Sunday, October 1, 2017

2018 Honda Odyssey




2018 Honda Odyssey
 A Sports Car Minivan!

By Charles Donaldson
Hello Again. This month’s article is the second part to the question “What type of vehicle works best for camping?” For those readers who missed the first article in August 2017 (2017 Kia Sorento Crossover), my goal is to look at three different types of vehicles and how they stack up to a camping adventure, and highlight the pros and cons of each vehicle category along with my personal camping experiences. 

Our second vehicle category is the minivan and, in particular, the 2018 Honda Odyssey. These days it’s almost unfair to call the current “minivans” mini. When the first minivan arrived in 1984 in the form of the Chrysler minivan, it was only 175.9-inches long compared to a full-size Dodge van stretching 212-inches. The 2018 Honda Odyssey is 203.2-inches long, which is almost as large as what was considered a “Full-size” van.

People may also be thinking, “Take a minivan camping? Its purpose is to take the family to school sporting events.” I can personally tell you a minivan can be that perfect camping vehicle. You have two wide doors to get people and things in and out. There is plenty of storage for your camping gear in the back, especially if you lower the third row of seats flat like the Honda Odyssey allows. The overall height is lower than an SUV or truck, so the lifting is a little easier as well.

The 2018 Honda Odyssey’s cargo room ranges from 32.8 cu ft. (behind the 3rd row seat), 88.8 cu ft. (behind the 2nd row seat), 144.9 cu ft. (behind the 1st row seat), and 172.6 cu ft. of passenger volume. That’s a lot of room!


For 2018, the Honda Odyssey is completely redesigned. The Odyssey has been the best-selling minivan in America for the past seven years. This fifth-generation Odyssey raises the bar for performance, cabin quietness, family-friendly interior space, comfort and connectivity in the minivan segment. It is available in the following trim levels: LX ($29,900), EX ($33,860), EX-L ($37,360), Touring ($44,510), and the Elite ($46,670).

Offering customers greater value than ever before, the 2018 Honda Odyssey development team substantially increased comfort and convenience features such as standard Honda Sensing® technology, new Display Audio system with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™, and new Magic Slide 2nd-row seats™ in EX and above trims, for example. The line-topping Odyssey Touring and Elite models round out the Odyssey lineup with a long list of available new premium features and technologies, including CabinWatch™ day/night video monitor, CabinTalk™ in-car PA system, 4G LTE in-car Wi-Fi, new Rear Entertainment System (RES) with Blu-ray and streaming video, hands-free power tailgate, heated steering wheel, LED accent lighting, and more.
The 3.5-liter engine is new and packs 280 horses under the hood. Now here’s the real kicker: all models except for the Touring and Elite mate the 3.5-liter to a 9-speed automatic transmission with Paddle shifters. If that wasn’t enough, the Touring and Elite both include a 10-speed auto transmission with Paddle shifters! And if you were wondering, yes it accelerates like a performance vehicle, while mastering corners with exhilaration.

The styling on the Odyssey feels more like an SUV than a minivan from many angles. The front end is an intentional clone of the brand’s Pilot crossover and Civic with active grille shutters to improve aerodynamic efficiency on the highway. The hood and sides are carved with deep sporty swoops and “lightning bolt” chrome belt lines.

Inside, Honda has added many soft-touch materials creating a more expensive look and feel. In the center of the dash is a large screen that is the main control center. All of the side windows had shade screens helping to keep the sun out and the shade in. Honda worked hard to make the cabin as outside, noise-free as possible – maybe too quiet as I didn’t hear the ambulance until it was about 30-feet away. The only caveat is that the second row of seats does not fold flat or tilt forward. In fact, you must remove them if you want a fully-flat rear cargo area and they weigh around 70 lbs. each. 

My Elite trim included the new CabinWatch and CabinTalk features that allow you to watch the kids in the back two rows and speak to them through the rear speakers or headphones if they are listening to the DVD entertainment system. Other cool interior features include: built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi, Smartphone-inspired infotainment system, CabinControl App, built-in vacuum cleaner, wireless smart phone charger and digital gauge cluster.

