Hyundai sells an ass-ton of Elantras. The Korean automaker’s compact car sits in the top ten best selling cars in the U.S. right now, so this all-new 2017 model is a big deal. Hyundai knows this, so they’re throwing some ridiculously efficient powertrains in it.
Hyundai seems to have forgotten how to build crummy cars. Their entire lineup is full of competence and sensibility, though, aside from maybe the Genesis Coupe, there’s not much in their lineup to get your blood flowing. It’s no surprise that this Elantra doesn’t change that and sticks with “sensibility” over “flair.”
I wouldn’t call the current Elantra “sexy” by any stretch, but it definitely looked “different” when it first launched. Those two grilles in the front and the wildly-shaped lights made it a quirky little car. The new car sheds some of the old car’s weirdness in an effort to blend in with Hyundai’s new design language.
Hyundai, like basically every automaker who has ever released a new design, calls the new look “striking.” That’s a stretch, though admittedly the new design is sleeker and cleaner than the outgoing one.
Like the new Tucson, the 2017 Elantra gets a prominent hexagonal grille and skinny long headlights that wrap around the front corners. Those lights, combined with belly-pans and a host of other aerodynamic enablers bring the new Elantra’s drag coefficient down to a very impressive 0.27. That’s great; less drag equals more speed!
The new car adds just under an inch of length and one inch of extra width over the outgoing model. The chassis is lighter and stiffer, and gets a revised suspension geometry. Hyundai says they’re gunning for top marks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, meaning they’re ready to take on the rigorous small-overlap crash test.
The interior also gets some newness, offering what Hyundai promises is “improved interior roominess, high-quality materials and premium technology features.” Hyundai says they paid special attention to reducing interior noise and NVH, so that means thicker glass, lots of sound deadening and an isolated front cradle.
In keeping with the “Bigger Screens Equals More Better” theme going on in the auto industry right now, the new Elantra offers a seven-inch touchscreen and an eight-inch navigation system.
And if you need more gadgets, there’s plenty on the driver-assistance front. There’s available Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, there’s Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist.
Gadgets are fun!
The biggest news, though, is the addition of two all-new powertrains. There’s a 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder that cranks out 147 horses and is mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed auto.
Then there’s a 128 horsepower 1.4-liter turbo four, which will be the only available mill on the Eco model and will be bolted to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The two-liter engine promises 38 MPG highway and 33 combined, but the ECO model’s 1.4 is expected to score a remarkable 35 MPG in mixed driving. Thirty-Five Miles Per Gallon folks! I can barely count that high! That’s a huge number and will put the Elantra right up there with the front of the pack.