What the experts say about the 2017 Hyundai Elantra

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In this ongoing series, Boston.com talks with automotive authorities about why you should consider driving — or avoiding — a specific model.

2017 Hyundai Elantra

Redesigned for 2017, the Hyundai Elantra is pushing the boundaries on performance, style, and safety and giving pricier competitors a run for their money.

The Korean automaker’s compact car is offered in five trim levels: SE, Value Edition, Eco, Sport, and Limited. The 147-horsepower base model features a 2.0-liter engine and a six-speed manual transmission. Buyers can upgrade to a six-speed automatic transmission for an additional $1,000. Hyundai also offers a choice of two optional turbocharged engines: a more fuel-efficient 128-horsepower, 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine or a more potent 201-horsepower, 1.6-liter engine. The Elantra’s SE base trim delivers 29 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.

The five-passenger sedan is surprisingly spacious and upscale for a small car. The Elantra’s redesigned cabin uses more soft-touch materials and less hard plastic. The base model comes with cloth interior, a USB input, and a 60/40 split-folding rear seatback for more cargo space. The trunk features 14.4 cubic feet of space, more than the Mazda Mazda3 and the Toyota Corolla but less than the Honda Civic and Kia Soul. The $800 Popular Equipment Package (standard on some upper trims) includes a 7-inch touch screen, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Leather upholstery and rear heated seats are available, a rarity for the segment.

With more standard and optional advanced safety equipment than the previous generation, the new Elantra earned top scores in all crash tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which rated the 2017 model a Top Safety Pick+. The car earned four out of five stars in safety evaluations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Elantra’s optional safety equipment includes a rearview camera, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, and blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist. Some of these features are standard in upper trim levels.

The 2017 Hyundai Elantra’s SE trim starts at $17,150 for one of the most affordable prices in its class.

What the experts are saying

Strong value

“The Hyundai Elantra has evolved into a highly competitive model over the past decade. It won North American Car of the Year in 2012 and was the third best-selling compact car in 2016, after the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. That’s an impressive position for Hyundai to hold over longstanding nameplates like Golf, Jetta, Mazda3 and Sentra. Hyundai has long played the value card by offering a lot of vehicle for a little money. This reputation is particularly important to compact car buyers, whose choices are largely driven by price. With its industry-leading warranty, attractive styling, quality interior and optional upscale features, the Elantra offers a small-car shoppers a compelling package.” – Karl Brauer, executive publisher at Kelley Blue Book

Advanced safety technology

“The Hyundai Elantra represents the finest overall value in the sedan segment. Its sleek fluidic sculpture design language delivers on a combination of aggressive sporty styling and incredible 40 mpg fuel efficiency. It offers user friendly modern tech features to satisfy today’s constantly connected driver. As an IIHS Top Safety Pick, the Elantra delivers top marks for safety and separates itself from many competitors in its advanced suite of available accident avoidance technology, including adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and lane departure warning, to ensure that you never need to use its seven airbags. With a list that impressive, you could easily think that the Elantra competes against high-priced luxury sedans but with a starting price just over $17,000, it is the perfect vehicle for any budget.” – Jonathan Buck, Director of Mirak Automotive Group, including Mirak Hyundai in Arlington, Mass.

Class-leading safety scores

“The 2017 Hyundai Elantra is one of the IIHS’ highest rated small cars.  When equipped with its optional front crash prevention system and optional HID curve-adaptive headlights, the Elantra earns the Institute’s 2017 Top Safety Pick+ award. The Elantra also earns an acceptable rating for how easy it is to use child restraints with the vehicle’s LATCH anchoring system. Vehicles that are smaller and lighter aren’t as protective of people in crashes as those that are bigger and heavier.  It’s especially important for consumers who want a small car to buy one with the highest safety ratings. – Russ Rader, senior vice president of communications at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

For more information on the 2017 Hyundai Elantravisit a Hyundai dealership near you.