Since launching in 2011, the fifth-generation Hyundai Elantra has accomplished many things. It established Hyundai as a serious contender in the compact segment, but for value instead of just low price. It came agonizingly close to beating out the perennial Canadian sales champ Civic for best selling car. But it never quite managed to be included in the same group as the Civic or Corolla without price being mentioned. “It’s better than the Civic for the money”, things like that. With the all-new sixth generation 2017 Hyundai Elantra, Hyundai is taking a serious shot at dropping the “for the money”. The inside and outside of this car looks and feels as good as its competitors. Full stop. That said, let’s take a look at the all-new Elantra and see just how it does on its own.
The first thing you see when you get in the car is that this is a very nice dash, both to the eye and to the touch. There’s an 8.0-inch touchscreen with nav front and centre, a faux brushed aluminum strip separating the top and bottom, both lightly padded plastic where you first reach. The top is black, the bottom is a light beige that matches the perforated leather seats. The cluster has a 4.2-inch full colour information display that’s clearly visible behind the tilt and telescoping heated leather steering wheel. My Limited trim test model has push button start and proximity keyless entry. The eight-speaker Infinity stereo has touchscreen controls, redundant knobs on the dash and controls on the wheel. There are also voice controls, which are reasonably intuitive after a quick glance at the manual. For all that, I wasn’t impressed with the audio quality, which seemed tinny and hollow, regardless of the adjustments I made.
My only real complaints in the interior were a couple of touch points that were hard plastic in a bad spot. They were both contact points for my legs, where my knee or shin hit the door panel and centre stack. The centre stack left a bruise on my shin after a week of driving, and was a sore spot for most of that time. That’s a common problem for me in compact and midsize cars, so if you’ve never hit the console with your knee you probably won’t here. If you are nodding in agreement about sharp lower dash corners, then make sure you test fit the Elantra. A small bit of padding on the door panel and dash would make a world of difference in comfort for some people.
Moving backward, rear seat room was adequate, but a tight fit for me versus the Civic or Cruze. If you have anyone in the back, you’ll want to disable the ease of entry feature which automatically moves the power seat all the way back whenever the car is turned off. If you’re sitting back there yourself and accidentally activate the feature (which isn’t easy from the back seat), you might need to make an embarrassed call for someone to help let you out.