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Roseville, Calif. – For knowledgeable Hyundai folks, 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.

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.

Of course, bigger doesn’t always mean more expensive. So no worries concerning the price – it’s still in the compact range. The 2017 Elantra starts at just over $17,000 despite adopting the industry trend of putting high-end equipment in compact cars.

Since 2011, the Elantra has been included among the elite compact vehicles – Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla. While the current redesign is a good one, the Elantra’s improvements have not elevated it to an elite level. It still can’t match the fuel economy of the Mazda 3 or the Honda Civic, and doesn’t possess as much room 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 high-end equipment, like a very user-friendly touchscreen. The interior roominess is about the same for front and back seat folks, while the trunk is reduced slightly from 14.8 cubic feet to 14.4.

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.

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 the Elantra, which travels 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 that produces 128 horsepower 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).

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

Although the Elantra is lacking in overall performance and doesn’t possess much of a fun factor, it makes up for that shortcoming 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 many enviable qualities to the 2017 Hyundai Elantra, including comfort, value, appearance, driving capability and user-friendly technology. Although the Elantra is not the top of the compact class, it does keep inching closer.

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