Hyundai Elantra Hybrid

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Editors' First Take

The new Hyundai Elantra launches with a pretty strong hand, but this Hybrid model is the ace up its sleeve. It has the same standout styling, comfortable accommodations and long list of tech as the standard Elantra but it ups the ante with better on-road manners and a real mic-drop detail: 54 miles per gallon combined.

That makes this Elantra more efficient than the Honda Insight and Toyota Corolla Hybrid, and it even bests some versions of the Toyota Prius. With the aforementioned accolades backing up that great efficiency, the Elantra Hybrid isn't just the most economical of the bunch, it's also the most compelling.

The Hybrid's drivetrain consists of a 1.6-liter I4 engine, 1.3-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and 34-kilowatt electric motor. All told, 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque are sent to the Elantra's front wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. The battery isn't large enough to give the Elantra any real electric range, but it can store enough energy to offer gas-free operation at parking lot speeds, and the engine can shut off when you're coasting. Sure, the Elantra Hybrid is kind of slow, and the gas engine is a little buzzy when you lay into it, but the six-speed DCT is great. And don't forget, what's mission critical here is fuel economy.

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