2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited Review: Not Too Big, Not Too Small – the Just-Right Sedan

Check Out The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited, It'S Not Too Big, Not Too Small, It'S Just Right - Agirlsguidetocars

The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited Has Style and Zip to Delight a Driver on a Budget

If you have never driven a Hyundai, you may be in for a surprise. I was once a Hyundai snob, but that has all changed in the last year or two as I have driven them. There is no “it’s nice… for a Hyundai” here. The Elantra Limited compares to any mid-size four-door sedan and it’s rated 9.1/10 by Kelley Blue Book.

The Elantra sedan was completely redesigned for 2017, so its exterior and interior are all new; Hyundai also added several new technology features. The standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is improved, and Eco and Sport models are new options. The Eco uses a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder and advertises a highway fuel-economy rating of 40 mpg. The Elantra Sport has a zoomier 201-hp turbo 1.6-liter four-cylinder and more responsive controls, but loses fuel efficiency. There are plenty of options for every driver.

Who the Hyundai Elantra Limited is for

This sedan is perfect for anyone who spends a lot of time in the car – think sales jobs or construction supervisors – as well as:

  • Small families
  • Singles or couples
  • New drivers or teens who will appreciate the safety features
  • Drivers who want a comfortable, zippy vehicle that won’t break the budget
There'S Plenty Of Room For Car Seats In The Hyundai Elantra Limited

Our models Ellie and Susan have plenty of room in the back seat. At least two car seats fit comfortably. Photo: Kristin Shaw

What it costs

  • SE manual $17,150
  • SE automatic $18,150
  • Value edition $20,250
  • ECO $20,650
  • Sport manual $21,650
  • Limited $22,350
  • Sport automatic $22,750

Price of the model I drove: $27,865. That’s a Limited base model with:

  • Tech package, $2500, which includes Apple Car Play and Android Auto, nav system, premium speakers, power sunroof, heated seats, auto-dimming rear view mirror, and more
  • Ultimate package, $1900, which includes pedestrian detection, smart cruise control, Lane Keep Assist System, memory system for seats and mirrors
  • Carpeted floor mats, bumper protector, and first aid kit
Easy To Use Controls In The Hyndai Elantra

Simple easy to use controls make driving so much easier. . Photo: Kristin Shaw

Simple, nicely organized, intuitive driver controls 

The Elantra Limited interior is laid out in a way that makes it nearly idiot proof. Every button is easy to discern; every control makes sense. There was not an overabundance of buttons and commands to make it difficult to figure out, so the learning curve was short.

The gear shift is a standard stick type in the console to the right of the drivers’ seat, and the seat heaters and drive mode buttons are nestled right next to it. Jumping in the first time, starting the car and driving it felt natural and intuitive.

A Girls Guide To Cars | 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited Review: Not Too Big, Not Too Small – The Just-Right Sedan - Steering Wheel

Elantra has upgrades Galore in the 2017 model

The Elantra Limited included Bluetooth pairing, as most cars do these days, and it was very simple to set up with two steps. The volume sounded fine on my end, and most of the time it worked as it should. When I called my parents from the car, however, they had a hard time hearing me and I had to switch to manual speaker. I’m not ruling out user error, however.

USB ports are plentiful in the Elantra Limited, and they were easy to find and even easier to reach. The front includes one USB port and two 12V power ports, and the center console hosts one more USB port. My only complaint about the USB ports, and I found this to be true for any car with Apple CarPlay, is that when it’s plugged in, is that it overrides all of the other audio controls. If the map is on, it blares map directions over the speakers whether you want them to or not.

A Girls Guide To Cars | 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited Review: Not Too Big, Not Too Small – The Just-Right Sedan - Hyundai E Console

I’d really like for all cars to include a 110v standard three-prong outlet, but that’s another conversation altogether. And I’d recommend to Hyundai that they include 12V ports in the back seat, too, because long road trips with kids and electronics don’t work very well without power replenishment.

