By on May 7, 2016

2017 Elantra Eco

Hyundai sent its newly redesigned compact away for a lifestyle change, and it returned as the fuel-sipping Elantra Eco.

Sporting a new drivetrain and an EPA-estimated highway fuel economy rating of 40 miles per gallon, the 2017 Elantra Eco retails for $21,485 (after freight). City and combined ratings are 32 and 35 mpg, respectively.

The 2017 Elantra Limited we tested was no gas guzzler, often surpassing its 37 mpg highway rating, but the new Eco clearly has its competitors’ 40-plus mpg ratings in its sights. It’s also possible that Hyundai still has some lingering guilt over the not-yet-forgotten gas mileage scandal of four years ago.

Powering the Elantra Eco is Hyundai’s newest mill, a turbocharged and direct-injected 1.4-liter four-cylinder making 128 horsepower and 156 pounds-feet of torque. A seven-speed EcoShift dual-clutch transmission is the only mate for this engine.

Hyundai brags that the economy-minded Kappa engine reaches peak torque at 1,400 rpm. Despite its lowish horsepower rating, the 1.4-liter’s torque rating beats the stock Elantra’s 2.0-liter by 24 lb-ft.

The boost in low-end grunt, plus the quick-shifting gearbox, should be enough to motivate the Eco away from a standstill better than its not particularly quick stablemate, all while using less fuel.

How does the Elantra Eco’s mpg claim stack up against its competitors?

The Chevrolet Cruze (which shares a 1.4-liter displacement) is rated better on the highway (by 1–2 mpg) in all but the top-level Premier trim, which matches the Eco. The Hyundai beats all Cruze trims in the city by 2 mpg.

The Honda Civic — every compact car’s nemesis — beats the Elantra Eco on the highway by 1–2 mpg in automatic-equipped models, but only matches the 40 mpg rating with its manual 2.0-liter model. Again, the Elantra Eco is less thirsty in the city than the Civic, making the two model’s combined ratings the same (for automatics, anyway). The combined rating of the manual 2.0-liter Civic is 4 mpg lower.

Mileage aside, Hyundai saddled with Eco with a high level of amenities borrowed from the Elantra’s Limited trim, including a full suite of driver’s safety aids and convenience options.

[Image: Hyundai Motor America]

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21 Comments on “Now With Less Thirst: Hyundai Reveals Gas-Sipping 2017 Elantra Eco...”

  • avatar

    The biggest mistake Hyundai made was not offering the 2.0-L Turbo from the Sonata in the Veloster and the Elantra.

    They could have made “R-spec” versions of both cars.

    The 2.0-L was STRONG and felt like a V6 in the Sonata.

    The Veloster Turbo’s 1.8-T suffered from lag issues. Many overlooked this because it could be had with a “maneeeewalll” but in the broad spectrum they’d have been better off making the 2.0-L Turbo and V6 (from Azera) available on more cars and crossovers.

    The vast majority of drivers want a good-looking car and aren’t worried about the fuel economy of a 4-cylinder, turbo-4 or a V6. They just want the car to *feel* powerful enough to accelerate adequately to highway speeds or passing speeds.

    “professional reviewers” claiming a car is “worse” than another because of a fuel economy difference of 1 – 5 MPG are just looking for talking points.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I think that quite a few people do care about fuel economy, especially people who realize that—even when they’re looking at new cars—the less they spend on transportation, the more they can spend doing other, more-exciting things. I think they care less about how powerful it feels, as evidenced by the widespread popularity of cars that don’t feel very powerful accelerating onto the highway.

      • 0 avatar

        Mathematically it doesn’t really make sense, though. The difference between 35 mpg and 40 mpg at 15,000 miles a year with $2 gallon gas comes out to a whopping $2 a week – just enough for a medium coffee at Dunkin Donuts. Is it worth agonizing over?

    • 0 avatar

      The Veloster uses a 1.6 turbo engine. The “world engine” is available, in the U.S., as either a 1.6, 2.0, or 2.4. I do agree, it is sluggish & it would have been much more fun otherwise. Even with off the shelf tunes the car is a slug.

      I think Hyundai should of used Mitsu’s world engine variant (4B11), across their entire product line, which makes more power and does not suffer from any detonation / pre-ignition issues thanks to port-injection.

      I hope they’ll offer this 1.4 turbo with a manual 6 speed!!!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Don’t forget that the Jetta now comes with a 1.4-liter TSI engine in the S and SE trims, which—according to the not-so-trustworthy people at Volkswagen—is good for 28 MPG city and 40 MPG highway.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      When the 1.4 TSI Jetta was introduced last year I thought it was a way for VW to keep their high MPG credibility with their long time customers who had misgivings after Dieselgate. Though they could have been just catching up with other manufacturers who introduced small displacement, torquey, high mpg engines.
      Consumers Reports actually gave the Jetta 1.4 TSI a favorable review.

