2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco Review and Road Trip

The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco is an entry-level four-door sedan with a base price of $21,610. I was looking forward to seeing how much car you get for around $20,000. Road trips are great ways to test cars. My kids play a lot of travel sports so I get a lot of road trip opportunities. Ocean City, MD; 2015 Jeep Renegade Sport 4×4; Dance. Hershey, PA; 2017 VW CC R-Line Executive, Baseball. 2017 Ford Escape SE FWD; Blacksburg, VA; Swim. Rehoboth Beach, DE; 2017 Nissan Armada Platinum 4WD; Baseball. Pittsburg, PA; 2017 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0T Quattro S-Tronic; Dance. Ocean, City, MD; 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i SULEV; Dance. This weekend my son was swimming in a swim meet in Litiz, PA so I had about 300 miles to get to know the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco. So I’ve been on a lot of road trips with a variety of cars, but this was my first road trip with a lower priced sedan. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was really interested to see whether I would miss all of the options and features that I had become used to in higher-end luxury cars.

Immediately I wanted to know what I had to work with in the Elantra Eco and whether there was anything glaring that was missing.  Almost all of the new cars these days have Sirius/XM Radio in them, but some manufactures either forget to renew the membership or don’t subscribe so all you get is one channel that keeps telling you to subscribe (which is incredibly annoying). I love Sirius/XM Radio and pretty much never listen to the regular radio anymore so I was really hoping I’d be rolling with Sirirus/XM. I turned on the car and I was in luck – Hyundai had paid the bill so I’d at a minimum have 300 miles of great tunes to listen to. Thanks, Hyundai. Other features that I feel like I can’t live without and that I instantly looked for in the Elantra Eco were blind spot monitors, heated seats, cruise control, steering wheel mounted radio controls, backup camera (even thought I don’t have one in the Roadfly Black Bear Jeep and basically can’t see anything past the massive 37 inch spare tire) and blue tooth hands-free phone hook up.   Check, check, and check. The Elantra had them all, even blind spot monitors which aren’t always found in entry-level vehicles.

The Hyundai Elantra Eco comes with a 1.4L Turbo GDI DOHC 4-cylinder engine with 128 hp mated to a 7-speed EcoShift Dual Clutch Transmission with Shiftronic and Normal, Eco and Sport modes. Usually I have found Eco modes to be painfully restricting, but I wanted to see if I could really maximize mileage on this trip, so I ran in Eco mode the whole trip. I was expecting it to really dampen acceleration and anticipated having to turn it off part way through the trip. I was pleasantly surprised. In town it dampens acceleration a fair amount, but I didn’t find it limiting on the highway at all and left it on for the entire trip. The Elantra Eco is not a performance sedan (which should be fairly obvious given its 128 hp motor) so even running in eco mode doesn’t dampen the drivability that much. Hyundai reports fuel economy for the Elantra at 35 combined/32 highway/40 highway. On a total of 325 miles with mostly highway driving, I averaged 36.2 mpg. I thought that was pretty impressive, especially given that the Roadfly Black Bear Jeep gets around 12 mpg.

The Elantra comes in 5 trim packages starting as low as $17,150 for the SE, $20,250 for the Value Edition, $20,650 for the Eco, $21,650 for the Sport, and $22,350 for the Limited.  If you prefer a hatchback, you can go for the Elantra GT for $19635. There are three engines available in the Elantra; the 1.4L  turbo inline 4 with 128 hp in the Eco, the 2.0L inline 4 with 147 hp in the SE, Value and Limited, and the 1.6L turbo inline 4 with 201 hp in the Sport.

Hyundai packs the Elantra with the usual suite of safety features that you will find in most cars and that pretty much all consumers demand, including, the following:

  • Electronic Stability Control with Traction Control;
  • ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution & Brake Assist;
  • Front, Front Side Impact and Side Curtain Airbags;
  • Driver’s Knee Airbag;
  • Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-traffic Alert;
  • Rearview Camera with Dynamic Guidelines;
  • Projector headlights; and
  • LED Daytime Running Lights.

While the interior is a bit spartan (remember, it’s a $20,000 car), Hyundai still packs in the necessities, including, the following:

  • Display Audio System with 7-inch Touchscreen and 6 Speakers;
  • SiriusXM Radio;
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay Support;
  • Dual Automatic Temperature Control with Auto Defogger;
  • 5-inch TFT LCD Cluster Display;
  • Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System;
  • Steering Wheel Mounted Audio and Cruise Control;
  • Leather-wrapped Steering Wheel and Shift Knob;
  • Driver and Passenger Seat Height Adjustment;
  • Heated Front Seats; and
  • 60/40 Split-Folding Rear Seats.

On the Sport and Limited version you can add the Premium Package for an extra $2,400 ($2,500 for the Limited) which adds Nav with 8-inch touch screen, Infinity Premium 8-speaker Audio, including center channel and subwoofer, Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology, Power tilt-and-slide sunroof; Dual Automatic temperature control and auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink and compass.  On the Limited edition you can add the Ultimate Package for an additional $1,900 which adds HID headlights with Dynamic Bending Light; Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Smart Cruise Control; Lane Departure Warning; Land Keep Assist System; Integrated Memory System for driver’s seat and exterior mirror; and Automatic High Beam Assist.

Hyundai, like Kia, has one of the best warranties in the business; 5-year/60,000-mile New Vehicle Warranty, 10-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Warranty, 7-year/unlimited-mile Anti-perforation Warranty, 5-year/unlimited-mile Roadside Assistance. That’s pretty good piece of mind for a car that costs around $20,000.

At 128 hp the Elantra Eco is neither fast nor quick.  But its called the Eco, not the GT, or the Touring of the Sport. Its gets the best mileage of all of the Elantra’s and was built for efficiency.  It revivals some hybrids in terms of gas mileage but drives like a regular car.  Given all of that, I found the Elantra Eco very pleasant to drive.  Its a pretty basic car but for how little money it costs and how much money you save at the pump, its a pretty good driver.  I didn’t find that it was underpowered and it was very comfortable to drive for the five or so hours I spent in it.  And I had quite a bit of gas left when we returned.  Which isn’t all that surprising given its approximate range of 500 miles per tank.  Many of the luxury sedans I test drive cost two to three times what the Elantra Eco cost.  And while those luxury sedans are pretty nice, there’s no way that those sedans are two to three times better then the Elantra.  The Elantra is a lot of car for $20,000 and is definitely worth a look if you are not interested in spending a lot of money on a car and you like to save at the pump.


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