2017 Hyundai Elantra

2017 Hyundai Elantra

Episode 3546
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When we last left the Hyundai Elantra, its styling may have impressed us; but when it came to road manners, we thought it was more of a step back in time for this fastly progressing brand. Well, Hyundai certainly hasn’t gotten to where they are today by ending with a cliff hanger. Well, now there’s a new gen Elantra for ’17. So let’s tune in, and find out what happens next. 

The Hyundai Elantra sedan has had its ups and downs since going on sale here in the early 90s. And despite our misgivings over the last generation, sales have skyrocketed of late to well over 200,000-units per year. Sounds like a lot, but that’s about 100,000 less than either the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla. So needless to say, Hyundai is eager to boost their sales further with this 6th-generation 2017 4-door. 

Styling is perhaps not as daring as last gen, but it’s still a compact looker and fully in line with larger 4-door stablemates, Sonata and Genesis. Especially up front, where it now shares their larger grille and available signature DRLs. 

Same basic platform as before, but it’s had a complete onceover; with a stiffer structure, progressively more isolated suspension, and a modest increase in overall size.

It’s 1.0-inch wider; and just shy of an inch longer, though wheelbase remains the same. 17-inch alloy wheels come with Limited trim, base SEs are equipped with 15-inch “steelies”. 

Most appreciably, things are a lot quieter inside, thanks to thicker glass and additional sound deadening materials. 

Helping too is a new, standard 2.0-liter I4 that’s a bit more powerful than the previous gen’s 1.8-liter; at 147-horsepower and 132 lb-ft. of torque.

It’s smoother, quieter operation is readily apparent at cruising speeds. A 6-speed manual transmission is available, but only in base SE trim. A 6-speed automatic is fitted to our Limited tester. 

A 128-horsepower 1.4-liter I4-powered Eco model is also available for maximum efficiency, up to 40-highway; though truth be told, the 2.0-liter is not bad in that regard either. 

2.0 Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 28-City, 37-Highway, and 32-Combined. We averaged a very good 35.6 miles-per-gallon of Regular. Thus the Energy Impact Score is a good one at 10.3-barrels of oil used annually with C02 emissions of 4.7-tons.

Front seats are plenty wide and offer above average for its class comfort. Likewise in the rear, there’s adult-size room and adequate coziness. 

Trunk space is fine at 14.4 cubic-ft., but it’s cheaply finished and the deck lid feels very flimsy. However, we liked the hand-free opening smart trunk.

Limited trim delivers a display audio system with 7-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android auto. Adding the Tech package ups it to 8-inches and adds navigation and Infinity premium audio, as well as heated seats.

Gauges are clean and simple with a 4-inch color TFT info display. The interior has definitely moved upscale in appearance, with the Ultimate package adding seat memory plus the latest in safety including blind spot detection, cross traffic alert, and even emergency braking.

Useful room is up too, so like Civic and Corolla, the Elantra is now classified as midsize by the government.

But middling is how we found full-throttle acceleration, taking 9.3-seconds to hit 60 miles-per-hour with lots of 4-cylinder wail. But, acceleration does remain steady; thanks to minimal lag between shifts. So the Elantra feels faster than the numbers; which were 17.3 in the ¼ at 83 miles-per-hour.

Things certainly have improved in the handling department. There is plenty of grip at a moderate pace; and a playful amount of understeer when pushed harder. The car reacts quickly to steering inputs; and a nicely responsive throttle enabled us to easily keep it right on the edge, inspiring confidence as speeds increased. 

Brakes were another pleasant surprise. Panic stops from 60 took a good 123–feet with minimal fade; along with a nicely firm, short travel pedal.  

So with all of the improvements, the Elantra’s value proposition is also stronger than ever, as base SE pricing is actually reduced by 90-bucks to $17,985. Limited trim starts at $23,185. 

Far more competent, more refined, and more consistent with Hyundai’s increasingly upscale ambitions; plus an outstanding warranty; all things that help make the 2017 Hyundai Elantra a vehicle worthy of your compact consideration. One that might finally be ready to give Corolla and Civic a real run for your money.

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.0 liter I4
  • Horsepower: 147
  • Torque: 132 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 9.3 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 17.3 seconds @ 83 mph
  • EPA: 28 mpg city / 37 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 10.3 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 4.7 tons/yr
  • Transmission: 6 spd auto
2023 Mazda3

2023 Mazda3

Still The Same Mazda3, Just A Bit Better

Episode 4304
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When the fourth-gen Mazda3 arrived for 2019, it grew a little more stylish, a lot more upscale; and loads more practical too, adding all-wheel drive into the mix for the first time. How does it get better than that? Well, for ’23 the 3 adds an engine update that promises to deliver more power and better efficiency. Time to speak truth to this power.

