It doesn’t grab headlines like 0-60 times or twin-turbocharged engines churning out ludicrous amounts of power. In fact, if everything goes right, you'll never even know it's there. But for those times when things don’t go right, it's good to know what safety features your car has. In the case of our long-term Elantra, we were recently reminded that part of a car's value is in its safety equipment.

The 2017 Hyundai Elantra comes standard with nearly 20 different safety features, including seven airbags, stability and traction control, brake assist and more. Our Limited added blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert--a welcome feature when backing out of a parking space at a shopping cente --and lane-change assist, and a rear-view camera with guidelines. For an extra $1,900 (plus the $2,500 for the requisite Tech Package), our Elantra also added smart cruise control, lane-keep assist system, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. These last two features made their presence known during a recent morning commute.

Also: See the 12 Kelley Blue Book Best Buys of 2017

Stop-and-go savior

If your commute is anything like a normal one in Los Angeles, there are long stretches of stop-and-go traffic separated by inexplicable pockets of wide-open driving. And sometimes, the transition from freeway speed to stop-and-go happens in what feels like an instant. I was recently part of one of those abrupt stops in traffic. I wasn’t texting, wasn’t distracted and saw the traffic sudden slowing. As I was responding to what was going on--quickly taking my foot off the throttle and moving it to the brake pedal--I heard a loud beep (forward collision warning) and the Elantra started braking (automatic emergency braking). Mind you, this all happened in the blink of an eye. Imagine the time it takes you to hastily move your foot from gas to brake as you respond to a sudden incident in traffic. The Elantra did it faster than that.

It can be hard to have confidence in equipment you have never seen work in your car, but we unintentionally discovered the advantages of driving a car equipped with FCW and AEB and were comforted by the knowledge that they worked flawlessly. These features do cost extra, but after experiencing them at work, we believe getting them is worth it. And if you're looking at getting a car that a younger and/or easily distracted driver may be driving, it's always a good idea to pay special attention to the suite of safety features the car has.

See Past Reports for our Long-Term 2017 Hyundai Elantra:


Long-Term Update: Smart Storage

Long-Term Update: Premium Features

Long-Term Update: A Tire Story

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