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Highlight: The Elantra can be outfitted with hands free radar-activated trunk!

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $27,710 (Base model $17,985)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: ABS; airbags; driver’s blind spot mirror (outside mirror); Daytime Running lights; electronic stability control; traction control; and a tire pressure monitoring system

Standard Equipment (Base SE Model): 15-inch wheels; a manual transmission; cloth seats; manually operated front bucket seats; a manually operated ventilation system; a remote keyless entry system; rear seat cupholders; and a tilt/telescopic steering wheel.

Standard Equipment (Limited): 17-inch wheels; an automatic transmission; a blindspot detection system with a cross-traffic alert back up system; a rearview camera; automatic headlights; a touchscreen infotainment screen; a front center sliding center armrest; cruise control; a hands-free samart trunk release; a keyless ignition starter system; rear cupholders integrated into center armrest; chrome mirrors; LED Daytime Running Lights; LED rear taillights; duplicate steering wheel controls; leather seats; a power driver’s seat; power outside mirrors; heated front bucket seats with lumbar support for the driver; and three driving modes: normal, sport and economy.

Options On Test Vehicle: an 8-inch navigation system; Android Auto/Apple Car Play; an 8-speaker Infiniti audio system; a power sunroof; heated front (and rear seats); an automatic dimming rearview mirror; HID headlights which turns with the steering wheel; automatic emergency brakes with a pedestrian detection system; a radar-activated cruise control system; a lane keep assist system; a two-position memory setting for the driver’s seat (and outside mirror); and carpeted floor mats

Other Trim Level:SE

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM with a satellite radio

Bluetooth Connectivity: Higher Trims Only

USB Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder/147-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 26-city/36-hwy

What’s New: The sixth-generation Hyundai Elantra is all-new, inside and out. The vehicle not only wears a new design, but it’s also outfitted with the latest high-tech safety features.

Why: The grown up Hyundai first hit the market in 1990. Since that time, it has transformed itself into a high contented, value package, with a warranty that outmatches any of its competitors. The restyled 2017 model, especially when outfitted with all of the bell and whistles mimics that of a luxury vehicle. The newly restyled Elantra is available in two trims: a base and a Limited model. If it’s in the budget, we would recommend the Limited.

With its more mature look, the vehicle rides and drives more like a near luxury vehicle than an entry level compact. Inside the spacious cabin, Hyundai designers paid close attention to detail by creating supportive and comfortable front seats along with roomy rear seats, too. It’s no wonder that the interior cabin is large enough to be classified in the same league as such midsize sedans like the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. Yes, no gripes for lack of interior room should ever appear as one of the slights of this compact.

In fact, our user friendly Elantra Limited interior mirrors that of the current Hyundai Genesis sedan, which will soon be known as the Genesis G80. The Elantra’s center controlled infotainment system, with its 8-inch screen, looks like it was plucked right out of the Genesis sedan. Like in the premium sedan, it’s simple, straight-forward and easy-to-use. Hyundai has used a combination of both knobs and a touchscreen system to navigate everything. Even the fit and finish of the Elantra, with its two position memory setting, pushes the envelope for a compact, making this feel more like a near luxury vehicle.

Added to that, this is the only vehicle in the segment, offering a hands free operated truck. Yes, no keys, no feet waving or no hand waving is needed. Just simply stand behind the vehicle for a few seconds with the keyfob on-hand and the trunk literally pops up. Magic!

Furthermore, the Elantra not only offer an optional crystal clear Infiniti audio system, the vehicle can also be outfitted with such optional pre-self-driving features as a lane changing detection system, a radar activated cruise control system and an automatic collision braking system. Yes, this newly restyled luxury compact comes with everything but a driver.

But: The 2017 Hyundai Elantra styling mimics that of its big brother, the Sonata. Unlike the previous generation Elantra, this vehicle has more of a mature design, losing its eye-popping curves. And while the base SE model comes in approximately $100 lower price than its predecessor, this is somewhat justified because of the lack of standard content. Hmm. Go figure.

Also, after reviewing a Honda Civic and a VW Jetta within recent weeks, the Elantra definitely needs more power underneath the hood to make the vehicle more engaging and spirited to drive.

Lastly, the vehicle is only available in one bodystyle. Unlike the Honda and Kia, don’t expect a coupe or a hatchback.

Verdict: While the Elantra may have lost its styling edge, it has stepped up its game as far the size, the high level of content and its improved ride and driving capabilities. Out of the entire hyper competitive compact segment, the 2017 Elantra wins the prize in terms of being more like a near luxury vehicle, as opposed to an econo box on wheels.

Competition: 2016 Chevy Cruze; 2016 Ford Focus; 2016 Dodge Dart; 2016 Honda Civic; 2016 Nissan Sentra; 2016 Kia Forte; 2016 Mazda3; 2016 Subaru Impreza; 2016 Toyota Corolla; and 2016 Volkswagen Jetta


Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to Follow him on Twitter/JeffCars. 

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(Photo Source: Courtesy)

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