2017 Hyundai Elantra Review

Hyundai Elantra Review

Priced From $21,950Information

Overall Rating


4 out of 5 stars

Rating breakdown
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Safety, value & features

4 out of 5 stars

Comfort & space

4 out of 5 stars

Engine & gearbox

4 out of 5 stars

Ride & handling

4 out of 5 stars


4 out of 5 stars

Pros & Cons

  1. ProFront seat space; equipment; entertaining SR version.

  2. ConBland interior; no auto-braking.

  3. The Pick: 2017 Hyundai Elantra SR Turbo 4D Sedan

What stands out?

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The Hyundai Elantra is a great-driving small sedan, with lots of features for the money, that comes in sedate and sporty versions – the latter named the Elantra SR Turbo. Steering is nicely weighted, and a hands-free boot is available. The turbocharged SR is quite quick, and rewards skill and enthusiasm.

What might bug me?

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That you can’t play CDs. Like an increasing number of popular cars, the Elantra treats the Compact Disc as an obsolete technology and does not supply a player.

If you have chosen an Elantra SR Turbo, driving at 80km/h on your space-saver spare until you can fix your full-sized flat tyre. (The other Elantras carry a full-sized spare.)

If you have chosen an auto Elantra SR Turbo, that you need to pay a bit more attention than you expected in stop-start traffic, or when parking. The SR auto uses a dual-clutch gearbox, which works much like a manual gearbox with robotic control. Its automated clutch take-up can’t quite match the fluidity that you get with the conventional auto in other Elantras.

What body styles are there?

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Four-door sedan only. (Hyundai sells a similarly sized small hatchback called the i30.)

The Elantra is front-wheel drive, and is classed as a small car, lower priced.

What features do all Elantras have?

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Cruise control, a reversing camera, and rear parking sensors.

A sound system with Aux and USB inputs, Bluetooth connectivity for phones and audio streaming, and six speakers, controllable from a 7.0-inch colour touchscreen.

Support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which lets you plug in your smartphone and operate and view apps from the touchscreen.

Height and reach adjustment for the steering wheel, from which you can operate the cruise control, and audio system and your phone. Height adjustment for the driver’s seat.

Headlights that come on automatically in low light. There are also LED daytime running lights, which help other road users see you.

Wheels made from an aluminium alloy, which are lighter than steel wheels and don’t need plastic trim caps.

Six airbags. Anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control - which helps you control a skid. (For the placement of airbags, and more on Elantra safety systems, please open the Safety section below.)

The Elantra is covered by a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, and has a capped-price service plan.

Which engine uses least fuel, and why wouldn't I choose it?

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Two engines are available in an Elantra: a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol (which powers the less costly Elantras), and a much stronger 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol (which powers the Elantra SR).

For fuel use there is not much between them. Both consume 7.2 litres/100km in automatic form on the official test cycle (city and country combined).

In the real world, which is the more fuel-efficient will depend a lot on how you drive your Elantra. In comparison testing for Wheels magazine, it was the turbo 1.6 that did better, averaging 7.9 litres/100km (the 2.0-litre averaged 8.5).

The turbo 1.6 is an impressively powerful and responsive engine. The more humdrum 2.0-litre is nevertheless a good engine by the standards of popular small cars. (It feels more willing than the 1.8-litre that powered the previous-generation Elantra – and smoother.)

The Elantra is available with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The Elantra SR Turbo offers a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch auto.

What key features do I get if I spend more?

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The least costly Elantra, the Active, comes with cloth covered seats, manually controlled air-conditioning, 16-inch wheels, the 2.0-litre engine, and a manual gearbox. An auto gearbox is optional – and adds more than $2000 to the price.

Spend more for an Elantra Elite and auto transmission is standard. You also get dual-zone climate-control air-conditioning (which will maintain different temperatures for the driver and front passenger), and seats trimmed in a mix of real and fake leather. Windscreen wipers work automatically when it rains, and there are air-conditioning vents for people riding in the back.

The Elite also gets keyless entry, which lets you unlock the car (and drive away) while the key remains in your pocket or bag. Leave the key there and stand near the boot for three seconds, and the boot lid will open – a helpful feature if you have your arms full of shopping or luggage.

The Elite can also be chosen with a two-tone interior, rather than the dark grey that is standard on the Active. It is distinguished outside by more chrome. And it has 17-inch wheels and lower-profile tyres, which improve steering response marginally and bring a sportier look.

Spending more again for an Elantra SR Turbo brings you not only a lot more grunt from the turbocharged 1.6 engine, but also a more sophisticated multi-link rear suspension design that improves handling. Both front seats are heated and have deeper bolsters on each side to hold you in place, and the driver’s seat is power-adjustable. Headlamps are extremely bright bi-xenon units. And a range of aesthetic touches inside and out supply a sportier look and feel.

The SR Turbo also adds three rear-focused active safety aids: Blind-spot detection, Lane-change assist, and Rear cross-traffic alert.

Does any upgrade have a down side?

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Not really. Just remember that the Elantra Elite comes only with a conventional auto gearbox (you can’t get a manual Elite). And that the auto gearbox in the SR Turbo is a dual-clutch type, which might be relevant if you are looking mainly to use the car for trips around town (where the SR’s extra power won’t be needed in any case).

How comfortable is the Elantra?

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Inside, the Elantra shares themes with several other recent Hyundais. For example, control buttons are large and well labelled, making it easy to operate the infotainment system. Menu selector buttons just below the touchscreen are particularly useful.

