Auto Nsider Review: 2017 Hyundai Elantra ECO

 

Vehicles with “ECO” in their names don’t usually perform quite this well.

 

Vehicles without “Hybrid” in their names don’t often get this kind of gas mileage.

 

And vehicles that can deliver reasonable performance, looks, and economy don’t usually cost $20,000.

 

So where do you want to start?    How ‘bout with looks?    Hyundai’s recently re-styled Elantra looks like a baby Genesis on the outside.   While some manufacturers are still having challenges with their “nose jobs”, Hyundai has come up with a distinctive corporate grille that elevates the lower end of their product line without cheapening their higher-end vehicles.

 

Performance?    Let’s just say I was surprised.    Not that you’re going to be poppin’ wheelies leaving Walmart, but Hyundai has massaged enough “go” into their ECO that you’re not going to be the one that they’re honking at when the light turns green.

 

And that leaves economy….which is the ECO’s middle name.   32 MPG city and 40 highway….per the EPA….on regular.    And I say “per the EPA” because I got 42+ on my morning commute…..two-lane side-streets….school busses….and the usual clogged freeway.    42+ MPG….without trying.    That’s bordering on hybrid territory.

 

Elantras will start with a window sticker around $18,000.   That’ll get you a 2.0 liter non-turbo 147 HP four cylinder and a stick shift….and wheel covers.

 

Ante up a few thousand more and get the alloys and electronics that we all seem to want these days.

 

And there’s even a “Sport” edition that comes with a 1.6 liter 201HPTurbo that’s just gotta’ be fun.

 

But the ECO, with its’ 1.4 liter turbo is no slouch.   It feels like it’s pumping out quite a few more than it’s rated 128 HP….likely because it’s 7-speed dual-clutch automatic keeps it in the optimum gear at all times. I’ve driven a few other tiny turbos ( 1.5 liter or less ) and Hyundai’s seems to feel the most responsive.

 

And while no luxury car, the ECO’s roughly $21,500 window sticker gets you enough features that you won’t be embarrassed if you have to drive the boss and a good client to lunch.

 

15” alloys are standard, as are a 7” touchscreen, Android and Apple support, heated seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, hands-free trunk, 60 /40 folding rear seat backs….and of course Hyundai’s 10-year powertrain warranty.

 

If you need to carry five people and want hybrid-type efficiency without the hybrid price tag, Hyundai’s new Elantra Sport might give you what you’re looking for….at a $10,000 savings over what a comparable hybrid might run.

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