The cargo area is well-suited to carry your camping gear including: a tent, three large plastic totes, a medium size cooler, fishing poles, three folding chairs, two medium-sized bags of clothes, a box of wood, three sleeping bags, three pillows, small cooler and a bag of sheets and blankets and other small items. In the front center console was a 110-volt power plug.

Cool Features:
·         CabinWatch and CabinTalk

·         Standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you can access popular smartphone features including: maps, text messages and music

·         110-volt power inverter plug

·         Rear Blue Ray DVD entertainment system with wireless headphones and remote

·         Built-in Vacuum cleaner

·         Wireless Smart phone charger

·         Built-in WiFi system

The 2018 Honda Odyssey is loaded with safety features including the following: Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) Body Structure, Dual-Stage, Multiple-Threshold Front Airbags (SRS), Front Side Airbags, Three-Row Side Curtain Airbags with Rollover Sensor, Driver's and Front Passenger's Knee Airbags, Lane Keeping Assist System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Information System, Smart Entry with Walk-Away Auto Lock and more. Some of these items are optional safety features for purchase.  

In Summary – The 2018 Honda Odyssey is a premier minivan at a premier price. The Honda team managed to equip the Touring and Elite models with almost every new high-tech feature available. If they could change the second-row seats to fold in half and flip up, the vehicle would be almost perfect. The power and performance was sports car-like. The new styling is fun and racy. As for camping, I have found that minivans are the most convenient way to comfortably load up passengers and your cargo. My suggestion is to head over to a Honda dealer if your family is looking for the multi-person people-mover that almost has it all.

Stay tuned for the 4-11 as I am in search of a Pickup to complete our final comparison!

Specifications
2018 Honda Odyssey Elite

Base price:                  $46,670 as driven: $47,610 (including destination & optional
                                      features)
Engine:                         3.5-liter V6
Horsepower:                 280 hp
Torque:                         262 lb.-ft.
Transmission:               10-speed automatic
Drive:                             FWD-Wheel Drive
Seating:                         8-passenger
Turning radius:             39.64 feet
Cargo space:                32.8 to 155.7 cubic feet
Curb weight:                4,593 pounds  
EPA mileage:                City 19/Hwy 28/Comb 22 MPG
Wheel Base:                118.1 inches
Warranty:                     3 years/36,000-miles

Also consider:              Chrysler Town & Country, Ford Transit Connect, Kia Sedona,
                                        Toyota Sienna 

Friday, September 1, 2017

2017 Hyundai Veloster




2017 Hyundai Veloster
 Three Doors…And Good To Go!

By Charles Donaldson
Two-doors, three-doors, four-doors, five-doors; who’s counting? Hyundai is and their magic number is three when it comes to the 2017 Veloster and three is the perfect number! If the Veloster came in two-doors you would probably end up paying more for car insurance as two-door vehicles are considered sport cars. If it was equipped with four-doors, well, you would be driving a sedan. Let’s face it, with a name like Veloster it better lean more towards the sporty side than the practical direction.

The Veloster entered the market in 2011 to replace the aging Hyundai Tiburon. With its quirkiness of having three-doors adding to its unique appeal, the Veloster has created a category with no direct competitors. The underpinnings are provided by the last-generation Elantra. The styling is part hatchback and part coupe. The only changes for 2017 are the addition of HD Radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

The 2017 Hyundai Veloster comes in the following configurations: Base ($18,100), Value Edition ($21,350), Turbo R-Spec ($21,600), and Turbo ($22,600). The three-door styling is distinctive with a door on the driver’s side and two “full-size” doors on the passenger side. Saturn used to offer a third-door but it was very small. The Veloster’s rear passenger door allows for easy entries and exits.

The styling of the 2017 Veloster screams “let’s have fun.” It’s lower stance and height, sharply angled roof line, hard and soft body strokes, and rear wheels pushed as far back as possible create the image of a bottle rocket lit and ready to fly. Add in the panoramic sunroof (part of the Tech package for Turbo – a $2700 package) and the Veloster looks pronounced from the outside and inside.