Otherwise, the presentation is very conservative. A prominent grain runs through the dash and door plastics. Silver-look finishes across the dash and on interior door handles are very obviously plastic. A chrome-look strip surrounding the touchscreen is more lustrous.

Very tall people will love the excellent fore-aft adjustment available from the driver’s seat. The seat gives decent support in the right places. Vision out is good, too.

With this Elantra, Hyundai has focused a lot of attention on refinement. The cabin is very quiet, noise from the engine intruding only when you work the car hard. Over poor-quality B-roads there’s occasional booming from the rear suspension, but you notice that mainly because other sounds are suppressed.

The 2.0-litre engine has good punch for suburban driving, and the auto transmission shifts smoothly.

The steering has some weight to it but is light enough for easy parking and low-speed manoeuvring. The Elantra rides quite nicely over suburban bumps and comfortably on country roads.

The SR Turbo brings a bit more excitement inside, with its huggy sports seats and flat-bottomed steering wheel. And notwithstanding its more handling-oriented brief, its suspension – tuned exhaustively overseas and in Australia – delivers a consistent and acceptably soothing ride. The main thing you might wish for here is a slightly lower driving position, which would stir in some more sporting flavour.

What about safety in a Hyundai Elantra?

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Every Elantra has stability control, six airbags, and LED daytime running lamps. A reversing camera and rear parking sensors help protect anyone who strays behind the car.

Auto-on headlights add security around dusk, switching on before you might think you needed them.

The airbags are in the usual places: two directly in front of the driver and passenger; one beside each front occupant to protect their bodies from side impacts; and a curtain airbag along each side that protects heads front and rear from side impacts.

The Elantra SR Turbo adds Blind-spot and Lane-change alerts, which let you know if another car is lurking out of view near your rear corners or approaching quickly from behind. A Rear cross-traffic alert operates when you are reversing, say from a shopping centre parking spot, warning if another vehicle is approaching from the side.

No Elantra offers automatic emergency braking, however.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) rated the Elantra at five stars for safety, its maximum, in May 2016. The five-star rating applies to the Elantra SR Turbo also.

I like driving - will I enjoy this car?

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The Elantra Active and Elite are more about trouble-free motoring than carving up curves. That said, both are impressively competent on challenging roads, settling well over most bumps and delivering good grip – for a city-focused car. You feel instantly more relaxed and secure than in the previous Elantra.

The steering has a nice feel to it, with enough weight and feedback to bring confidence.

The 2.0-litre engine happily revs hard, giving you respectable acceleration. Its strength, though, is in more relaxed driving, where it responds well to the accelerator and supplies good urge when you want it.

The six-speed conventional automatic is less effective for sporty driving, in so far as it will change to a taller gear as soon as you lift off the accelerator. (Many modern autos will hold the gear you were in.) However, the Elantra will hold gears if you slide the gear selector into manual mode, and trigger the changes yourself.

The SR Turbo swaps the other Elantras’ torsion-bar rear suspension for a multi-link set up, and adds retuned front suspension and slightly more direct steering. The result is a warm sedan that loves to be driven hard – and gets better the longer and harder you drive it. Handling feels fluid and progressive, and the car will squat onto its outside rear tyre and fire itself through bends carrying serious speed. The turbocharged engine serves up loads of meaty, accessible grunt.

How is life in the rear seats?

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There’s good leg room for those in the back, and only a small lump in the centre of the floor - ensuring good foot space for all.

Less impressive is head room: tall people will find their heads graze the roof, which slopes down towards the back of the car. Headrests are adjustable.

The centre seat is very narrow: two is the rear-seat limit for adults if you want to be comfortable.

The Elantra Elite and SR Turbo supply rear air vents, to circulate air-conditioning directly to rear passengers.

How is it for carrying stuff?

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From the outside the boot looks quite small, but pop it and there’s a deep, broad space. It’s relatively short but has room for a couple of big suitcases.

There’s a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, allowing long items to protrude into the cabin.

The Elantra Elite allows you to open the boot hands-free, part of its smart-key entry system. If you approach the rear of the car while carrying the key (even in a bag), you will hear beeps for three seconds and then the boot will open automatically. It’s great if you’ve got handfuls of shopping, or are carrying something with both hands.

The Elite also has an elasticised luggage net that inhibits small items or shopping bags from rolling about.

Where does Hyundai make the Elantra?

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All Elantras are produced in South Korea.

What might I miss that similar cars have?

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Satellite navigation, which is standard on the Elantra’s sister hatchback, the Hyundai i30, and available on many other small cars. (But you can navigate via a smartphone, using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.)

Autonomous emergency braking, which uses sensors to scan the road and can apply the brakes automatically to help you avoid crashing into someone in front of you. This is standard on the Mazda3, and it is available on the Hyundai i30 and several other popular small cars.

Among other small sedans you might consider are the Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Kia Cerato, and Holden Astra.

Are there plans to update the Elantra soon?

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This sixth generation Elantra went on sale about March 2016 in Active and Elite form, with the SR Turbo arriving about six months later.

We are not likely to see an all-new Elantra until 2021 but there will be minor updates in the meantime. It is possible Hyundai will add auto braking from the more recently introduced, but very similar, Hyundai i30.

I like this car, but I can’t choose which version. Can you help?

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The value pick here is the most expensive Elantra, the SR Turbo. It is a driver’s sedan of real substance, and well worth its price premium if you get out of town a bit and enjoy your time behind the wheel.