AutoGuide.com gathered six of the most significant new cars for the 2017 model year for our annual Car of the Year evaluations. This year, our contenders are the Hyundai Elantra, BMW M2, Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, Kia Optima, Ford Focus RS and Chevrolet Cruze. There was no hard price cap on this year’s entrants, but we tried to make sure none of them were extravagantly priced. We will release a new video on each contender every day leading up to Dec. 13, when we announce our winner. Stay tuned for our Crossover/SUV of the Year and Truck of the Year series, which is also coming soon!
The 2017 Hyundai Elantra is an impressive car that really exemplifies how the Korean automaker has been on a roll lately. Doing what it does best, Hyundai has packed its popular compact offering with a big list of features and technology all for a very affordable price.
Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Power: 147 hp, 132 lb-ft of torque
Transmission: 6-speed auto or 6-speed manual
EPA Fuel Economy (MPG): 29 city, 38 hwy, 33 combined
CAN Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 9.1 city, 6.6 hwy, 8 combined
US Starting Price: $17,985 including destination
CAN Starting Price: $17,694 including destination
You might remember that the 2016 Honda Civic was AutoGuide.com’s Car of the Year for 2016 and that it won because it was such a massive improvement over the previous-generation model that it set a new standard for what compact cars should be like. This year, the Hyundai Elantra is trying to do the same thing.
ALSO SEE: 2017 Hyundai Elantra Review
Starting with top-notch safety ratings, the totally redesigned 2017 Hyundai Elantra is also loaded with all the latest driver safety assistants like lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, and blind spot monitoring, all things that used to only be found in luxury cars. The sedan drives well, it’s comfortable, the interior is also clean and user-friendly, and although it’s perhaps not as high-end as the Civic’s, it’s still quite classy.
The Elantra’s exterior styling definitely isn’t as polarizing as its Honda Civic competitor and a lot of people might prefer its more subdued, mature style. But let’s not forget to mention that the more aggressive Hyundai Elantra Sport model is also available for 2017, which transforms the compact sedan into something drivers who want more performance can be proud of.
If there was a downside to the 2017 Hyundai Elantra, it would be that it’s not innovative enough to set a new bar for compact cars. It easily matches the Civic, but isn’t groundbreaking enough to surpass it.