Last week, I got to drive the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco. Powered by an over-achieving 1.4 cylinder turbocharged four, the little sedan quickly displayed something of a dual nature. In “normal” and “sport” modes, the car was fine- fun, even! In “Eco” mode? Not so much.
That Eco badge is a funny thing. When I drove the then-new Sonata a few years back, the Eco was an instant favorite. Even after driving the hybrid, I still preferred the smaller “Eco” engine and its precise, quick-shifting, 7 speed DCT transmission. The Elantra Eco has a similar 7 speed DCT, and it shifts great … unless you’re in Eco mode.
2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco | Avoid Eco Mode
In Eco mode, the car comes off the line in 2nd (?). Being a tiny, turbocharged engine, the Elantra has absolutely no business starting in second, and it bogs noticeably. The natural, human reaction is to give it more pedal. When that happens, the Elantra Eco downshifts into first- which revs the engine madly. The natural, human reaction at that point is to back off the pedal. When that happens, the Elantra seems to shift into fourth and bog even worse than before.
It’s a terrible, jolting, jarring, and scary feeling. Turning left across two fast moving lanes with a car that can’t decide what it’s doing does not feel safe- and I can’t say that enough. This was the first time I’ve ever felt actually unsafe driving a tester. Which is weird.
It’s weird, because simply changing the drive mode on the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco from “Eco” to “Sport” fixes every complaint. Even dropping into the DCT’s manual mode is fun and rewarding. With that push of a button, the little Elantra becomes, almost instantly, a willing participant in spirited traffic-carving moves.
It’s no sports car, even in sport mode, but the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco is certainly an decent enough car to drive.
I know, I know- this is a green car blog. We’ve talked about how switching the transmission from “Eco” to “Sport” mode is a major emissions and fuel economy cheat. I get that- even in Sport mode, though, the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco had no problem giving back better than 40 MPG in mixed highway and city driving. That is according to the onboard computer, sure, but I was given no real reason to doubt the practical accuracy of that figure in my eight days with the Elantra.
Beyond that, there was much to like about the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco. Not much to love, but “love” is a big ask for twenty-ish thousand dollars. Especially when they get you 40 effortless MPG and all the electronic goodies you could ask for. I get why Hyundai sells so many of these things. I’ve included a few more thoughts on the Elantra in the photo gallery, below, and encourage you to leave your thoughts on Hyundai’s latest Honda Civic competitor in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco | General Musings
Original content from Gas 2.