The interior of the Veloster has received mixed reviews. The front seats are comfortable yet, for me, personally, the lumbar support was a little too-inflated and I couldn’t find a way to tone it down. The back seats have nice legroom, but the sloping roof steals away some desired headroom. Yes, we pay for a sporty design!

The rear seats hold two people separated by cup holders and a minor pocket for unsecured storage.  The front dash has two 12v plugs but only one USB port. The Tech package for Turbo includes a 110 outlet.  The center of the dash lays out the vents and controls in a “V” shape accentuating the Veloster name.

The Veloster engines are shared with the Hyundai Accent and range in horsepower from 138 HP to 201 HP on the turbo version. Now the zippy look has the horses to back up the sporty flare. All models come standard with a six-speed manual Transmission or a 6-speed EcoShift® Dual Clutch transmission, except the Turbo R-Spec which is manual only. The Turbo is also available with a 7-speed EcoShift® Dual Clutch transmission for an extra $1,200.

Cool Features:
·         Three-door design

·         Panoramic sunroof

·         110-volt power inverter plug (requires the Tech package for Turbo)

The 2017 Hyundai Veloster comes well-equipped with safety features including the following: Vehicle Stability Management System, Electronic Stability Control, 4-wheel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, driver and front passenger side-impact airbags, side-curtain airbags, rearview camera, driver’s blind spot mirror.

In Summary – The 2017 Hyundai Veloster is a fun-to-drive little sports car, especially when equipped with the turbo engine. The styling is amusing and clever as well as sporty. The rear seats fit adults, but might be considered more child-appropriate. The turbo 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine delivers the power while the unique sport-tuned steering and suspension completes the aggressive package. If you are looking for a vehicle that doesn’t conform with norm, then jump into the 2017 Veloster and experience an entertaining ride!

Specifications
2017 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

Base price:                  $22,600 as driven: $26,260 (including destination & optional
                                    features)
Engine:                         1.6-liter 4-Cylinder Turbo
Horsepower:                 201 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque:                         195 lb.-ft. @ 1750 ~ 4500 rpm
Transmission:               6-speed manual
Drive:                             Front-Wheel Drive
Seating:                         4-passenger
Turning radius:             34.12 feet
Cargo space:                15.5 cubic feet
Curb weight:                2,877 pounds  
Fuel capacity:               13.2 gallons
EPA mileage:                City 25/Hwy 33/Comb 28 MPG
Wheel Base:                104.3 inches
Warranty:                     10 years/100,000-miles powertrain limited
Also consider:              Fiat 500 Abarth, Mini Hardtop, Nissan Juke, Volkswagen Golf

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

2017 Kia Sorento




2017 Kia Sorento
 Camping Wars – SUV/Crossover

By Charles Donaldson

With summer upon us, I have found that one of the primary questions around the water cooler is “What are you and your family going to do this summer?” This year, the trophied response was “camping,” followed by my co-water-cooler friends asking me “What type of vehicle works best for camping?”


This question gave me the inspiration for this article, which will be the first of three that will highlight the pros and cons of three vehicle categories along with my personal camping experiences of each. That said, what are our choices outside of renting an RV?


The three most common vehicles, are an SUV (Crossover), a Minivan, and a Truck, where the first two choices offer the security of an enclosed area for your stuff. The pickup’s attributes include a large bed for your outdoor wilderness provisions and perhaps, more off-road capabilities.


I enjoy and began the sport of camping several years ago, thanks to “the bug” that I caught from an old girlfriend’s family. They would pack up the tents, coolers, hot dogs and family to recreate their home in the woods for two weeks every year. After joining them for a couple of days, I found that I was hooked and started buying supplies.


In the beginning, there was enough room in my 1966 Mustang for camping gear for two people. Now, however, with the addition of kids and equipment, I need a canyon of cargo space. When my daughter, Cayla, and I started a tradition of camping adventures, my cabinets began multiplying with the essentials needed. The space grew from one half cabinet to two large ones.