  • avatar

    I still can’t bring myself to buy a Hyundai/Kia. I really like the Elantra and even the Optima but while the reviews are generally good, the user reviews tend to not be as good as the ones for Hondas. I’ve read at a few places that their products are still a generation or two behind those of the Japanese and Americans. No idea what’s accurate and finding out long-term means investing in one of the cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Speak to most that have owned a Hyundai. They will tell you they will buy a Hyundai again.

      Hyundai/Kia are slowly making inroads as “preferred” and creating a group of brand fans.

      I think Hyundai/Kia are doing it correctly. Hyundai have distanced themselves from Mitsubishi and Kia from Ford and are unique identities in their own right.

      It’s a pity that the two don’t introduce a BOF midsize pickup and SUV and not just a utility coupe.

      • 0 avatar

        Kia distanced itself from Ford? Um, that happened back in the late 1990s/early 00s when they went bankrupt and were absorbed by Hyundai. Their relationship with Ford basically consisted of manufacturing the Festiva and Aspire, which ended production in 1997.

        Their main technical colabirator was Mazda: the Festiva/Aspire/Avella, Pride and Sephia were Mazda-derived, the first gen Sportage was based on the Mazda Bongo and used a Mazda 2.0L DOHC I-4, their KDM large sedan of the pre-Hyundai days was also based heavily on Mazda bones.

        Where you pull this crap from is beyond me. Ford and Kia worked together sparingly, and most of it was via their mutual relationship with Mazda. Ford did try to buy Kia after their bankruptcy, but the Korean government gave prefrence to Hyundai. Once that occured, Kia-Ford relations were no more. Either way, it was all over nearly two decades ago and has no bearing on any Kia products since the Hyundai takeover. If the average consumer associates Kia with Ford, it would only be so as the result of hearing misinformation from you. Is this like when you claim an F-150 is only calable of pulling a pop-up camper? Just more “facts” you pull out of your arse.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          And Gone With the Wind was a great movie.

          What you state is correct, but that’s now history over a couple of decades ago.

          Kia is done with Ford and Hyundai done with Mitsubishi and for the better.

          A great business has come out of the two.

    • 0 avatar

      Hyundai has a history of not wearing very well. They’re nice when they’re new. At about the four year mark, they feel like they’re ten years old. It’s getting better, but still not there (for me anyway).

      • 0 avatar

        brn, my ’15 Sonata has 32k on it and aside from a very intermittent and difficult to detect buzz on a certain kind of road at a certain temperature, it would be nearly impossible to tell it’s not new if it was sufficiently detailed. The driver’s floor mat has a few loose threads, the driver’driver’s seat shows some fine crinkles in the leather, and the area of the leather-wrapped wheel you grip the most is ever so slightly more shiny than the rest. That’s it. Everything else looks and feels (buttons, lids, covers, whatever) as new.

        Maybe it’ll fall apart by 50k like you say. But so far I have few complaints.

        • 0 avatar

          PeriSoft, I did say that it is getting better. ALso, wait three years. A ’15 anything, even with 32K miles on it, is effectively new as far as I’m concerned.

          I hope I’m wrong and that your car treats you well for many years to come.

          • 0 avatar

            Well, I’ll wait a year and a half. That’s when my lease ends, so most likely I’ll either be lucky and upgrading or unlucky and re-rolling a lease of a similar car; I doubt I’ll want to buy it out (unless I’m *really* lucky and decide to keep it as a second car).

        • 0 avatar

          My buddy had a 2015 red Sonata Limited and put close to 80K on it and it rode and drove as new with no real wear. The only reason he had to get rid of it was that he lost his job and couldn’t afford the monthly payment.

    • 0 avatar

      I have had my fair share of vehicles since 1996… 2 GM’s, 1 Nissan, 3 Toyota’s and 3 Hyundai’s. Hyundai has been my favorite choice of all three brands – Their warranty is really hard to beat. Sure they are not perfect, but what car manufacturer is?

      Honda might have a reputation for reliability, but their service is sub par – at least in this city, and that for me is half of the car buying equation. Style wise, Honda is STARTING to improve… but they were through over 15 years of being beaten with an ugly stick.

  • avatar

    Those aren’t very good numbers for a 1.4t, are they?

    Chrysler gets an extra 30hp/30tq out of their 1.4t in the Dart without the DI?

  • avatar

    Hyundais keep getting better over the years. That being said, I see more and more of them as rentals and fleet cars here in Montreal, is that the case elsewhere?

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