For the 2017 models, Hyundai also offers a new proximity key with push-button start and hands-free Smart trunk opening. Two amenity packages, Tech ($2,500) and Ultimate ($1,900), include a power tilt/telescoping wheel, smart cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, an eight-speaker Infinity audio system, and a 4.2-inch color driver’s display.

Daytime Running Lights - So Smooth, So Sleek In The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited

Daytime running lights – so smooth, so sleek. Photo: Kristin Shaw

The Limited also offers HID headlights with dynamic bending lights and LED daytime running lights, which is a fantastic addition. This means that when you turn the steering wheel, the car’s headlights will turn in that direction too. The result is that night driving is safer, because it lights up parts of the road you don’t usually see with the usual headlight configuration.

“SIDE NOTE: What are HID headlights?

High-intensity discharge lamps (HID lamps) are a type of electrical gas-discharge lamp which produces light by means of an electric arc between tungsten electrodes housed inside a translucent or transparent fused quartz or fused alumina arc tube. This tube is filled with both gas and metal salts. The gas facilitates the arc’s initial strike. Once the arc is started, it heats and evaporates the metal salts forming plasma, which greatly increases the intensity of light produced by the arc and reduces its power consumption. High-intensity discharge lamps are a type of arc lamp.

Brand new high-intensity discharge lamps make more visible light per unit of electric power consumed than fluorescent and incandescent lamps, since a greater proportion of their radiation is visible light in contrast to infrared. However, the lumen output of HID lighting can deteriorate by up to 70% over 10,000 burning hours.

Many modern vehicles use HID bulbs for the main lighting systems, some applications are now moving from HID bulbs to LED and laser technology. However, this HID technology is not new and was first demonstrated by Francis Hauksbee in 1705.”

Thanks for that, Wikipedia.

So Many Choices: How to Decide Which Trim is Right for Me?

A Girls Guide To Cars | 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited Review: Not Too Big, Not Too Small – The Just-Right Sedan - Hyundai All Exterior

Easily compare dimensions and features on the Hyundai site. Photo credit: Hyundai

The Elantra Limited includes a standard 7.0-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an available navigation system (part of the $2400 Premium package).

At 147 HP, driving the Hyundai Elantra Limited is more pedestrian than some of its sportier cousins on the market. It’s certainly capable of supporting its weight and chugging uphill – it did fine on my typical travel routes around the Austin area, up to Dallas, and over to Houston – and it feels smooth once it gets up to the 60-70 MPH zone.

The Elantra Limited has a bit of a hitch during quick acceleration. That’s the part that I would expect from this car, however, I hoped for more. I tested some uphill climbs in all three drive setting modes, and they felt similar to me, except that the Eco mode was slightly slower on the uptake. If you’re looking for more power, you may want to go with the Elantra Sport model, which carries a more impressive 201 horsepower motor and 195 lb-ft of torque.

This car was easy to drive and park, overall. I never had a problem finding a parking space, and parallel parking is a breeze with the back-up camera. It practically parks itself (not quite, but close enough).

The 7-Inch Display In The Elantra Is Clear And Easy To Use And Read

The 7-inch display in the Elantra is clear and easy to use and read. Photo: Kristin Shaw

Fuel Efficiency: It Goes and Goes and Goes 

The Elantra drinks plain old 87-octane fuel, which means you get to buy the least expensive of the gasoline flavors. Even better, it sips its nutrients and doesn’t guzzle them like other models might. Because it’s a light, streamlined automobile, the Elantra gets excellent mileage. The Monroney on the car I drove boasted a fuel efficiency rating of 32 mpg, and I found that to be true. My daily routes are a blend of highway and city roads, so testing it out in several conditions revealed the truth in advertising.

I drove the Elantra Limited up to Dallas, which is about 200 miles from my house, and made it almost all the way on one tank of gas. Compare that to the much lower fuel economy of the Land Rover LR4 I usually drive, and I just about jumped for joy that I didn’t have to visit the gas station very often.

The Hyundai Elantra Limited Is So Streamlined A 7-Year-Old Could Drive It!

