2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco Review By Larry Nutson
2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
A new car tagged with the moniker “Eco” doesn’t get me particularly excited. I’m more of the sport/sporty type. However, today’s world is one of being green and driving a vehicle with low fuel consumption, in spite of the relatively low U.S. gasoline prices. And, I’m OK with not spending lots of money on gas.
When I was scheduled to drive the Hyundai Elantra Eco—the Eco being a new model for 2017, I did think it would be good chance to reacquaint myself with this roomy, 5-passenger, front-wheel drive compact sedan that has been completely redesigned for 2017.
For 2017 the Elantra sedan is better proportioned being slightly longer and a bit wider. It features a new grille matching other Hyundai models and a more refined overall exterior look.
The Elantra Eco is powered by a 1.4-L turbo four that puts out 128HP. It’s mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. Now 128HP doesn’t seem like much, but the turbo 4-cylinder develops 156 lb-ft of torque. The big surprise to me on this Eco-car was how well the powertrain worked. I was SO happy Hyundai didn’t use a CVT. With the turbo, torque comes on early and the transmission has quick, direct shifts that leave nothing lacking.
The Elantra Eco, like all Elantras, is equipped with a Drive Mode Select feature that adjusts both powertrain performance and steering effort, allowing a customized driving character. With a button on the center console the Eco, Normal or Sport mode can be selected. Throttle response is lighter in the Eco mode and shifts are held longer with later upshifts in the Sport mode.
My Chicagoland jaunts were a mixture of city and highway driving. Taking off from traffic lights and stop signs was a breeze. Highway on-ramp merging and highway passing left me feeling there was a lot more engine under the hood. And, engine noise is low and well isolated with the dual-clutch tranny keeping the engine in its best operating range. Thank goodness there was no whine from a screaming engine running at high RPM as is the case with CVT equipped cars.
On the fuel consumption front, I got a bit better than 32 mpg overall. On a 25 mile all-highway run I hit 46.4 mpg. The EPA test-cycle ratings for the Elantra Eco are 35 mpg combined, with 32 city mpg and 40 highway mpg. The better-than-EPA real-world highway fuel economy suggests that the Elantra Eco will do what is intended and be a great commuter car.
Low rolling resistance 65-series tires on 15-inch wheels help to lower fuel consumption and yet don’t seem to diminish good ride and handling characteristics. I didn’t have any rain (or snow) during my driving, so I can’t speak to road holding under wet conditions that can sometimes be compromised with low rolling resistance tires.
The Eco comes one way and there are no options. But, it’s not a stripped down model. It’s nicely equipped with a keyless entry with push-button start, heated front seats, dual automatic temperature control, and a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel with audio, cruise and phone controls. There’s even a hands-free Smart Trunk that opens when you stand behind the car with the key in your pocket or purse.
The Eco also has a rear view camera and blind spot warning with rear cross traffic alert. I wished the Eco model had more driver-assistance safety features, but for now most carmakers are only offering these on the top of the line. You have to step up to the Limited trim with the Ultimate package to get Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist System and High Beam Assist. Eventually these items will be offered pretty much across the board.
On the inside the Elantra Eco is comfortable with well laid out controls. Overall the Eco model makes a great car for getting around in a crowded urban setting.
The Elantra is expected to receive a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and a 5-Star Safety Rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In addition to the Eco model, the Elantra sedan comes in SE and Limited trims with base prices ranging from $17,150 to $22,350. (See links to all trim levels below) A new 147HP 2.0-L four-cylinder powers the SE and Limited. And there’s also a recently introduced 201 HP Elantra Sport with a 6-speed manual transmission priced at $21,650 or with a 7-speed DCT starting at $22,750.
More information and specs on the entire 2017 Hyundai Elantra lineup can be found at www.hyundai.com. You can look at other compact sedans and compare them to the Elantra right < a href="http://db.theautochannel.com/db/Hyundai/compare_select.php">here at The Auto Channel.
PS – The media loan Elantra Eco I drove was finished in a nice Lakeside Blue color. Coincidentally, this blue is really close to the Chicago Cub’s Cubbie Blue. Some of my neighborhood Cubs fans thought I should have put a big red “C” on the side of the car in celebration of the World Series win.
© 2016 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy
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