Monday, June 10, 2024




When it comes to automotive awards, there is no shortage of organizations, websites, magazines, and other publications singling out vehicles for special recognition.

The Detroit auto show hands out awards for International Car, Truck, and Utility Vehicle of the Year. Texas auto writers recognize the Texas Truck and SUV of the Year. And, of course, with the latest big thing in the automotive world, Green Car Journal selects a Green Car, Green SUV, and a Green Family Car of the Year.

That’s a rather small sampling of all that is out there, and manufacturers no doubt love them all.

I would like to submit a somewhat offbeat offering of my own: “Underrated Car of the Year.” My nomination is the hybrid version of the current generation Hyundai Elantra. With all the attention garnered by Toyota and Honda, it can kind of get lost in its segment.

A gas-electric hybrid drivetrain was included when the South Korean automaker redesigned the Elantra for 2021, and it remains among the six trims to choose from.

The hybrid is one of four drivetrains offered. A pokey 2.0-liter 4-cylinder serves as the standard engine (147 horsepower, 132 pound-feet of torque) for SE, SEL, and Limited models and with a couple of turbocharged  4-cylinder engines boosting power in the N Line (201 hp, 195 lb.-ft.) and N (276 hp, 289 lb.-ft.) performance models.

We are dealing today with the 2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid that pairs a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder gas engine with an electric motor to deliver the most fuel-efficient Elantra. The 2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid comes in two trims itself, a base Blue model that the government says sips fuel at the rate of 51 miles-per-gallon city, 58 highway, and 54 combined and a tricked-out Limited model that produces fuel numbers of 49/52/50 mpg.

The 2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid is rated at only 139 horsepower, which is less than gas-engine only SE, SEL, and Limited trims. But torque — the power that gets you moving — matches the performance-oriented N Line at 195 lb.-ft.

Thankfully, Hyundai has ignored the trend of manufacturers who linkup their hybrid drive trains with a CVT (continuously variable transmission). With the 2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid power is transmitted to the front wheels via a 6-speed dual clutch automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

As an HEV, the 2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid does not provide much in the way of all-electric drive like a plug-in (PHEV), but is designed to give more of a power boost to the gas engine, which by itself provides only 109 pound-feet of torque. The smaller battery in the HEV does not require connecting to an outlet via a cord but is charged by he gas engine and regenerative braking.

The 2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited is packed with a full array of tech features. There are buttons to select functions like the radio and other systems, and adjustments work off a 10.25-inch touchscreen that includes navigation. Android Auto and Apple Bluetooth, a wireless charging pad, Hyundai’s Blue Link connective services (subscription required), a premium sound system, and Bluetooth hands-free communication system.

Dual automatic climate control, an electronic parking brake, Highway Driving Assist (which includes adaptive cruise control), power driver’s seat with lumbar support, a proximity key with push-button start, also are included.

The 2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited rides on 17-inch wheels, has automatic LED headlights, and comes with a power sunroof. Safety systems include blind spot warning, lane-keeping and following assist, and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance.

The 2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited carries a starting MSRP of $30,600, including the $1,150 destination and delivery fee. That makes it the second-most expensive Elantra behind the N trim, hut with all that standard equipment, you’ll not have to add much in the way of optional equipment.

As an option, my test 2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited added only carpeted floor mats, making the final total $30,810.

What I liked about the 2023 Hyundai Elantra  Hybrid Limited:
The interior is roomy and the long list of standard tech features are very user-friendly with handy buttons providing easy access to get to desired modes (map, navigation, radio, media, etc.) It’s a relief that the hybrid drivetrain comes with a 6-speed dual clutch automatic transmission instead of a CVT. The auto hold function eliminates “creeping” at intersections. In addition to room for passengers, the trunk size (14.2 cubic feet) is generous for a compact.

What I didn’t like about the 2023 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited: I like its exterior, but the styling may not be for everyone.

Would I buy the 2023 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited? Yes!. It definitely should be on your list if you are looking for a smart, economical compact sedan and want to get away from the usual suspects.

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