The Mazda3 has always been a great compact car, big on both fun and value, and has earned numerous MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Awards over the years. This current-gen has been on the road for 4-years now, and it gets even better for 2023.

Starting with the powertrain, the base 2.0-liter I4 has been eliminated leaving just 2 versions of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, turbo and non-turbo. Base versions get a 5-horsepower bump to 191-horsepower, along with updates for its cylinder deactivation system. The 2.5 Turbo fits standard all-wheel drive and outputs the same 250-horsepower and 320 lb-ft. of torque as last year; provided you use Premium gas. Max ratings drop to 227-horsepower and 310 lb-ft. with Regular.

2023 Mazda3 6
2023 Mazda3 2
2023 Mazda3 5
2023 Mazda3 3
2023 Mazda3 4
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A 6-speed manual transmission remains available in front-wheel drive 3s, but AWDs come exclusively with a sport-tuned 6-speed automatic. We found it well-sorted and seemingly always on the same page as us whether we were shuffling through back roads or sitting in traffic. There is a softer overall feel compared to Mazda3s of old, which you’ll appreciate when encountering harsh pavement, but it still feels plenty agile when called upon.

That softer feel certainly carries over inside, where it has gotten much quieter, and quite nicely finished, consistent with Mazda’s Audi-like premium intentions. All 3s get an 8.8-inch center display, and all of the fingerprints on our test car’s screen signifies most people assume it’s a touchscreen. It’s not, however, as inputs are made with a rotary controller on the console. It’s not the most intuitive system, but once you’re past the learning curve, it’s tolerable.

The rear seat room doesn’t have the roomy feel of the Subaru Impreza, but space is certainly more than adequate compared to the rest of the compact set. Rear cargo space for this hatchback rates a good 20.1 cubic-ft. with trunk space in the sedan coming in at 13.2 cubic-ft. So yes, the Mazda3 remains available in both sedan and hatchback, but we still prefer the 5-door hatch both for its practicality and for its sporty looks. Top Turbo Premium Plus gets gloss black aero treatments including a roof spoiler and front air dam.

At the test track, power from the 2.5-turbo felt more than adequate off the line, using all-wheel-drive grip to bite into the pavement and get up and go to 60 in 6.0-seconds flat. There was virtually no turbo lag, and the engine felt nicely refined with its power delivery. Transmission operation was equally as smooth and kept the power flowing quite effectively throughout the ¼-mile, which ended in 14.5-seconds at 95 miles-per-hour. We really appreciate a well-tuned 6-speed in this world of overactive 8 and 10 speed automatics.

2023 Mazda3 1

While there was definitely some understeer to manage in our handling course, the 3 turned in quickly and provided real, sporting feedback through our cone course. I-Activ AWD features G-Vectoring Control Plus, which uses both engine torque vectoring as well as selective braking to minimize body roll, and preserve the lively feel we’ve come to expect from Mazda. In panic braking runs, the pedal was soft, but that kept ABS pulsing to a minimum; and the results were great, as we averaged a very short 106-feet from 60, with minimal nose dive and stable, straight stops.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an all-wheel drive Turbo are 23-City, 31-Highway, and 26-Combined; we averaged a good 28.4 miles-per-gallon of Regular.

Obviously by eliminating the previous base engine, prices have taken a jump for ’23, but so has everything else. Still they remain more than reasonable. The base S now starts at $26,855, with the top Turbo Premium Plus at $37,815, with many options in between. And sedan prices are even more sensible, starting at $23,715.

Like most brands, Mazda seems to be going all-in on SUVs; as the 3 is the last family sedan and hatchback in their lineup. And it would be a real shame if that were to change. As the 2023 Mazda3, the hatchback in particular, is just about the perfect car, offering utility vehicles levels of practicality along with better than average luxury, plus handling performance that few crossovers can match. So, long live the Mazda3!

Specifications

As Tested

  • Engine: 2.5-liter Turbo-4
  • Horsepower: 227 | 250
  • 0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 106 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 28.4 MPG (Regular)
  • Transmission: 6-speed auto
  • Torque: 310 lb-ft. | 320 lb-ft
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.5-seconds at 95 mph
  • EPA: 23-City / 31-Highway / 26-Combined