A request went out into the universe, and the 2017 Kia Sorento SXL AWD Crossover was delivered. At first glance, I was happy to see that the Kia came with AWD in case a dusty trail crossed our path. The 2017 Sorento comes in four trim levels: L, LX, EX, SX, and SXL and range in price starting at $25,400 to $45,700. All except the L is available in both FWD and AWD.


There are three engine choices that vary on the trim level. They include: 2.4-liter I-4 with 185 hp/178 lb. ft. torque, and a 6-speed automatic transmission, 2.0-liter turbo I-4 with 240 hp, and 260 lb. ft. torque and a 6-speed automatic, and a 3.3-liter V6 with 290 hp and 252 lb. ft. torque, and 6-speed automatic.


Some new features of the 2017 Sorento include and again are based on trim level: Telematics Audio with head unit Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, Advanced Technology Package, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Paddle shifters, and Dynamic Bending Headlamps.


The styling on the Sorento is both sophisticated and attractive. The lines are modern and clean with just enough contour to create the presence of an elegant and bold silhouette. From the front, the signature Kia grille is met with a bank of quad running lights below the headlights to help illuminate your way. My trim, the SXL, embodied a full-length sunroof that furnished a panoramic view of the sky. The roof line flowed downward into the tailgate.


The interior was comfortable with plenty of amenities and legroom. The wood trim touches created an upscale feel and the entire vehicle felt solid. The dash was a mixture of soft touch points and a 7-in LCD display panel. Our model included, front ventilated and heated 10-way power seats trimmed in Nappa leather. The two rapid USB charging ports kept our phones fully charged while out exploring. In the back, there’s a third row of seats for two extra passengers.


The cargo area allowed: a tent, three large plastic totes, a medium size cooler, fishing poles, three folding chairs, two medium-sized bags of clothes, a box of wood and other supplies. The backseat alongside of my 9-year old son, Chase, embraced three sleeping bags, three pillows, small cooler and a bag of sheets and blankets. At the back of the center console was a 110-volt power inverter plug which worked perfectly for Chase’s portable DVD player.


Cool Features:
·         Panoramic Sunroof

·         Standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you can access popular smartphone features including: maps, text messages and music

·         110-volt power inverter plug

The 2017 Kia Sorento comes well-equipped with safety features including the following: Vehicle Stability Management System, Electronic Stability Control, 4-wheel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Hillstart Assist Control, driver and front passenger advanced airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags, roof-mounted side-curtain airbags with rollover sensors, rearview camera, driver’s blind spot mirror. Some of these items are optional safety features for purchase.


In Summary – The 2017 Kia Sorento is a wonderful representative for the SUV/Crossover class. It delivered plenty of power without sputtering over hills with its 3.3-liter V6 motor. We loaded the Sorento up with our camping gear and our vehicle took it without hesitation. I must admit that it would have been difficult but not impossible, to create room for one more person due to my efforts to be overly-prepared and overly-stocked.


We never did feel uncomfortable in the 2017 Sorento, and in fact, we left and returned in a very relaxed state. The verdict – an SUV/Crossover definitely wins over my 1966 Ford Mustang and all sedans as well. Having the enclosed space for our stuff adds a level  of security while traveling. Properly organizing and packing your supplies optimizes the amount of people and cargo you can transport. The raised height of an SUV/Crossover improves visibility when driving, and…
Stay tuned for the 4-11 on how an SUV/Crossover compares against a Minivan and Pickup!

