With the average new vehicle transaction price hovering around $34,000, new car shoppers can be intimidated by stratospheric window stickers and instead flee to the used car market. However, the dream of new car ownership need not be so elusive, especially if you look towards buying a traditional 4-door sedan rather than that must-have crossover SUV. The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited is a case in point, and one of the reasons why we’ve added one to our long-term fleet.

The Elantra was recently redesigned with cleaner, tauter lines similar to its larger Sonata sibling. In addition to its edgier new look, the elevated level of content you get with a vehicle like this is evidence of the changes that have occurred to these so-called economy cars. Typically starting in the low $20,000 range,  compacts come with a wealth of equipment that would have seemed out of place on an entry level vehicle and in fact, some of the features now offered weren’t readily available on luxury cars even as recently as 5 years ago.

Competent handling

Our Scarlet Red Elantra Limited sports a beige interior and features a 2.0-liter 4-cyliner engine underhood backed by a 6-speed automatic transmission which drives the front wheels. The Elantra is a competent handler—it won’t stir the enthusiast soul like the Mazda3 will, but for everyday commuting and weekend outings, the Elantra is both comfortable and easy to drive. As a compact car, the rear seating area is roomy enough for two, and you can take three in a pinch. But, if your family is expanding  you might consider moving up to the Sonata to accommodate rapidly growing teens.

For its $22,350 starting price, the Elantra Limited comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, a 7-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel controls, heated leather seats, hands free smart trunk and remote entry with push button start. We added the Tech Package for $2,500 which included navigation, Infinity premium sound system with 8 speakers, a 4.2-inch TFT display in the instrument cluster, power sunroof and heated rear seats. Another $1,900 for the Ultimate Package (which requires the Tech Package) features HID headlights with a curve following feature, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise, lane keeping assist and a memory function for the driver’s seat. We also opted for $125 carpeted floor mats, a $100 cargo tray, a $30 first aid kit and a rear bumper protector that cost $70. Including $835 delivery, the out-the-door price is $27,910, some $6,000 less than the price of an average vehicle.

Also: Class of 2017 - New Cars Ready to Roll

Smart buy

Low gas prices and the interest in crossovers and trucks have taken a toll on relatively fuel efficient vehicles like the Elantra. As a result, in addition to high levels of equipment and low sticker prices, you may also find fairly generous incentives. Currently, the automaker is offering a $1,500 rebate or a 3-year lease for $169 per month with $1,999 down. Toss in Hyundai’s industry-leading warranty that includes 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage along with 5 years of roadside assistance  as well as a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and you have a pretty solid case for buying new over used. So far, we are very impressed with the bang for the buck our 2017 Elantra Limited offers. We’ll see how it performs in the rear world over the next year.

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