2017 Hyundai Elantra- One Year/20,000 Mile Review

Joined
Apr 4, 2012
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Well, it's now 5 years of ownership on this car. I've driven it just north of 76k miles in those 5 years, roughly 16,000 miles/year. I feel like I know this car pretty well, and as they're plentiful in the used car market, I thought I'd update this and add my thoughts of the good and the bad on the AD Elantra. I had thought about creating a new thread, but I liked the idea of keeping it contained in one- kinda tracking the history of my thoughts on this car. Not that my thoughts are all that valuable. I don't know if editing the title is possible to update the years and mileage. Maybe @wwillson knows?

I'll separate the good and the bad, but just wanted to add that this car has been our primary vehicle for 5 years. We've driven it west to Yellowstone and all the way down to Florida. Through the Rockies and everywhere in between. It's never left us stranded, and been as comfortable as a compact sedan (see: econobox) can possibly be. I'm 6'4" and 225 pounds, and have driven in it for 20+ hours straight (a hellacious trip from West Yellowstone to OKC in one go). I've never gotten so much as a check engine light on this thing *knock on wood*.

The Good:

There's a lot of good to this car. A lot of it I already covered in the original post. The powertrain has been flawless, and was a big reason why I went with this car. The 6 speed auto (an in-house design for Hyun/Kia) shifts perfectly, the engine gets great gas mileage, and it's all fairly easy to service. Oil changes are gravy, especially with the fomoto drain valve installed. The trans is a sealed unit, and not the easiest to service, but it's not obnoxious either. I've either serviced it or had it serviced twice so far, once with OEM Hyundai SPIV-M fluid, and once with Amsoil. It will get Amsoil going forward.

Interior wise, it's held up really well. Electronics work well, the heated cloth seats are awesome, and the dual climate control is a lifesaver. There've been complaints about the A/C not being super cold, or the heater not getting very warm. I've had none of those issues. I've measured 43*F out of the vents on "Lo" and 104*F on "Hi". I'm not really sure how/where that compares to other cars, but I've got no complaints and I've lived in places that get pretty low temps in the winter and pretty high temps in the summer. The dashboard material has held up well over the years. It's spent most of its life parked in the sun and there's no fading anywhere. That said, I've always treated it with UV protectant, so that's probably played a role. The Apple CarPlay/Android Auto has been awesome. It is kind of funny to me that this car came with it, but my family member's 2017 Lexus ES350 didn't.

Reliability has been great. Really not much to add here, as everything I've had to do the car has been preventative. It's still fairly young at 76k miles, but it's met every expectation. My original brake pads are down to 3mm, so changing them out is in my near future. Getting 76k miles off of them is not too shabby, though. Admittedly, there's obviously a lot of highway driving, but there's been plenty of city driving as well.

The Bad:

I'm going to be pretty picky here, because truth be told, there's not much bad about the car. The dealerships are a different story, though. I hate Hyundai dealerships with a passion that burns deep.

  • The car, expectedly, came with really cheap tires. Crappy things that I couldn't get off fast enough. I know I mentioned this earlier in this thread, but I bring it up again because I see that a lot of the Elantras on the used market (some with similar mileage to mine now) still have the OEM tires on them. If you want to buy an Elantra and it still has the OEM tires on it, no matter the mileage, budget to replace them ASAP.
  • The "soft touch" covering on the door panel is peeling. I don't have pictures, but this is a common problem with these cars. Mine's not bad (yet), but I've seen some that get really bad. Most people get it fixed and the places that fix it sand it down and paint it. It looks great, but I've read that it feels "off", which makes sense. I haven't worried about fixing it yet.
  • The engine sounds unrefined. On top of that, it's underpowered. Traveling up and down hills on the highway (a common occurrence around these parts) will require the transmission to shift up and down constantly trying to hold 75 mph. It's tolerable, but annoying.
  • The headlights are not great. I'm needing to replace them. To do that, if you're unable to turn the housing (like I am), you need to remove the housing. To remove the housing, you need to pull out the front bumper. Ridiculously annoying.
  • I've had three door lock actuators break. Very annoying, because it turns your 4 door Elantra into a 3 Door Elantra/Veloster hybrid. This is a SUPER common problem though, and Hyundai extended the warranty on them to 10 years, unlimited mileage. All 3 times the locks have been replaced under the warranty, without issue from the dealer (an uncommon occurrence).
  • The OEM battery.. leaves a lot to be desired. It made it 3 years. I replaced it with an Optima Yellow Top and it's been solid ever since.
  • There are two types of OEM ignition coils. One type was faulty and led to a TSB, which updated the coil. My car had the pre-update coils, so I changed them out at about 60k miles. An unexpected expense, but it was really easy to get done.
  • EDIT: I remembered another "bad" to list. The headlight housing is starting to mess up. It's almost like it's delaminating or something in places. It's not awful, and it's not leaking, so I'll leave it for the time being. That said, it's on my radar of things to replace in the future.