So streamlined, a 7-year-old kid could drive it. (I promise he did not, however.) Photo: Kristin Shaw

Goldilocks Would Love This Car: Not too Big, Not too Small… It’s Just Right

The back seat has ample room for children or adults; we fit two booster seats in the back with no problem, and on girls’ night out, my friends and I packed the car with five people and everyone was perfectly comfortable. I would not, however, try that trick with five football players.

In the front half of the car, the bucket seats are at the perfect level for me (I’m 5’5”) to get in and out without feeling like I’m slumping way down. And in the back half, my 7-year-old son and his friends scrambled in and out easily. Leg room was surprisingly ample, especially considering the size of the trunk behind the back seats.

The Elantra Limited’s seating options are your average offerings. This particular model with the Tech Package included seat heaters in front and in back, which is nice for all of your passengers. There is no console in the back, but cup holders in the door are a welcome substitute.

The Hyundai Elantra Limited'S Trunk Space Is Impressive - Even With All Of My Camp Gladiator Gear Inside

The Hyundai Elantra Limited’s trunk space is impressive – even with all of my Camp Gladiator gear inside (that yellow bag is enormous!), it seemed cavernous, especially for a sedan. Photo: Kristin Shaw

Check out the impressive storage and cargo space

The boot, as they say in the UK, has plenty of space. We played Tetris with the trunk space and found that we could fit two full-size rollaboards, two computer bags, and a large box of kolache pastries with room to spare. The shape is notable as well, because there were no strange angles to impede our packing. I took a friend with me to Dallas and for one overnight stay we brought nine pairs of shoes between us. One needs a spacious trunk for trips like that.

Inside the car itself, the center console was quite small, with room enough for perhaps a small makeup bag. However, the floors and seats in the back had room for 20 purses and maybe two dogs if you like to travel with yours. With 14.4 cubic feet of cargo space, the car as a whole had a lot of room for suitcases, golf bags, hockey/baseball/lacrosse equipment, or a big stroller.

Booster Seats Fit Easily Into The Hyundai Elantra Limited

The booster seat fit just right in the seats with lots of room for my son’s legs. Photo: Kristin Shaw

Understated Style and Comfort 

The Interior Of The Hyundai Elantra Limited Is Functional, Smart, And Roomier Than You Might Expect

The interior of the Hyundai Elantra Limited is functional, smart, and roomier than you might expect. Photo credit: Hyundai

“My” Elantra Limited arrived at my doorstep with a snappy paint job in Scarlet Red Pearl, and I loved the way it shone in the sun. Other colors include Quartz White Pearl, Symphony Air Silver, Mineral Beige, Lakeside Blue, Phantom Black, and Galactic Gray. On the Hyundai site, if you click on a color, it reveals the interior colors available, and you can virtually get a feel for what each looks like.


What I Loved:

  • The simplicity of the controls
  • Fuel economy
  • Plenty of 12V outlets for electronics
  • Excellent visibility all around
  • Large trunk space
  • Multiple drives modes
  • Hands-free smart trunk
  • Automatic headlight control
  • The color (and the color name) Scarlet Red Pearl
  • 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Heated front seats
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Blind-spot monitoring system

What you Need to know:

  • 28 MPG city/37 MPG highway; we averaged about 32 MPG
  • 87-octane gas works just fine
  • Two child car seats fit in the back; one on each side
  • The Limited version includes
  • Pedestrian detection is an option as part of the Ultimate package and is highly recommended
  • Compare to the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla in its class
Silly Boys Posing For Photos In The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited

When you ask two silly first-grade boys to pose for a picture, this is what you get. Photo: Kristin Shaw

The Hyundai brand, overall is scrappy and underestimated. Every time I learn something new about the company, every person I meet from the brand, every time I test drive one of their vehicles: Hyundai is surprising. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Tunes to Go

I found myself rocking out to songs from the Rocky IV soundtrack and poppy songs from Bruno Mars and BORNS. Here’s my special edition playlist for the Elantra:

Writer. Car fanatic. Mom. Kristin is the co-owner of auto review site Drive Mode Show and a nationally-published writer... More about Kristin Shaw