COMPARISON: 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco, a Fun Fuel Miser

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2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco

The Hyundai Elantra is all-new for 2017. The lineup includes the SE, Limited, and a new fuel-efficient trim called the Elantra Eco.

This compact sedan was already a fuel-efficient car, but the Eco takes it a step further. The bulk of the difference with the Eco is its engine.

Rather than a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder paired to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, the Eco features a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. This little engine provides 128 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque.

It’s plenty responsive and has three driving modes of Eco, Comfort, and Sport to alter the car’s driving dynamics to suit your preferences. Even in Eco, a setting that can often make a car a chore to drive, the Elantra Eco is an enjoyable drive. Switch it to Sport and you’ll forget you’re driving an economy car.

Looking for a new or used car? Check out BestRide’s listing search here.

The focus of the Elantra Eco is fuel economy with 32/40/35 mpg city/highway/combined. It is sure to make those with longer daily drives happy. What won’t make you happy is the minimalist interior. The Limited trim takes care of that problem, but without the Eco’s more fuel-efficient engine. You’re left with a choice. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

The economy vibe includes lots of plastic and hard surfaces without much character. The Eco is here to do the job and nothing more. Despite its modest interior design, the Eco is still comfortable. We had the opportunity to take a multi-day trip from Alabama to New Hampshire in the Elantra Eco and weren’t stiff or aching even after long days of driving.

It’s also roomy, even in the back seats. There’s a large 14.4 cubic-foot trunk, too, offering plenty of room for a family’s luggage. Comfort, fuel economy, and lots of cargo room make this a great car for families who do lots of long-distance drives.

Looking for a new or used car? Check out BestRide’s listing search here.

Economy cars need to be affordable. The Elantra Eco starts at $20,650, which hits the mark. There are cheaper cars out there, but you’re getting a lot more car for your dollar than you do with other options.

Here’s how the Hyundai Elantra Eco compares to the competition so you can decide if Hyundai’s newest Elantra is the right car for you.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco

Engine: 1.4-liter turbocharged I4
Horsepower: 128
Torque: 156 lb-ft
Transmission: 7-speed automatic

Seating Dimensions (inches)
Front Headroom: 38.8
Front Legroom: 42.2
Rear Headroom: 37.3
Rear Legroom: 35.7

Cargo Capacity (cubic feet)
Trunk: 14.4

Fuel Economy (mpg)
City: 32
Highway: 40

Pricing: $20,650

2016 Honda Civic Coupe

2016 Honda Civic LX

Engine: 2.0-liter I4
Horsepower: 158
Torque: 138 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed manual or CVT

Seating Dimensions (inches)
Front Headroom: 38.2
Front Legroom: 42.3
Rear Headroom: 34.6
Rear Legroom: 35.9

Cargo Capacity (cubic feet)
Trunk: 12.1

Fuel Economy (mpg manual/automatic)
City: 26/30
Highway: 38/41

Pricing: $18,640

2016 Chevrolet Cruze

2016 Chevrolet Cruze

Engine: 1.4-liter 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 153
Torque: 177 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Seating Dimensions (inches)
Front Headroom: 38.9
Front Legroom: 42.0
Rear Headroom: 37.3
Rear Legroom: 36.1

Cargo Capacity (cubic feet)
Trunk: 14.8

Fuel Economy (mpg)
City: 30
Highway: 42

Pricing: $16,120 – $24,370

2016 Ford Focus

2016 Ford Focus S

Engine: 2.0-liter I4
Horsepower: 160
Torque: 146 lb-ft
Transmission: 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic

Seating Dimensions (inches)
Front Headroom: 38.3
Front Legroom: 43.1
Rear Headroom: 38.0
Rear Legroom: 33.2

Cargo Capacity (cubic feet)
Trunk: 13.2

Fuel Economy: (mpg manual/automatic)
City: 26/27
Highway: 36/40

Pricing: $17,225

The Elantra Eco does come in priced higher than these competitive models, but pricing is a tricky comparison. The Eco trim is unique. Comparing to base models of its competitors it’s not the best outright value, but as soon as you add in options to make the trim levels more equal, pricing is more competitive.

Fuel economy is a close race, but the Elantra Eco beats them all in city driving, particularly the Ford Focus which lags behind at 27 mpg in the city. On the highway, it’s still a tight race with the Civic up by one mpg and the Cruze up by two mpg.

Looking for a new or used car? Check out BestRide’s listing search here.

One area where the Elantra Eco shines is in cargo capacity with that spacious 14.4 cubic foot trunk. The Cruze has slightly more at 14.8 cubic feet but both the Civic and Focus offer far less.

Although priced slightly higher than its competitors, the Hyundai Elantra Eco offers an attractive combination of cargo capacity, fuel economy, and a roomy rear seat that give it an edge. It also has a responsive engine that makes it the new kid worth considering.