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A Journey Home for Peanuts in the New 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco – Test Drive & Review

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Filed under Automotive, Hyundai, Test Drives

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Hyundai as a car brand has appealed to many on unprecedented levels with the introduction of many new products that appease the lifestyles of Americans. Deep into a time where all-things economical matter, Hyundai introduces an Eco trim to their all-new 2017 Elantra lineup. With that, Hyundai invited us to visit Montgomery, Alabama, home of their Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) plant where the new Elantra along with the Sonata is produced.

>> Get the best price on the Hyundai Elantra from a network of local dealers now. <<

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Our trip to a facility that employs a diversified staff of 3,000 from the local Montgomery area out of several grouped buildings that cover 3.2 million square feet of space sitting on 1,744 acres of land. Vehicles from the HMMA facility are supplied to a network of over 800 dealerships throughout the nation. Hyundai, while it remains to be primarily an Asian automotive company, has a major force deep embedded within the American way of life that we can all take pride in recognizing along with their community outreach efforts, such as their Hope on Wheels program that has now surpassed $100 million in total funding for pediatric cancer research.

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In the full spectrum of Hyundai immersed in America with American production facilities like HMMA, the instilled pride, innovation, and services provided to the masses through their vehicles shows in our latest excursion to drive the all-new 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco from the plant to our home here in Jacksonville, FL. Our drive consisted of several twisty back roads, highways, and interstate travels. The new Elantra Eco, a vehicle derived from the Elantra lineup that slots in above the SE trim but features an exclusive 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, is a delight to drive and puts an economic foot forward with astonishing fuel economy numbers.

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The new 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco gets near-hybrid vehicle fuel consumption numbers landing with an EPA-estimated 32 mpg city, 40 mpg highway, and 35 mpg combined. With our team behind the wheel, literally taking the new Elantra Eco directly off of the assembly line to start our journey home, the vehicle took us by surprise in being the quickest of the Elantra trims utilizing all of its modest 128 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque. The single-scroll turbocharger force fed the small 4-cylinder engine with just enough effort to reach 60 mph in 7.9 seconds in our estimated tests. The added benefit of a low drag co-efficient of 0.27 Cd allows the Elantra Eco to slip through the air thanks to many clever design benefits from the vehicle’s aerodynamics, such as routing air around the front wheels through integrated air curtains behind the front LED daytime running lights and underbody covers.

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Not only is the new 1.4-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine exclusive to the Elantra Eco trim, but it gets mated to an exclusive 7-speed EcoShift Dual Clutch transmission. The combination with the 15-inch low-rolling-resistance tires and their large sidewalls made for a smooth ride quality and the proper suspension dampening to keep the Elantra Eco civil on our back-road adventures of our trip. The only discernment from the drivetrain was the slight power transitions from the 7-speed automated dual clutch transmission that proved to be somewhat inconsistent with slipping of its clutch and full engagement of gearing under a light load at low speeds when initially accelerating. Otherwise, the transmission shifted smoothly and provided a direct connection to the engine adding to its overall efficiency to realistically obtain the estimated 40 mpg figure and beyond.

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It should be known that the “beyond” part of the mpg figure during our trip was crucial. In that, we were able to conjure up an average of 45.3 mpg in just over 400 miles of travel through mixed backroads, highways and interstates. Calling the new 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco efficient is nearly an understatement. Getting into our inner-city area on a few local highway roads, we were still able to get an average of 42.1 mpg. Our city driving yielded 32 mpg, sometimes falling just short when we were required to keep up with quickly-moving downtown traffic with several stop-and-go situations on a 24-mile span. We had to keep reminding ourselves that the Elantra Eco wasn’t a hybrid, rather a vehicle to make hybrid shoppers second-guess their decisions. While the new Honda Civic Sedan touts as much as 42 mpg on the highway, it falls in line with only a 31 mpg city rating, which matches the Elantra Eco’s combined 35 mpg.

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The collective of having a vehicle that is big enough by its 106.3-inch wheelbase to ‘technically’ slot into the midsized sedan category is an attractive value proposition at a set price of $21,485 including its destination charge.The Eco trim has its own set of features that doesn’t permit additions that you find on the top-trimmed Elantra Limited, such as an available sunroof, 17-inch wheels, or a GPS navigation system. However, having a few active safety features added to the equation (blind spot detection, review backup camera, rear cross-path detection, lane change assist), and premium tech features (7-inch infotainment touch screen display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), the Elantra Eco is your definitive “economical” alternative for peanuts!

>> Get the best price on the Hyundai Elantra from a network of local dealers now. <<

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Elantra SE $17,150 As-Tested Elantra Eco $21,485
  • Engine: 1.4-liter direct-injection turbocharged 4-cylinder 128 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm / 156 ft-lbs torque @ 1,400-3,700 rpm
  • Drive: FWD
  • Transmission: 7-speed EcoShift Dual-Clutch
  • Wheelbase: 106.3 inches
  • Total length: 179.9 inches
  • Total width: 60.9 inches
  • Total height: 56.5 in
  • Track: font/rear-61.5/61.9 inches
  • Turning circle: 34.78 feet
  • Headroom: front/rear-38.8/37.3 inches
  • Legroom: front/rear-42.2/35.7 inches
  • EPA fuel mileage: 31 mpg city / 40 mpg highway / 35 mpg combined
  • Fuel tank: 14 gallons
  • 0-60mph: 7.9 seconds
  • EPA cargo volume: 14.4 cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 2,857 lbs.

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