Specifications
2017 Kia Sorento SXL AWD

Base price:                  $45,700 as driven: $46,595 (including destination & optional
                                    features)
Engine:                         3.3-liter V6
Horsepower:                 290 hp
Torque:                         252 lb.-ft.
Transmission:               6-speed automatic
Drive:                             AWD-Wheel Drive
Seating:                         7-passenger
Turning radius:             18.6 feet
Cargo space:                154.2 cubic feet
Curb weight:                4,211 pounds  
EPA mileage:                City 17/Hwy 23/Comb 19 MPG
Wheel Base:                109.4 inches
Warranty:                     10 years/100,000-miles powertrain limited

Also consider:              GMC Acadia, Honda Pilot, Jeep Cherokee, Mitsubishi Outlander

Saturday, July 1, 2017

2017 Hyundai Ioniq




2017 Hyundai Ioniq
 Electrifying!

By Charles Donaldson

“Going Green” is on everyone’s lips these days.  Choosing to live environmentally conscious, is well…responsible. Sound decisions can help protect our environment for generations to come. This eco decision-making follows some adults into their car purchasing habits as they purchase cars for the future:  hybrids or all-electric vehicles.


For 2017, Hyundai introduces the Ioniq:  hybrid, plug-in hybrid or an all-electric vehicle. Hyundai claims “dibs” as the first manufacturer to add a battery-electric model that does not have an engine. The 2017 Ioniq Hybrid made its debut in Blue, SEL, and Limited trim levels, while the Electric and Plug-in Hybrid versions offer Base and Limited trims. My test vehicle was the all-electric version so this review will focus on this particular model.


The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq is a small hatchback that is all about the green. With at least a 12-hour 110-volt charge you will get a range of approximately 110 to 125 miles. It can be an easy drive for routine commuting or trips in town.


 We took a trip up to Calistoga which was about 88 miles from door step to hotel step and were fortunate enough to get an extra charge on the way to Raymond Vineyards. They have great wines, but don’t drink and drive (just saying)! An issue occurred, however, when the hotel was not able to allow us to plug-in and recharge overnight it forced us the next day to go in search of a plug-in station. No, I did not plan this trip out very well, and it does highlight the need for proper planning when driving an all-electric vehicle.


In designing the exterior appearance of Ioniq, Hyundai designers concentrated on its future-motivated character and the appeal to make a Hybrid look like a hybrid that isn’t, you know…something Fun and Sporty. The fluid exterior lines help emphasize its aerodynamic body lines and surface volumes. The sporty hatchback-inspired profile is motivated by aerodynamics and creates that energetic feel. These attributes come together to boost aerodynamics further, which, when combined with various other smart efficiency solutions, produce an industry-leading 0.24 coefficient of drag.


The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq will seat five, but only two adults comfortably fit in the back. The interior is clean, comfortable and is standard with cloth upholstery and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a power driver's seat with lumbar support and memory settings are also available. There is an array of storage pockets in the front and Hyundai claims that the Ioniq delivers more trunk space than its competitors. The Ioniq's front seats are adjustable, and there is plenty of space for adults of average height. However, those with dancer’s or longer legs may be cramped in the back seats. Additionally, the seating fabric is pedestrian, and the seats themselves could use more thigh support.


Cool Features:
·         Mobile Device Wireless Charging pocket

·         Standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allows you to access popular smartphone features including: maps, text messages and music

·         You can get a tax credit because of its environmental impact

·         According to the E.P.A. the Electric vehicle is the most efficient car you can buy in the United States


The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq comes to you packed with safety features including the following: Vehicle Stability Management System, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control System,4-wheel, 4-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist, Hillstart Assist Control, driver and front passenger advanced airbags, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side-impact airbags, roof-mounted side-curtain airbags with rollover sensors, driver's knee airbag, rearview camera, driver’s blind spot mirror. Optional safety features are available as well.


In Summary – The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq brings the environmentally-friendly and ecologically-responsible together with the sport and style of a handsome hatchback. In mapping out your trips, you will find that the Ioniq will take you further than to the mall.  With a range of approximately 125 miles, the Ioniq would be a great commuter vehicle.   I would also recommend having a 220-volt outlet installed for faster charging times. So, if you are searching for an eco-enjoyable and “to the nines” dressed vehicle, then the Ioniq should be on your list. It will pleasantly surprise you!

