2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited Long-Term Update: Power and Fuel Economy
After nearly a year with Hyundai's smallest sedan, the Elantra has proven itself a genial commuter, a car that's easy to get along with that offers a lot of welcome features for a good price. It isn't a high-performance car, and it isn't supposed to be. If you want some more fire under the hood of an Elantra, you can look to the turbocharged 1.6-liter, 201-horsepower engine in the Elantra Sport. But for most people, the Elantra's regular engine has just about enough power for the daily drive.
Our long-termer has Hyundai's 2.0-liter, 147-horsepower four-cylinder engine. That's not a ton of power, but it's within in the same general range as similarly sized engines in other compact sedans. (The Corolla, for example, uses a 132-horsepower 1.8-liter engine and the Ford Focus' 2.0-liter has 160 horsepower.) The engine doesn’t have a lot of torque, but it's paired with a capable six-speed automatic that does a fine job of making use of what’s there. Most of the time, this duo is perfectly capable of getting you there and back, but there are going to be times when you'll have to push things a bit. When going up a grade or when passing someone at freeway speeds, you'll hear and feel the transmission work to make the best use of the engine's power. But if you let the transmission do its thing, the Elantra will comply. If you need to get going a little faster, it'll do it. Just don’t expect it to be the fastest car on the freeway.
If you've decided to go with a smaller engine instead of the most powerful one, that choice will pay off for you at the pump. The Elantra with this engine is EPA-rated at 33 mpg combined for the SE trim level; with our Limited long-termer, that number is still an impressive 32 mpg. Our recorded fuel-economy numbers show that on some occasions, we've seen combined city/highway driving--almost always more biased toward the city side--of above 30 mpg. If you want to get even more out of each tank of fuel, you can go for the Elantra SE, which uses a smaller wheel and tire package, or the Elantra Eco. The Eco uses a 128-horsepower, 1.4-liter engine and a 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, for combined fuel economy of 35 mpg. But for us, the Elantra Limited offers the right mix of features, power and fuel economy for the money.
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