|Positives: More sophisticated styling than the previous generation, a seriously good set of standard amenities, a hushed cabin at high speeds, excellent interior ergonomics, decent Sport mode|
|Negatives: Off-center steering at highway speeds, heavy steering effort required at lower speeds, some rough shifting from dual clutch transmission, mediocre sound system.|
|Bottom Line: The Elantra Value Edition showcases what an affordable car should be. It's inexpensive but not cheap. The styling is clean and attractive, and the interior is well-made and a cinch to use. There's a solid amount of room and comfort, and the amenities list is truly long. Though it might not tear up the tarmac or handle like it's on rails, the Elantra Value Edition delivers far more than its asking price and adds an excellent new member to the already great Elantra line.|
|View Our 2017 Hyundai Elantra Overview|
The Value Edition hits mid-pack in the lineup but offers an attractive set of standard features that takes the SE’s $800 Popular Equipment package and its $1,300 Tech package (bringing the SE to the Value Edition's $21,465) and then provides some nice additions at no extra cost, including a power glass sunroof, lane-change assist, and a power driver’s seat. Those three items aren't even included in the aforementioned packages, making the Value Edition seriously attractive. We drove it for a week to see how it stacks up. Read on for our full review.
The Elantra offers a competent ride for an affordable price, but it's driving dynamics could use some work, including some rough shifting and a dropoff in power in the lower torque band while accelerating. Overall, most buyers won't notice it too much since the ride is quiet and generally pretty smooth.
Ride Quality: Sitting in the Elantra is a relaxing experience due to the comfortable ride. It absorbs bumps and gaps well, and the tall sidewalls of the 16" wheels mean no jarring vibrations.
Acceleration: The Elantra isn't a land rocket, but it's quicker than a Toyota Corolla to 60 mph (7.8 sec for the Elantra and 9.5 for the Corolla) but slower than the Honda Civic (7.0 sec). Gearshifts in the lower range can feel a little rough.
Braking: Even though the Value Edition has somewhat primitive rear drum brakes, the pedal feel is good and stopping distances don't suffer as a result. There's no pedal mushiness or dead spots to speak of.
Steering: Steering is off-center at highway speeds and takes a lot of adjustment. When turning at lower speeds, effort is unusually high and a bit artificial in terms of feel.
Handling: There's some minor body roll, but the Elantra does quite well in turns. There's definitely understeer, but it's manageable, and you can put the Elantra t through the twisties without worry. It does better than most of its competitors in this department.
Hyundai does a very good job with in-car technology. None of it's cumbersome or unattractive. In fact, the Korean automaker has come up with a system that works wonderfully easy, and everything looks great.
Infotainment System: The 7-inch screen isn't huge by any means, but the graphics are attractive and crisp. The screen responds very well to inputs, and the menus are intuitive.
Controls: A single row of menu buttons just below the screen and right-sized audio buttons make for a low distraction factor while driving. Steering wheel controls are similarly easy to use. They're so simple, it's brilliant.
Bluetooth Pairing: The Elantra Value Edition has quick and easy pairing for phone and audio.
Voice Call Quality: Good audio quality and clear transmission on all our phone calls. No issues to speak of.
Though some would poo-pooh the conservative styling compared the more curvaceous lines of the last-generation Elantra, no one will argue with the amped up sophistication of the evolved Fluidic Sculpture styling of the current car. It's more cohesive, less busy and more European.
Front: The front end is handsome with a wide but not overly tall grille and some well-executed LED vertical driving lights. The simply creased hood is also a nice touch.
Rear: The Elantra has thin taillights and reflectors, giving the rear a lean look. The integrated trunk spoiler adds a sporty touch.
Profile: There's a long character line that runs from the front quarter panel all the way to the taillight and another one that runs parallel at the base of the doors. They elongate the car nicely. Our only chagrin is the rather small wheel size that detract from this view.
Cabin: Hyundai does black and charcoal interiors that don't look cheap. Material quality look and feel are excellent, and the styling is clean and easy on the eyes. Hyundai makes affordability look good.
The Elantra, even with cloth seats, does a fantastic job of providing its occupants with comfort. The cabin is extremely pleasant and well put together.
Front Seats: The cloth seats are well-cushioned and decently bolstered for turns. The grippy cloth feels good and allows you to stay planted in spirited driving conditions. There are 42.2 inches of legroom in the front, only 0.1 inches less than the Honda Civic Sedan.
Rear Seats: The rear seats are very good and offer 35.7 inches of legroom in the second row, a few inches less than the in back (41.4). The middle position is flat and only good for a fifth passenger for short distances.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): It's a quiet car even at highway speeds, adn there's no vibration we noticed. The Elantra is a well-built car, the quality of the construction is solid.
Visibility: The low hood makes it easy to see and place, and the side windows are large and provide expansive views. Only the rear decklid is tall and makes backup up a small challenge, mitigated by the rearview camera.
Climate: The climate system is easy to use and effective. The heated seats fire up quickly and with ample warmth.
Safety is an area where the Elantra shines. It pretty much nails the crash tests with top marks from the IIHS and very good scores from the NHTSA and also provide a good set of accident avoidance technology (only in top trim models, though).
IIHS Rating: It gets the top score with a Top Safety Pick+ rating, attaining "good" in all crash tests and "superior" in front crash prevention when outfitted accordingly.
NHTSA Rating: The Elantra gets a four star carsh safety rating.
Standard Tech: ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution & Brake Assist, blind spot detection w/ rear cross traffic alert.
Optional Tech: None on our tester, but if you go up the Elantra ladder with the Ultimate package, only available on the Limited trim, the Elantra comes with adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, and lane departure warning.
The Elantra is a practical vehicle when it comes to both small gear storage and trunk space. There's more than enough space to toss in the family gear, and it's got enough space for a loaded roadtrip for two.
Storage Space: The center armrest can hold a small tablet and other items that need to be placed out of sight, and the center stack cubby is deep with a nice retractable door.
Cargo Room: 14.4 cubic feet in the Elantra is a bit smaller than Honda Civic sedan (15.1) and bigger than the Corolla (13.0).
Hyundais typically don't nail serious mileage claims, and we weren't blown away by the efficiency. That being said, our tendency is to drive fairly aggresively. Mazda's better-driving 3 is more fun and easily more efficient.
Observed: 24.8 mpg
Distance Driven: 138 miles
Driving Factors: We drove in Sport mode almost the entire time in a combination of suburban roads and highways.
There's no premium system available on the Elantra Value Edition. The 6-speaker system that comes standard is decent but lacks volume and bass. You have to go with pricier Sport and Limited trims to get the Infinity premium audio system, and even then it's only optional.