Specifications
2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Base price:                  $32,500 as driven: $36,885 (including destination & optional
                                    features)
Engine:                         88 kW Electric Motor
Horsepower:                 118 Horsepower Equivalent
Torque:                         215 lb.-ft.
Transmission:               Single-speed Reduction Gear
Drive:                             Front-Wheel Drive
Seating:                         5-passenger
Cargo space:                 23 cubic feet
Curb weight:                3,164 pounds  
EPA mileage:                City 150/Hwy 122/Comb 136 MPGe
Wheel Base:                106.3 inches
Warranty:                     10 years/100,000-miles powertrain limited

Also consider:              Chevrolet Bolt EV, Nissan LEAF, Toyota Prius, Volkswagen e-Golf

Thursday, June 1, 2017

2017 Mazda6




2017 Mazda6
 The Sporty Family Sedan!

By Charles Donaldson

The battle of the mid-size car has grown not only in participants, but also in its threads of complexity. As time has flown by, the physical size of the mid-size vehicles gained in inches, and technology of the elite is now embedded common elements. Their ride and performance match the sporty elegance styled into flowing metal, chrome and plastics. The mid-size sedans are not your grandparents’ boring vehicle, but are now found in the driveways of all generations – even your grandparents’! The 2017 Mazda6 is a proud member of this elite club and remains one of the best family sedan choices.


The 2017 Mazda6 is available in, not one, not two, but three trim levels: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. Prices start at MSRP $22,780 and work its way to $31,530. The Mazda6 experienced its last major styling change in 2013, and has stayed about the same, including the 2017 model. Fitted with muscular front fenders, an arched coupe-like roofline and a flashy rear end, the lines are beautiful and clearly parade the Mazda design flare.


To make your power options an easy choice, all the trim levels come with the same 4-cylinder SKYACTIV gas engine mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission. The power generator is a 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder with 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. Not the highest HP’s however weighing in at just around 3,200 pounds, it’s clearly enough to enjoy the ride. With the automatic transmission, you’ll enjoy EPA scores of 26/38/31 mpg (city/highway/combined).


I was impressed with the interior space and trunk room in the Mazda6. The folding rear seats add to the convenience and flexibility of its use. The seats in my Grand Touring model looked amazing in white with dark gray trim beads and were very comfortable all the way around. Like with most sedans they claim to seat 5 but 4 adults are definitely more comfortable.  To share with you some cool “optional” features, enjoy: rear heated seats, paddle shifters, heads up display, driving “Sport” mode, and multiple electronic connections.


Cool Features:
·         Rain Sensing Wipers

·         Lane Departure Warning System

·         Heads Up Display

The 2017 Mazda is well-equipped with safety features including (some are available as standard, optional, or not available on certain trims): dual front advanced airbags, driver and front-passage side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags, ABS brakes with Brake Assist System, Electronic Stability Control, Hill-Start Assist Control, rear camera, driver’s blind spot mirror, blind spot monitoring system, Cross Traffic Alert, and more. Other optional safety features include:  Smart Brake Support with Collision Warning system, Lane Departure Warning System, and Lane Keep Assist System on the Grand Touring trim.


In Summary – The 2017 Mazda6 knows how to combine the practical family sedan without making you feel you are driving a boring one. The Mazda6 delivers a fun-to-drive experience while looking sharp and sporty. It’s loaded with fun and useful tech features and drives with confidence. If you are looking for a stylish mid-size family sedan then check out the Mazda6.

Specifications
2017 Mazda Mazda6 Grand Touring

Base price:                  $30,695 as driven: $34,530 (including destination & optional
                                    features)
Engine:                         2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine
Horsepower:                 184hp @ 5700 RPM
Torque:                         185 @ 3250 RPM
Transmission:               6-Speed automatic
Drive:                             Front-Wheel Drive
Seating:                         5-passenger
Turning circle:              36.7 feet
Cargo space:                 14.8 cubic feet
Curb weight:                3,305 pounds
Fuel capacity:               16.4 gallons      
EPA mileage:                City 27/Hwy 35
Wheel Base:                111.4inches
Warranty:                     3 years/36,000-miles powertrain limited


Also consider:              Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima,
                                       Toyota Camry

Monday, May 1, 2017

2017 Hyundai Elantra




2017 Hyundai Elantra
 Sporty & fun!

By Charles Donaldson
How the times are changing. We have seen the progression in design, quality and performance improve over the years for many Asian automotive manufacturers from Japan to Korea. One of the lines that has taken the largest leap, especially in the past 10-years has been Hyundai…namely the Hyundai Elantra.


