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Roseville, Calif. – No excuses required if you fail to recognize the 2017 Hyundai Elantra. A redesign took away the vehicle’s somewhat bold curves and replaced them with a more conservative look that resembles the popular midsize Hyundai Sonata.

For knowledgeable Hyundai folks, that means the new bolder designed Elantra went from being an appealing looking compact sedan to a larger midsize car. Hyundai managed to do this by making the Elantra only about an inch longer and wider.

Note that bigger doesn’t mean more expensive. There are no worries concerning the price – it’s still in the compact range. The 2017 Elantra starts at just over $17,000 and goes along with the industry trend toward providing high-end equipment in compact cars.

2017 Hyundai Elantra

* Performance: 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, 147 horsepower; turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder, 128 horsepower
* Price: $17,150 to $22,350
* Mileage estimate: 26-32 mpg; 32-40 mpg
* Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain 10 years/100,000 miles; corrosion 7 years/unlimited; roadside assistance 5 years/unlimited

The base model has standard features that include 15-inch steel wheels; full power accessories; tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel; 60/40-split folding rear seatback; six-speaker sound system with satellite radio and a CD player.

Since its strong 2011 redesign, the Elantra has been included among the elite compact vehicles – Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla. While the latest redesign is a good one, the Elantra’s improvements have not elevated it to star status. It still can’t match the fuel economy of the Mazda 3 or the Honda Civic, and is not as roomy as the Toyota Corolla or the Civic.

Appearance is not the only common thread between the Elantra and the Sonata, The Elantra interior is more comfortable and the overall layout offers additional bells and whistles, like a very user-friendly touchscreen. However, the roominess is about the same for front and back seat folks, and the trunk reduced from 14.8 cubic feet to 14.4.

The biggest complaint with the 2017 Elantra is performance, which remains behind the class leaders. The SE and Limited versions of the Elantra have a modest 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. There’s nothing quick about this engine – it goes 0-60 mph in 9.5 seconds.

The new Elantra Eco model provides more pep, but like the other engine, still falls short with good initial acceleration. The Eco has a turbocharged 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine with a seven-speed automated manual transmission that operates like an automatic. The Eco gets an estimated 32-40 mpg; more than the SE and Limited (26-32 mpg).

Although the Elantra is lacking in overall performance and doesn’t possess a fun factor, it makes up for that shortcoming somewhat by providing good driving mannerisms. The ride is quiet and composed at any speed. The Elantra also delivers solid stability and good braking.

There are a lot of fine qualities with the 2017 Hyundai Elantra – comfort, value, appearance, driving acumen and friendly gadgetry. The Elantra is not the top of the compact class, but it keeps inching closer.

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