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> 2017 Eco Drive
post Nov 30 2016, 11:13 PM
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So I was spec'ing out the new Elantra sedans, and reading the tests by the paid professionals.
I've been researching both the Eco (1.4t, 128HP @5500, 156TQ @1400) and the Sport (1.6t, 201HP @6000, 195 TQ @1750)--both utilizing the 7-speed Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT)--and there is ONE 2017 Eco within 100 miles of me. And no 2017 Sports.

One thing I have yet to find is an acceleration chart with max speeds in gears. Doesn't anyone do charts any more?

The earlier Elantra "Sports" were sort of Chevy-style "sport": tag, wheels, chin spoiler, no more power, no more this or that, AFAIK. I wasn't paying attention, over the past few years, for that very reason. So I could have missed something.

My recent drive in a Veloster 1.6t with a 7-DCT failed to impress. Very crude at low speed, and the kick at medium speeds was noticeably less than a 6A I drove with this same 201 HP mill in a Forte5 a couple of months back. THIS is progress?

This trannie has a three-phase switch. Slug. Normal. Swift. When I first nailed the throttle it was on Normal, and the acceleration was less than I expected. Granted, the motor had under 90 miles on it. A later belt with the trans set on Power felt a little better.

This car is loaded with all necessary toys. Hyundai Blue Link. Display audio with touchscreen. Sirius XM 90-day trial. Android Auto and Apple Car Play support. Dual zone automatic temperature control. Three-speed heated seats. Digital speedo. Blind spot detection + rear cross traffic alert. Proximity key and proximity trunk release. Passenger (and driver) seat height adjustment. Leather wrapped steering wheel & shifter. Projector headlights. EPA 32/40 rating, which the various hot-rod testers regularly exceeded. Carpeted floor mats!

Priced at just under $21,000 including shipping. That's quite a sweet spot. This car has all the toys I need. Dual zone and heated seats are high on my list.

At low speed, this trans had none of the jerkiness that the Veloster did. It didn't feel like a short-circuited bot was in charge. At higher speeds it up-shifted and kicked down as a trans should.

On the highway the Eco (don't call it an Echo...possibly the worst POS junker rental I've had in the last 20 years) is quiet and pretty smooth. On the extended (like 270 degrees around) on- and off-ramps I could bend this sukkah in at an easy fitty and it leaned just a wee bit. The screechy tires that paid pundits commented on did not screech. Perhaps I didn't push it enough? Tires on alloys are, interestingly, 195.65.15. Yes, it's 2007 all over again! The dusky alloy wheels are attractive and the tall tires don't look odd. They probably should've gone up one width-size, to 205, but Mr. Hyundai did not seek my wisdom.

I like a digital speedo. Much quicker acquisition. It also has standard round matching analog tach and speedo. When you punch the Normal/Eco/Sport trannie control button, the revs go up in Sport and drop back when you drop out of Sport. More miles would be interesting and would definitely help me sort out this drivetrain.

On the flip side, there are rear drum brakes. My bud said they may have kevlar linings? Way past my level of incompetence/knowledge, for sure.

The salesman, as car salesmen are wont to do, "explained" that the N/E/S button also "tightens up the suspension." Which is of course absurd, suspension and trannies are not connected in this 20 grand car and this Elantra does not have variable suspension settings.
Where do they get such baloney? Tony Packos?

At speeds up to 80 the Elantra Eco is quiet and smooth. On rough pavement it's not quite as isolated as I thought it would be. But it still does well. It's far more isolated than my Soul, but Soul is not exactly the Cadillac--or Genesis if you prefer--of smooth-riding small cars.

The seats...unremarkable. Which is good. If I didn't notice the seat, then it was pretty comfortable. Not too firm, as so many are today. Not too squishy, as the classic squishy-seat 2001 Buick Century seats which set the standard, were. Kinda Baby Bear. With thanks and apologies to Hogan's Heroes.

I like the blue tinted gauges. Blue is much more relaxing than the harsher near-white light I'm used to.

So, in summary. A most pleasant surprise. A couple of nights ago I picked up a recent Car and Driver assessment of a 40+ grand Mercedes. The 7 DCT drove them nutty. It sounded even worse than the Veloster I drove. Is this weird or what?


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