All in all, it really has been a good car. There's been a lot of maintenance done to it, and maybe that's contributed to its performance thus far, but it's been very solid. Are there a lot of flaws to it? Absolutely. The paint is on the cheaper end, the interior materials are cheaper, it lacks a bit of refinement. That said, I didn't pay for all of those things. What I paid for was economical, reliable transportation and I got that in spades. I also think that exterior and interior wise, it looks as good or better than most of what you can find in that class of car. Overall, I'd buy it over again in a heartbeat. View attachment 100875 View attachment 100876 View attachment 100877 View attachment 100881

Bonus under valve cover pics through the borescope (sorry it's not great quality):
View attachment 100879 View attachment 100880

Great review and beautiful Elantra. The dealership we've frequented over the last 12 years was sold and the new "culture" leaves a lot to be desired.
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2008
Messages
857
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Long Island,nassau county NY
Thanks for the update seems like your still happy with your purchase and she's still looking great. My daughter's Elantra so far so good with about 60 k now. Front hub and brakes so far that's it. Fantastic gas mileage great first car for my daughter. The OEM tires I took off pretty quick after two flats in one week and questionable performance track record.
 
Joined
Dec 24, 2013
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325
Location
New Orleans
Coming up in a week or so, we will have had this car for a year and we just topped 20,000 miles over the weekend. Here's some thoughts and impressions from 12 months and 20k miles of ownership. Car Details: 2017 Elantra SE- 2.0L (MPI) 6-speed auto, Phantom Black- Grey cloth interior, Popular and Tech Packages Options listed from the sticker: We purchased this car for just over $14,200 OTD after comparing the Elantra to the Corolla and Civic after our 2014 Mazda3 was totalled by a drunk driver. We ended up with the Hyundai because: 1) Similarly equipped, the Civic and the Corolla were multiple thousands of dollars more expensive 2) I liked the fact that it was MPI and not DI 3) I preferred the 6 speed over the CVT 4) Both me and my wife preferred the interior of the Elantra over the Civic and Corolla interiors. I've never owned a Hyundai and was a bit leery due to the brand's previous (and still lingering) spotty reputation when it comes to reliability and quality. After a year though, I cannot be more impressed with this car. Now, that doesn't mean everything is perfect, but this has been an awesome first impression for someone new to the brand. Here's some of my thoughts on the exterior, interior, technology and powertrain as well as some issues/irritations I have found with it. Exterior: I'll be perfectly honest, I would've never considered the Elantra before their updated styling as I couldn't stand the 2011-2016 styling. However, we really liked the updated exterior styling of the Elantra and I still feel like it is going to age very well. It's not as sporty looking as the Civic, but I feel like it has a sophisticated look to it which I like. The rims are a little small at 15" (or so I think), but I'm not sure that I would just up a rim size and risk the otherwise soft ride that the car has. We will see, however. I'm still debating it. grin Outside of that, there's not a whole lot to say about the exterior other than Hyundai nailed the redesign of the Elantra. Interior: This is where I've been most impressed. The cabin of the Elantra has a very simple and elegant design to it which I really like. That said, it's a Hyundai, so there's a plethora of plastic pieces that I obviously wish weren't plastic, but when you pay the price I did what more can you expect? As I have never owned a Hyundai before, and heard many stories of the interior falling apart due to poor quality, I was worried about the interior and the amount of plastic that could break over time. While it's only been a year, I am happy to report that nothing has broken or looks/feels any different from day one (knock on wood). The dual climate has been a godsend (my wife and I are polar opposites when it comes to comfortable temperatures) and the fact that we could get heated cloth seats was awesome as I've never been a huge fan of leather. There have been reports of creaking/rattling in the dashboard going over bumps, but I've yet to hear that and I've actually been very impressed with the lack of road noise inside the car. As some may remember, I sold Hondas while in college and that was the biggest complaint that I heard from customers who purchased a Civic (I somewhat disagree because I feel like the 2017 Civic was a HUGE improvement over he 2016 Civic). The seats are fairly comfortable, though the lack of lumbar support is disappointing (again- you get what you pay for). If I were to do it over again, the only thing I would change is pay a little more for power seats with lumbar support! The speakers leave something to be desired, but I've heard nothing but good things about the speakers in the Limited trim line. They're just fine for me as I really only listen to talk radio, but when I do turn on Pandora or whatever, you can definitely tell that the speaker system is a bit weak. As for room, I'm 6'4" 235lbs and I actually fit pretty well, as long as I'm in the front two seats! The back seat doesn't offer much headroom, but the front is great. Technology: This is the first car that I've had with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay and I'll never go back to a life without it. Holy [censored], I love Android Auto. Especially recently moving to DFW from a small town in Oklahoma, the navigation feature (through my phone) has been a lifesaver for me and my wife. I also like the fact that you can stream Pandora, podcasts, etc from you phone. This does come at a cost- it doesn't have a CD player. The backup camera is very clear and easy to see through and the blind spot monitoring has been a great feature. Now, the blind spot monitoring does have some issues that I've noticed. It sometimes gets confused and beeps at me when I turn on my turn signal with a car on the opposite side of the direction I'm trying to turn. It's not every time, but enough to be noticeable. If it was really that irritating, I could turn it off, but I live with it. The cross traffic detection (when in reverse) is pretty handy, but I can only think of a handful of times where it caught something before I was able to see them. That said, I still look over my shoulders so I would expect to see them first. Powertrain: The 2.0L engine is somewhat uninspiring, as it's pretty slow, but it sounds much more refined than most engines in Hyundai's past. It's very quiet and very efficient. I don't have exact numbers, but our MPG in city driving is usually around the mid 30s and it's not uncommon at all to achieve well over 40 MPG on the highway. The 6 speed does it's job and that's about all you can say about it. It shifts smooth, but I've noticed that it likes to stay in lower gears on inclines, which I feel is sometimes unnecessary. The Sport mode makes the car feel a lot quicker, but I doubt there's much difference at all in actual acceleration. It just stays at higher RPMS with it on. The ECO mode is, well, I can't really say anything about it. I can't tell any difference at all between ECO mode and Normal mode, and I've tried hard to find a difference. With that being said, I still drive it in ECO because I feel like I'm missing out on something if I don't. LOL The 6 speed is a proven transmission though and has a pretty solid track record when it comes to longevity and reliability. Some things that I wish I could change: 1) Lumbar support 2) Suspension- Wish they had independent suspension all around, but the back comes standard with a torsion beam rear suspension (Only the Sport has independent all around) 3) Headroom in the back 4) No jack points in the front or back?? (At least as far as I can tell) Makes doing ATF drain and fills pretty difficult without a lift since it has to be level. In fact, I'm still figuring out how to do it- let me know if you have any ideas! grin Otherwise, this has been a great car and at such a good price, I wouldn't hesitate to purchase this car again. Hyundai has made a lot of improvements over the years and it shows in the updated Elantra. However, I feel like the worries regarding the brand will continue for a while longer (as it should) after their issues with the 2.4L Gamma engine fiasco. All this said, we will see if it continues to hold up as well as it has so far going forward!
As a former Hyundai, Honda, ford and Nissan technician it’s pay now or pay later meaning pay the extra money for the Honda or Toyota and have a vehicle that will last forever and only do regular maintenance, or buy the cheaper car and pay more in the long run to keep it going.
 

JustN89

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As a former Hyundai, Honda, ford and Nissan technician it’s pay now or pay later meaning pay the extra money for the Honda or Toyota and have a vehicle that will last forever and only do regular maintenance, or buy the cheaper car and pay more in the long run to keep it going.
How insightful. Thank you.
 
Joined
Mar 14, 2003
Messages
858
Location
USA
Nice review. My brother has a 2019 Elantra value edition. I think he paid 17 or 18k for it brand new.
It feels zippy whenever l am a passenger and l can tell it doesn't have a CVT. It has moon roof, BSM, and other safety features l wouldn't expect on a sub 20k automobile.
Even the cheapest cars these days are well equipped and have tech features that luxury cars didn't have not too long ago.
 
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