The all-new 2017 Hyundai Elantra arrives in dealerships this month, featuring a bold aerodynamic design, a comprehensive suite of safety features, modern interior styling with class-above features, and a number of user-friendly technologies. It continues to be one of Hyundai’s all time best-selling models, known for its significant value advantage in a highly competitive compact car segment. Starting at $17,150 the new Elantra is priced $100 less than the award-winning model it replaces and offers two new efficient powertrains for enhanced fuel economy, a better ride quality and improved noise insulation.
Assembled in both Montgomery, Alabama and Ulsan, South Korea, the new Elantra distinguishes itself from the compact car class with segment-first premium features such as a hands-free Smart Trunk and Clari-Fi™ music restoration technology, plus additional convenience and safety items. The 2017 Elantra is available with 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. The Elantra is expected to receive a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and a 5-Star Safety Rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The new Elantra projects confidence with sculpted body forms complemented by smoothly contoured lines that reveal the underlying inspiration of Hyundai designers. Inspired by the concept of dynamic precision, Elantra’s architecture was a perfect platform for collaboration between Hyundai designers and engineers to blend advanced styling with functional aerodynamics.
From the front, the new Elantra is defined by Hyundai’s signature hexagonal grille that projects a distinctive character when combined with its modern lighting signatures, including available HID headlights with Dynamic Bending Lights and unique vertical LED daytime running lights, which are firsts for Elantra. Elantra’s sporty lower front fascia integrates functional front wheel air curtains, a component derived from the Sonata Hybrid that helps manage air flow from the front of the vehicle and around the wheels to minimize turbulence and wind resistance. In addition, underbody covers, an aerodynamic rear bumper bottom spoiler and rear decklid designed with an expanded trunk edge contribute to Elantra’s 0.27 coefficient of drag.
Elantra features a sleek bodyside character line that accentuates a sweeping side window silhouette and striking side profile. Available 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 to this class-above compact sedan. The 2017 Elantra will be offered in eight exterior colors, five new to the model. Elantra’s overall length has increased by just under an inch and its proportions are further enhanced by increasing its width by 1.0-inches, presenting a more athletic stance and stable appearance.
MODERN INTUITIVE INTERIOR
On the inside, Elantra continues to depict a modern, driver-oriented design optimized for intuitive control, improved interior roominess, high-quality materials and premium technology features. The contemporary interior design integrates premium soft-touch materials in key touch points and high-tech details to create an inviting and comfortable interior environment for all passengers.
The wide design of the instrument panel provides a feeling of spaciousness and is available with a 4.2-inch color TFT LCD instrument display for improved driver visibility and functionality. The rest of the center stack is laid out in a horizontal design with buttons and controls placed in logical groups by function, and a slight seven degree tilt toward the driver for optimal ergonomics. Available premium convenience features such as a segment-first integrated memory system for the power driver seat and side mirrors, dual automatic temperature control with auto defogging system and auto-dimming rearview mirror further enhance driving comfort, along with advanced ergonomic front seats. The front seats feature high-tension lightweight seat frames for improved performance in collisions, and a multi-firmness seat pad to help reduce driver fatigue over long distances.
In fact, all of Elantra’s seats, covered in either cloth or available leather, are made of SoyFoam™, an environmentally friendly seating foam that substitutes petroleum based polyol with hydroxyl-functionalized soybean oil and optimizes the formulation/process to maximize mechanical performance. For added comfort and convenience, passengers enjoy available heated front and rear seats with a versatile 60/40 split-folding rear seat. Elantra also offers class-above total interior volume with improved front and rear headroom. At 110.2 cu. ft. of total interior volume, the 2017 Elantra is classified as a Midsize car by the EPA, which is a class above Mazda3, Ford Focus and some premium models.
