Hyundai Elantra — Loaded with technology and safety

By David Finkelstein

Competing with the likes of the Ford Focus, Mazda3, Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic, Hyundai Motors America has introduced the all new 2017 Elantra four door compact sedan. This newest addition is spotlighted with a striking and bold aerodynamic outer design. The car itself further includes an extensive array of safety features plus a modern yet comfortable interior coupled with class-above amenities.

In the Hyundai tradition, the company also includes a host of user-friendly technologies for the driver and occupants.

The Elantra will be built in two locations in order to meet customer demand — Montgomery, Ala., and Ulsan, South Korea.

Known for its underlining value in the highly competitive compact car segment, Elantra continues to be the Korean based car company's best all time selling vehicle. And with the value story in mind, the base MSRP starts out at just $17,150. That pricing structure is some $100 less than the award-winning 2016 model it replaces.

The 2017 is offered with two new fuel efficient powertrains plus improvements in ride quality and overall noise reduction. It's no marketing trick to help allure customers towards this exciting automobile by offering a number of segment-first premium features — features often reserved and expected with the near luxury premium nameplates.

For example, Hyundai makes available its hands-free Smart Trunk system and its high-end Clari-Fi music restoration technology as well as additional convenience novelties.

The 2017 edition has a full suite of the latest advanced safety technologies including Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist System, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection and Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist. Yes, you're reading correctly as these cutting edge breakthroughs aren't generally found on other models in this automotive patchwork.

The Elantra is expected to receive a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a 5-Star Safety Rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with its 7 airbags as standard.

The new Elantra illustrates a precise yet high degree of confidence with it's nicely sculpted body forms-all complemented by smoothly contoured lines that reveal the underlying inspiration of Hyundai's talented designers. The car's front end shows Hyundai’s signature hexagonal grille DNA. This further projects a distinctive character when combined with its modern/brightly lit lighting. HID headlights are optional along with Dynamic Bending Lights (for helping to see around those corners) and unique vertical LED daytime running lamps.

Elantra’s sporty lower front fascia integrates functional front wheel air inlet curtains. They're engineered to manage air flow from the front and around the wheels to help minimize turbulence and increase wind resistance. In addition, underbody covers plus an aerodynamic rear bumper and other aero body tricks contribute to Elantra’s low coefficient of wind drag.

This sedan's sleek bodyside character lines accentuate a sweeping side silhouette profile. Optional premium features such as 17-inch alloy wheels, all-new LED door handle approach lights, side mirror LED turn signal indicators and LED taillights with high tech graphics add a level of sophistication and detail.

The 2017 Elantra will be offered in eight exterior colors, five new to the model and three trim levels overall.

The car's length has been increased by just under an inch and its proportions are further enhanced by increasing its width by around one inch.

Regarding Elantra's interior, the car shows a modern, driver-oriented design, optimized for intuitive control, improved interior roominess, high-quality materials and premium technology features. The contemporary interior integrates premium soft-touch materials in key touch points and high-tech details to create an inviting and comfortable environment for all passengers. An available 4.2-inch color TFT LCD instrument display for improved driver visibility and functionality is also offered.

Customers can upgrade to a larger screen if desired. The environmentally friendly designed seats were developed for added comfort and enjoyment. Interior volume overall is categorized as the most generous in this segment.

The body structure is lighter then that of the out-going model yet is much stiffer with its higher level of torsional rigidity. Many improvements in the cars steering and chassis dynamics translate to a car that drives and feels more connected as never before.

The standard engine on the base SE and Limited trim is a 2.0-liter Nu MPI Atkinson four-cylinder, producing a peak 147 horsepower. It shows more than a 2 percent increase in fuel efficiency, compared to the outgoing engine. The EPA numbers show 29 city / 38 highway with the six speed automatic transmission. A six speed manual is also offered.

The second powertrain is an all-new 1.4-liter Kappa turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine. It produces 128 horsepower and will be mated to an EcoShift seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The Eco trim is projected to achieve an estimated 35-mpg combined rating based on internal testing.

All Elantra trims are equipped with the new Drive Mode Select feature that adjusts both powertrain performance and steering effort, allowing the driver to customize the driving character by selecting from three modes: Eco, Normal or Sport.

An eight-speaker Infinity premium audio system is also now available. The 2017 Elantra offers the next-generation Hyundai Blue Link system with enhanced safety, service and infotainment telematics. Blue Link brings seamless connectivity directly into the car with technology like Remote Start with Climate Control, Destination Search powered by Google, Remote Door Lock/Unlock, Car Finder, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, and Stolen Vehicle Recovery.

Elantra is covered by a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty. At road-test, the Limited version I drove had a sticker price totaling $27,710.