The world of small sedans is full of excellent propositions. It almost seems overwhelming having to choose for a single one with so many great choices everywhere. You have the big Japanese brands such as Mazda and Toyota, the European VW, Audi and Mercedes, and then there are the great products from the American companies such as Ford and everything GM. Standing out in such a crowd can be difficult for a Korean brand. Fortunately, Hyundai is not one to fear competition. The old Elantra was a brilliant car which offered a lot for the money.
For 2017 they decided to give it a complete makeover, with new styling, better engines, a nicer interior and several technological improvements.
The old Elantra was a real head-turner. It had really progressive lines for its time, but the new one doesn’t inherit them sadly. Instead, it follows the Sonata, its bigger brother, more closely. This means a rather conservative design with sedated looks. It’s still a decent-looking car, but it’s nowhere near as unique as it was before. You could say it’s more mature now, more grown-up. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, it’s up to everyone to decide individually.
The Elantra is a small four-door sedan offered in three trims: SE, Eco and Limited. The SE gets 15-inch steel wheels, power-operated accessories, air conditioning and a six-speaker sound system. It’s not a lot, but it’s decent. Anyone looking for a little bit more can upgrade to the Eco, as it offers 15-inch allots and a different engine, which we’ll discuss further. As there are no options with the Eco, if you want the full package, you’ll have to go for the Limited. Then again, the Limited does give you basically everything the Elantra can come with, including LED taillights, leather upholstery, the Blue Link system and a second USB port.
Inside, it’s a lovely place to be in. It’s by no means too special, but it is nice. Think of it as a small-scale Sonata. The materials are good, the fit and finish is more than adequate and the layout has been thought out. You may find it a bit bland, especially in black, but it’s a great place to spend mile after mile in.
SE and Limited trims get a 2.0 liter four-cylinder with 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. On the SE you get a six-speed manual, although a six-speed auto is optional (it’s standard on the Limited). The Elantra is front-wheel drive, with no option of an all-wheel drive system. It reaches 60 mph in 9.5 seconds, making it one of the slowest cars in its segment.
The Elantra Eco receives a 1.4 liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 128 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to a seven-speed auto, thanks to which, it returns 35 mpg on the combined cycle. Performance is not the Elantra’s strong side, but then again, it never said it was. It’s a great mile-muncher and everyday car, with emphasis on practicality and affordability.
Prices start at $17,100 for the SE.