2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco 1.4T - Lesson Learned, Exceeding Stated Promises - Quick Review

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(Contributing Editor: Tomasz Paluch)

“A Penny Saved is a Two-Pence Dear ( aka Penny Earned)….” Benjamin Franklin, “Poor Richard’s Almanac”, 1732.


Two-Pence Dear: when Hyundai Motors America paid $355 Million in settlement fees for overstating Fuel Economy ratings on the previous generation Elantra.


Lesson Learned?

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WHAT: Sixth generation 2016 Hyundai Elantra 1.4L Eco compact family sedan. Code name: AD. Replaces fifth generation UD. Cousin to Kia Forte .

Standard Power: transverse variable nozzle turbocharged 1.5L DOHC 16V DI gas I-4 = 128 hp/ 156 lb-ft + 7-spd. electonic dry dual clutch automated helical transmission.

WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: Outgoing 5th generation took a “Chill Pill”: Projector beam HID headlights mean smaller Z-kinked housings, with the dark lattice grille widened; Former boomerang taillights have given way to more Sonata-esque wrap-arounds thinning rear haunches; Trunk-lid integrated spoiler is now duck-tailed; Mirror chrome is splashed most everywhere else, including lower front air dam corner raked inlets; Lower rear valance gets diffuser look; Sharply raked backlight evokes fastback silhouette.

WHY: Hybrid electric power in this segment adds too much cost. Hyundai is not likely to overstate fuel economy ratings ever again.

WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since Fall 2016

WHERE: Hyundai new vehicle dealers

WHERE MADE: West Point, Georgia, U.S.A.

WHERE TO: Miserly whisker around town, can hold its own on open road.

HOW ROADWORTHY: Hyundai makes makes their own variable nozzle turbocharger. It endows the 1.4L DOHC DI gas 4-cylinder, with a meatier, less peaky power range than some 1.0L 3-cylinder competition; 7-speed dual clutch automated manual gearbox has been reworked for less off the line lurch, noted by smooth hand-offs, and loathe to downshift; Sprung soft and damped with slower reaction enough to yield some roll; Low rolling resistance tires, curb adhesion limits; Playful if not truly visceral electric steering; Eager brake pedal displays initial tenacity; Cabin muted to wind, less well to road and engine hum. Stylish windmill spoke 15″ alloys can’t avoid appearing small.

HOW FAR: 38 combined miles per gallon = 2 mpg > EPA ratings & roughly 20% > Mazda3 2.0L.

HOW BIG/ LITTLE: fits 5 adult occupants – yes that includes one in the 2nd Row middle position;  +1 sliding Center console armrest, Immense door pockets especially in 2nd Row; Less head ducking for 6″ footers in back; -1 lack of rear center armrest; Jack-in-the-Box type Row-2 cupholders; Rear seat cushion shallow and stiff.

HOW USEFUL: Chrome metal load floor skid plate; near flat folding 60/40% split 2nd Row tilting seatbacks; 2nd Row Door sun shades; +1 Tall seating position for commanding view;  -1 Short wing mirrors + wide B pillars necessitate Blind Spot warning.

HOW SAFE: 7 airbags; IIHS Safety Pick +; rear camera grid Park Assist; Blind spot, rear cross traffic warning.

HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY: Heated front seats, both with height adjustment; Leather steering wheel with spoke bezel and integrated toggle controls; Switchgear; Contrast stitching.

Cool Gizmo(s): Key-fob proximity hands-free power trunklid & power folding wing mirrors;

Almost Bespoke: Ceiling matching mesh cloth covered cabin pillars; Oversized channeled plastic dead pedal; dash & door panel color contrast w/ satin metallic appliques;

Nearly Non-Descript: : -1 Dull carbon chain theme seat covers = -1 “Cush” factor;

HOW “APP” -LICABLE: 7″ matte capacitive touch LCD infotainment screen; +1 Large icons; Voice command hands-free communications; Android Auto/ Apple Car Play (for GPS navigation, Pandora, I-Heart, Slacker radio, telephony; UVO Apps: Pandora, SoundHound; 3 mos. complimentary SXM & Travellink subscription; USB x 2, 12V x 3.

HOW MUCH: $21,610 = monospec 2017 Hyundai Elantra 1.4L Eco .

WHAT’S MISSING: Grippier rubber AWD option,+1 body motion control, SMS messaging app.

ANY COMPETITION: Chevrolet Cruze +1 cabin space, Ford Focus 1.0L : +1 steering; Volkswagen Jetta 1.5 TSI +1 trunk space.

BOTTOM LINE: An efficient compact family car which makes some mid-sizers excessive; Ups the pressure on non plug-in gas-electric hybrids.


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