled look, three new engines, a new 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission with paddle shifters and a host of high-tech features.
Offered in SE, Eco, Limited and Sport, we tested the latter. And with it came a 1.6-liter, turbocharged inline four-cylinder that puts out an impressive 201-hp and 191 lb/ft of torque. Coupled to the new 7-speed auto trans, EPA provides mileage estimates of 26-city, 33-highway mpg.
Other powertrains include a 2.0-liter, inline 4 with 147-hp and 132 lb/ft of torque for EPA estimates of 29/38 mpg with auto trans; and a 1.4-liter, turbocharged inline 4 (for Eco model) producing 128-hp and 156 lb/ft of torque for EPA’s of 32/40 mpg and with auto transmission. If economy is what you’re looking for, the latter powertrain affords the best mileage estimates.
The Sport we tested had explosive acceleration, especially when the turbo kicks in. It’s a rocket and feels like a V6 under the hood. But employ that turbo too often and mileage will suffer. Ironically, and despite its power and torque, at idle the engine could not be heard or felt. We thought it had engine start/stop, technology, which it did not.
With stiffer underpinnings designed to add some sportiness hence the Sport name, bumps, tar strips and pock-marked roads reverberate into the cabin. This is an expected compromise when favoring sporty handling over cruising comfort, especially with large 18-inch Hankook tires. Exterior noise though was well muted and the sedan rode quietly.
Handling was tight, stable and agile. When depressing the mode button on the console for Sport mode, steering feel was tauter and the trans held shifts longer for better performance. This is an engaging sedan be in on highways or city roadways.
What sets the Sport model apart from the other trim levels is its snazzy, sporty seats and interior trim items. The ultra supportive front bucket seats have contrasting red stitching along with the “Sport” name embossed into the headrests. The red stitching follows through on the sporty flat bottom steering wheel, and trans shifter boot. You’ll also notice carbon-fiber look trim on dash and doors, the combination of which exudes high-end sportiness. Our only complaint is that the sides of the console should be padded for those of us who use them as knee resters.
An optional 8-inch display serves the usual compliment of nav, rearview camera, Infinity audio plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It offers voice recognition, Hyundai’s BlueLink infotainment and Wi-Fi systems. There’s also a smaller driver’s information display between the gauge set that gives feedback on a number of operating functions.
With a very long list of standard safety and feature items that included alloy sport pedals, electronic stability control, hands free smart trunk, satellite radio, driver’s blind spot mirror and much more, there were only two extra cost options. One was the Premium Package ($2,400) that added the 8-inch nav screen, Infinity audio, power sunroof, blind spot detection/rear cross traffic alert and more. The second was carpeted floor mats that added $125 to the base price of $22,750 which increased the bottom line to $26,110 with delivery. An extremely reasonable price for this much content and a very generous warranty of 5/60K mile new vehicle warranty; 10/100K mile powertrain; 7/Unlimited mile perforation; and 5/Unlimited mile roadside assistance.
Added to that, Elantra earned a four out of the governments five-star overall safety rating score; four each for driver/passenger frontal crash; five each for front/rear seats; and four for rollover.
Hyundai’s Elantra, especially the Sport, deserves consideration when shopping for a compact sedan priced well under $30K.