Hyundai introduced the Elantra Hybrid model for 2021 as competition for the growing number of hybrid sedans hitting showrooms. The Korean automaker greatly improved the Elantra in this generation and the hybrid model adds considerable fuel economy gains at an affordable starting price. Above-average safety scores and best-in-class warranties don’t hurt either.
The 2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid has a starting price of $23,550 while the top of the line trim starts at $28,100. That’s crazy cheap compared to most of the other hybrid options in this class. The Elantra Hybrid is, in our experience, a more useful and comfortable daily drive than is the Toyota Corolla it competes with (hybrid or no) and it has a signature new look that’s sporty and compelling. Probably the Elantra Hybrid’s only downer is its small-ish trunk at just 14.2 cubic feet.
The interior of the Elantra Hybrid, while relatively low-rent in terms of materials choices, is high-tech in appearance and comfortable to be in. The front seats offer good legroom, headroom, and shoulder space and the rear seating accommodates two adults comfortably and three when required. The outboard positions have easily-accessible LATCH anchors for child safety seats as well as overhead tether anchors.
Standard in the 2021 Elantra Hybrid is an 8-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Satellite radio, HD radio, two USB ports, and Bluetooth are also standard. Upgrade options include a 10.25-inch touchscreen and a 10.25-inch digital driver’s display that replaces physical gauges in the cluster. An eight-speaker Bose stereo, wireless device charging pad, and navigation are also upgrade options. Push-button start, proximity keyless entry, and dual-zone automatic climate are also standard in the Elantra Hybrid. So is Hyundai’s standard suite of advanced safety technologies.
Powering the 2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor for a total output of 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is also standard. The Elantra Hybrid feels quick from the stop sign thanks to that electric motor, but that quickly fades to a more normalized acceleration feel that remains confident, but loses its sporty edge. Power transitions from electric to gasoline as well as from regenerative to physical braking are seamless in daily driving.
Fuel economy in the Elantra Hybrid is excellent at 53 mpg in the city and 56 mpg on the highway. Our highway loop (75 mph, 42 miles) returned 57.4 mpg on average, which is wonderfully good. Even the Toyota Prius can’t match that return easily.
Our chief complaints about the 2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid are few and probably not deal-breakers for most buyers. The rear seats are somewhat cramped for those over six feet, but still usable. The trunk isn’t as large as most other compact sedans, but we still managed to get a week’s worth of groceries in there with room to spare. With pricing for even the highest-end Elantra Hybrid at under $30,000 and fuel economy nearing 60 mpg, it’s hard to knock this sedan.
This review originally appeared on DriveModeShow.com.