BY H. THROTTLE
Test driving various cars is exciting and educational. It is rare that a bad car ever arrives for a test run. The main difference is in the price, brand names, power trains, and optional features. All-wheel drive is more expensive but worth the expenditures for Colorado weather. It is no surprise that sometimes the less expensive vehicles compete well with the higher priced models.
The test car this week is one of those surprises where the price is low, and the quality of the drive is high. The car of the week is a Hyundai Elantra hybrid limited. How much fun to drive a spirited hybrid that racks off 52 miles per gallon of fuel. A car that has spirited power with a 1.5L 4-cylinder engine that produces 139 horsepower with a six speed “Eco shift” versatile transmission. The car handles well with the Drive selection or a shift to S position that adds a definite boost in battery power and acceleration. This Hyundai hybrid Elantra was named “American Car of The Year.”
It is easy to drive, sleek, nimble, easy to park, and of course very quiet. The exterior is “ceramic white” and the interior “mélange gray.” I had a number of compliments on the sleek appearance by pedestrians walking by, “Nice car” they would say.
Along with being a fuel “miser machine” this car is affordable with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $28,100. Along with this attractive price is a 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty on the drive train that includes the batteries.
The Elantra has all the bells and whistles; heated and cooled front seats, the usual warnings for pedestrians and forward objects with a Bose premium sound system with easy controls and leather trimmed seats. The trunk opens and shuts manually but is easy to handle.
This car was a faithful and good companion during the week, and it is easy to see why it gained high car of year honors in the auto industry ratings.