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Road Tested: 2017 Hyundai Elantra ECO

Written By | Mar 27, 2017

The 2017 Hyundai Elantra ECO.

SAN FRANCISCO, March 27, 2017 — To say that the 2017 Hyundai Elantra is one of the most poised compact sedans on the market would be to understate things. Hyundai has taken some painstaking efforts in the latest version of the Elantra to make it a truly world-class car for its segment.

Not only does it have some of the – subjectively – best looking styling in its class, the engine that powers it is a tremendous power plant. The 1.4-liter, turbo-charged 4 cylinder delivers 128 horsepower with 156 lb-ft of torque that kicks in at only 1400 rpm. Hyundai mates this with a “Shifttronic” 7-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. This combination provides an EPA estimate of 32 miles per gallon around town and up to 40 miles per gall on the freeway – pretty solid for not being either a diesel or a hybrid.

There’s a great deal of style and refinement in this car, so much that it nearly belies its pricepoint, starting at just over $20k and you’ll see that as soon as you slip inside. There’s a nice combination of materials use throughout the cabin area that makes the car “feel” a bit more upscale than one would think. Additionally, the layout of the gauge cluster is well thought-out, easy to interface with and looks great to boot. Yeah, it’s cloth interior but that’s just fine with us as not only does it look good, it’s highly durable as well.

Leg room, of course, for the front passenger is here in spades but surprisingly, even the rear leg room isn’t too shabby, considering this is a compact sedan. While it can be a bit tight for tall adults, at least you likely won’t get the feeling you’re eating your kneecaps.

Hyundai offers a variety of infotainment center packages across the Elantra line-up, however, the ECO comes with a standard set of feature upgrades. It’s 7-inch screen, in the middle of the dash, is the main control source for navigation, audio and some built-in applications. It’s a responsive screen that doesn’t have much hesitation whatsoever. The audio-quality is average ho-hum, nothing too exciting here, it is sorely missing the Harmon Kardon upgrade, available on other Hyundai models.

Of the more useful, built-in, applications is the inclusion of both Android Auto and Apple Carplay. These apps streamline the process of using your phone while driving, turning most chores into voice commands.

Other standard fare in the ECO model includes: day time running lights, side airbags, roof-mounted curtain airbags, traction control, front disc brakes, front heated seats, hill start assist, a rear-view camera and much more.

Day to day driving, this car is about as pedestrian as one can get. It doesn’t corner extremely well but good enough, it doesn’t jump off the line with any sense of urgency but it’s good enough. This car is mainly going go cater to folks who have fallen in love with the price and value of the Elantra but want the best possible fuel economy as well. It’s not a driver’s car per se but has a daily commuter, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value, anywhere.

It has as decently quiet cabin while on the freeway and offers a rather comfortable ride as well. Everything is within easy reach for the driver and the “sport mode” does make it a bit more peppy to drive and stiffens up the steering a tad as well – giving it a better “feel” for those who like the way German cars feel.

If you’re looking for a car that offers a ton of value and solid fuel economy at a price around $20,000 – then you’d be hard-pressed to find a compact sedan anywhere that offers as much.

Duane Pemberton

Duane Pemberton is a lifestyle writer and CDNs Auto Editor. Pemberton loves anything that helps bring people together which is why he writes about food, wine, cars, and travel.