Is an extra 15 or so miles-per-gallon worth paying $3,900 more?
Right now, the $3,900 more you’ll pay to buy the hybrid version of the Elantra — which goes about 15 miles farther overall on a gallon of gas than the non-hybrid Elantra — must be juxtaposed against the cost of gas, which is hovering right around $3 per gallon in most parts of the country.
At that rate, it’ll take a while to earn back $3,900 in at-the-pump savings.
But what if the cost of gas rises to $4 or $5 per gallon?
Then you’ll know that what you spent on the Elantra hybrid will have been worth a great deal more than you thought it did when you bought it.
What It Is
The Elantra is Hyundai’s compact sedan, which by itself is something of a rarity given how rare sedans are becoming, as crossovers take over the market on their way to becoming the Universal Transportation Appliance.
Even more of a rarity — among new cars in general — is that the Elantra is available with three different engines and a manual transmission with two of those engines.
Plus the hybrid drivetrain, too.
Prices start at $19,850 for the base trim SE, which comes with a 2.0-liter, four cylinder engine (no turbo) paired with a continuously variable automatic.
The high-performance N Line gets a smaller 1.6-liter engine with a turbocharger, which boosts its output to 201 horsepower. This engine is available with either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic.
If that’s insufficient performance, the Elantra N (no Line) offers a turbocharged version of the 2.0-liter engine; its output boosted to 286 horsepower, making this version of the Elantra by far the strongest car in this class of car. This engine is also available with either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed, dual clutch automatic.
If it’s maximum mileage you’re after, there’s the hybrid available in standard Blue ($23,750) and Limited ($28,250) trims. Both come standard with a 139 horsepower version of the 1.6-liter engine — without a turbo — but augmented by a hybrid-electric system that keeps it off as much as possible and thereby boosts the mileage to 53 city, 56 highway.
The much-anticipated Elantra N is the main news for 2022.
Manual — or automatic.
Multiple engine options.
Near-motorcycle mileage with the hybrid option.
What’s Not So Good
Manual is only available with the two performance engines.
Hybrid’s cost to buy may take a while to offset via what you save.
Sedan layout limits cargo-carrying capacity versus hatches and crossovers.
Under The Hood
The Elantra’s standard 2.0-liter engine, which isn’t turbocharged, makes 147 horsepower, and it’s paired with a CVT automatic and delivers 33 MPG in city driving, which is nearly as good as some economy cars manage on the highway.
If you prefer more power, the Elantra offers a 1.6-liter turbo’d four that summons 201 horsepower and your pick of a six-speed manual or a seven-speed, dual clutch automatic.
If you’re after much more power, the new Elantra N (no Line) comes with a 286 horsepower turbocharged version of the 2.0 engine with N Grin overboost. It can also be paired with either the six-speed manual or an eight-speed, dual clutch automatic. So equipped, this little “economy car” can get to 60 in about five seconds, which makes it quicker than practically every V8 muscle car made from the ’60 through the early 2000s.
There is one more thing to think about, however.
It is the hybrid version of the Elantra.
This one has the 1.6-liter engine but without the turbocharger, so it only makes 139 horsepower. But because it is paired with a battery pack/electric motor combo, it can travel more than 600 highway miles on a full tank.
On the Road
Hybrids have a reputation for being slow because most of the ones people know about are.
Then there’s this hybrid.
It gets to 60 in about nine seconds. It won’t beat a Mustang GT. But it will smoke a Prius, which takes about 11 seconds to get to 60. It’s also about as quick as the typical non-hybrid economy car — or crossover.
It’s quick enough to not constantly remind you of the price you pay in a hybrid such as the Prius for that motorcyclelike fuel economy.
At The Curb
This hybrid doesn’t look like one.
It shares the standard Elantra’s sporty sedan profile and its sporty-looking interior, the centerpiece of which is a full-width flatscreen/driver-configurable main gauge cluster.
The drivetrain isn’t all that’s electrically enhanced, either.
All hybrid Elantras come standard with heated seats and outside mirrors, dual zone climate control and an upgraded six speaker audio system.
Ventilated seats and leather trim come standard in the Limited trim.
There is also a conventional T-handle gear selector rather than buttons or knobs to push, which adds to the real-car feel of this Hyundai.
One price you will pay to own this Hyundai is limited cargo-carrying capacity, a cost incurred by the Elantra’s sedan (with a trunk) layout. It has a good-sized trunk for a small sedan 14.2 cubic feet, which is on par with many mid-sized sedans. But hatchbacks – such as the Prius, for instance — have almost twice as much cargo room (27.4 cubic feet), and the crossovers that are quickly becoming the Universal Transportation Appliance often have twice again as much space for cargo in something about the same overall size.
The Bottom Line
The way things are going, hybrids may be the way to go.
(SET IMAGE) epe101921adAP.jpg (END IMAGE) (SET CAPTION) View the Hyundai Elantra hybrid this week. (END CAPTION)
Eric’s latest book, “Doomed: Goof Cars Gone Wrong” will be available soon. To find out more about Eric and read his past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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Last Updated: Monday, Oct 18, 2021 16:40:36 -0700