The Elantra, now in its 6th generation, first entered the market in October of 1990. It was a simple car that lacked in quality, styling and performance and it stayed that way for the next 3 generations, until the magical 5th rendition in 2010. Swooping lines began flowing across the apex points forming a very dynamic and aggressive profile. Then, in 2015, Hyundai engineers and designers launched a more mature version that softened the angles.


The 2017 Elantra sedan is a total redesign and is available in five trim levels: SE ($17,150) Eco ($20,650), Sport ($21,650) and Limited ($22,370). Most of the 2017 Elantras come with a new 2.0-liter 1-4 with 147hp (26 mpg City and 36 mpg Highway) and 132 lb.-ft. of torque mated to a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The Eco model is powered by a 1.4-liter turbo 4-cylinder (28 mpg City and 37 mpg Highway) with 128hp and 156 lb.-ft. of torque and is paired to a 7-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission.


The Elantra Sport is the newest trim in the lineup and was my test model. It was blast to drive. It was designed to target the Honda Civic Si and Volkswagen Jetta GLI. The Sport is powered by a 1.6-liter turbo 4 rated around 200hp and 190 lb.-ft. mated to either a 6- speed manual (22/30 mpg) or a 7-speed twin-clutch automatic (26/33 mpg). To add to the fun, the Elantra Sport sits on a performance-oriented suspension.


 As noted above, the new styling for 2017 appears more conservative than the swooping lines of the exiting model. It is better, well that depends on what you are looking for, however, the 2016, with its curvy attitude might be considered more exciting and sporty. With that said, the 2017 overall appearance is very nice.  The changes are apparent starting with the new large grille.


The interior is comfortable and spacious with subtle sporty-trim touches inside - especially on the Sport trim. The seats were comfortable with the back suited for more for 2 or 3 passengers.
An amazing option for this price group is front and rear heated seats. The infotainment system is controlled through the touchscreen and large clear buttons are available to operate the audio functions including knobs for volume and tuning. Climate controls are laid out smartly displaying temperature and other custom settings on the dual-zone system.


Steering and handling have both improved over last year’s model with a new rear suspension design, but, are not as engaging as the Honda Civic and Mazda 3.


Cool Features:
·         Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

·         Segment First Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection

·         Front and rear heated seats

The 2017 Hyundai Elantra is well-equipped with safety features including: dual front advanced airbags, driver and front-passage side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags, driver’s knee airbag, ABS brakes with Brake Assist System, Electronic Stability Control, Hill-Start Assist Control, rear camera, drivers blind spot mirror, blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist (avail. on some models), and more. Optional safety features are Forward Collision Warning system, Lane Departure Warning system, and Smart Cruise Control on the Limited trim.


In Summary – The 2017 Hyundai Elantra is a fun vehicle to drive. In Hyundai’s typical style, you’ll find many technology features that you would expect from a more expensive model. This, plus Hyundai’s 100,000-mile powertrain warranty and assistance programs make the Elantra an excellent value.

Specifications
2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport

Base price:                  $21,650 as driven: $25,010 (including destination & optional
                                    features)
Engine:                         1.6-liter Turbo GDI 4-cylinder engine
Horsepower:                 201hp @ 6000 RPM and 43hp
Torque:                         195 @ 1500 RPM
Transmission:               6-Speed manual
Drive:                             Front-wheel Drive
Seating:                         4-passenger
Turning circle:              17.4 feet
Cargo space:                 14.4 cubic feet
Curb weight:                3,042 pounds
Fuel capacity:               14 gallons         
EPA mileage:                City 22/Hwy 30
Wheel Base:                106.3 inches
Warranty:                     10 years/100,000-miles powertrain limited

Also consider:             Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Mazda3, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Jetta