In addition to passenger comfort, improving interior cabin noise management and reducing road noise were top development priorities for Hyundai engineers. To reduce engine sound a hood insulator is equipped on the majority of Elantra models. Engineers also reduced the aperture size in the front dash panel by 25 percent, increased the thickness of the front door window glass, and added various sound absorption materials in all pillars, inner fenders and floorpan. In an effort to further improve NVH characteristics, engineers also applied plastic and rubber bushings to the front sub-frame and increased the bushings size of the lower control arm.
REFINED & RESPONSIVE CHASSIS
The 2017 Elantra is lighter than the outgoing model, and its rigid chassis is now reinforced with 53 percent advanced high-strength steel compared with 21 percent from the previous model, providing improved stiffness at a lower body weight. This increased usage results in a 29.5 percent stiffer torsional rigidity and 25.3 percent greater bending strength, which bring improvements in vehicle ride and handling, quietness, durability and driving performance. Furthermore, the new Elantra increased structural adhesive application 40 times at higher stress points on the chassis and to reinforce welding areas. A component often found in aerospace applications, these structural adhesives also contribute to improved NVH and vehicle dynamics due to extra stiffness in the chassis. Hyundai engineers focused on these enhancements to develop a more rigid body structure in an effort to target top safety ratings by the IIHS and NHTSA.
Improved ride comfort, handling and stability are achieved through Elantra’s redesigned rear suspension geometry that modifies the angle of the rear shock absorbers and changed the position of the coil springs on the coupled torsion beam axle. Additionally, an increase in rear bushing diameter helps to improve long term durability. Elantra’s front suspension uses an optimally designed McPherson strut with coil springs and gas shock absorbers along with a front stabilizer bar to help reduce body roll when cornering. The standard Motor-Driven Power Steering (MDPS) system instantly adjusts to changing driving conditions for greater precision and steering feel while improving fuel economy. Increased caster provides safe and reliable steering feedback at highway speeds.
For 2017, the Elantra receives two all-new powertrains designed for improved fuel efficiency and everyday drivability performance. The standard engine available on the base SE and Limited trim is a 2.0-liter Nu MPI Atkinson four-cylinder engine producing a peak 147 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 132 lb. ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm. This Atkinson cycle-type engine reduces pumping loss by delaying the close timing of the intake valve in the compression stroke, therefore maximizing the expansion ratio – it is the only Atkinson cycle engine to be combined with multi-port injection in the compact class. This greater expansion ratio is made more efficient by allowing additional energy to be produced. Furthermore, this engine features a high compression ratio of 12.5.
Other enhancements include intermediate valve cam phasing that increases the operational range of the intake valves and helps to reduce pumping loss. High energy ignition coils are also adopted to increase combustion efficiency through increasing spark intensity. A new electronically controlled thermostat decreases pumping energy and allows the thermostat to open at a higher temperature. Finally, piston cooling jets are added to cool down the piston by spraying oil at the lower position of the piston resulting in knock stability and fuel economy improvements. All of this results in up to a 2.2 percent increase in efficiency for optimized fuel economy, and up to an EPA fuel economy rating of 29 city / 38 highway / 33 combined mpg (for the Elantra SE with 6-A/T).
This 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder engine is paired with either a standard six-speed manual transmission (available only on the SE trim) or Elantra’s next generation six-speed automatic transmission. The new automatic transmission helps deliver dynamic performance with an overall 3.3 percent increase in efficiency for optimized fuel economy. A new valve body improves gear shift responsiveness and control, while an optimization in oil pump size aids in improving operating efficiency. A multi-clutch torque converter is also a new addition that allows more control over lock-up. Finally, rolling resistance and friction are minimized by adopting double angular ball bearings.
The second powertrain is an all-new 1.4-liter Kappa turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine equipped on the Elantra Eco trim, available in Spring 2016. This engine produces 128 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and a robust 156 lb-ft. of torque at a low 1,400 ~ 3,700 rpm and will be mated to an EcoShift seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The Eco trim is projected to achieve an unsurpassed estimated 35 mpg combined rating based on internal testing.