by Nick Smirnis

The 2017 Elantra is a logical progression of Hyundai’s most popular vehicle. The compact sedan is known for its low starting price and technology and comfort packages that don’t break the bank. In true Elantra form, the 2017 model offers 7 packages ranging from $17,150 to $26,750.

There are several new features for 2017 including LED running lights, Apple/Android Carplay, and new safety upgrades. Hyundai even rolls out a few compact car segment firsts such as an Integrated Memory System for frequently shared cars (a growing consideration among manufacturers). The big innovation for the Elantra is Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection which is, in fact, a segment first. This technology will inevitably be standard across all segments and manufacturers, but Hyundai is the first to tout it in a compact.  However, you will need to buy the Limited trim level with the Ultimate package to take advantage of this feature. As you may know, AEB also uses the sensor arrays that enable Smart Cruise Control and Lane Keep Assist System, which blur the lines between comfort-oriented features and safety. The care-free commuter will find this an enviable package.

The exterior styling is on par with other compact cars, but is perhaps a bit more accessorized. The available LED running lights, hexagonal grill, and LED taillights all improve upon previous models.  An optional feature that truly completes the look of this car are the 17″ alloy wheels. Though the base Elantra SE comes with the 15″ steelies that are so indicative of the compact car segment, the next level up, called the Popular Package, includes 16″ alloys for a greatly improved aesthetic that some may find ther perfect middle ground.  Hyundai also decided to include some flashy new colors to show off the new styling.

When we drove the new Elantra, we were given the the Limited Ultimate edition. The first thing I noticed about the interior was the 4.2″ instrument cluster display and 8″ touch screen, but that’s not meant to detract from interior styling. The leather interior is reserved for the Limited trim level and is about what you would expect for the segment–ample room, comfortable seats, and a lot of focus on ergonomics. The interior space is actually closer to the Cadillac CTS than the Honda Civic, so ample might be an understatement. Overall, the interior is incrementally better, and that’s what we’ve come to expect from Hyundai.

The Elantra certainly earns its place in the compact car segment and commands a high degree of customer loyalty. It’s not difficult to see why the Hyundai buyer would be excited about this vehicle and future Elantra generations to come. Even the construction quality of the Elantra seems to improve annually, this year going from 21% to 53% high strength steel. I expect to see these cars on the road for years to come, and the 2017 is a welcome addition to the Elantra dynasty.