Hyundai significantly improved the model's performance in the small overlap front crash test.

The 2017 Hyundai Elantra has earned Top Safety Pick+ status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The new sedan had Good results in all the agency’s crash tests and a Superior front crash prevention system.

In the often-difficult small overlap front crash test, the Elantra performed very well. The survival space maintained its position, and the airbags did their job of preventing the dummy’s head from striking any hard surfaces. The maximum intrusion into the cabin was just two inches, versus nine inches from the previous generation Elantra. However, IIHS found the possibility of “a moderate risk of injury to the dummy's left lower leg” in the latest sedan.

For Elantra’s made after March, Hyundai modified the front airbag and strengthened the area where the doorsill and pillar meet. IIHS’ Good score in the small overlap test only applies to these vehicles.

The sedan’s optional crash prevention system successfully stopped the vehicle in time in the 12-mile-per-hour (19 kilometers per hour) test. The tech couldn’t avoid an accident from 25 mph (40 kph), but it did slow down the Elantra by 22 mph (35 kph). The model’s forward collision warning also met the agency’s standards.

The 2017 Elantra starts at $17,985, including destination. Getting the full suite of safety tech requires the range-topping Limited trim for $22,350 plus the $2,500 Tech Package and the $1,900 Ultimate Package.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Gallery: 2017 Hyundai Elantra IIHS Crash Test

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Hyundai Elantra improves small overlap rating to earn TOP SAFETY PICK+

ARLINGTON, Va. — The redesigned Hyundai Elantra, a small car, earns the top award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The 2017 Elantra earns across-the-board good ratings for crashworthiness, including in the challenging small overlap test. It also has an available front crash prevention system that earns a superior rating.

The redesigned Elantra's good small overlap rating is an improvement over the previous generation, which rated acceptable. The earlier model's structure did not fare well in the test, with maximum intrusion into the occupant space of 9 inches. In contrast, maximum intrusion in the new Elantra was only 2 inches.

The good rating applies only to 2017 Elantras built after March, when additional modifications were made. Those changes included strengthening the junction between the door sill and the hinge pillar and modifying the frontal airbag.

The Elantra's optional front crash prevention system avoided a collision in the Institute's 12 mph track test. In the 25 mph test, the car's impact speed was cut by an average of 22 mph. The system also includes a forward collision warning component that meets National Highway Traffic Safety Administration criteria.

To qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK+, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. It also must have an available front crash prevention system that earns an advanced or superior rating.