By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com

Yes, you can cut those trips to the gas station short, real short, as fuel prices hover around $4 a gallon! All you have to do is go get a 2023 Hyundai Elantra HEV (hybrid electric vehicle). Believe us, you are assured of at least over 50 mpg in this fine compact sedan.

A 2.0-liter inline-4 cylinder engine puts out a total of 139 horsepower and 195 pounds-feet of torque while coupled to an electric motor operating a 32kW lithium-ion polymer battery. Power reaches the front wheels via a crisp-shifting 6-speed auto gearbox. By no means is this a speedster but the car takes off real quick and comes to a stop at a moment’s notice. Switch to sport mode (normal and smart are other options) and you will end up with a sprightly drive whether on the highway or dodging peak-hour traffic.Suspension is handled via the reliable MacPherson strut front and multilink rear. The motor-driven power rack-and-pinion steering returns a weighted and response to the driver’s input.

The small car portrays a low and wide stance with a dark chrome mesh grille flanked by slim, horizontal LED headlights and daytime running lights. Two colossal 10.25-inch displays: a touch screen for infotainment system, and the other for digital instrument cluster, immediately draws attention. Sporting a horizontal dash layout, the practical cabin comes standard with a 60/40 rear seat, leather-wrapped heated/cooled, six-way power driver and four-way front-passenger adjustable seats, dual auto a/c, tilt/telescopic steering column, Bose audio with eight speakers, power sun roof, wireless phone charger, electronic park brake and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay.

Several safety features come at no extra cost. There are dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, front/rear crumple zones, electronic stability and traction control, forward-, blind spot- and rear cross traffic collision- avoidance assists, lane keep and forward assists, rearview camera, remote keyless entry and tire pressure monitoring system.

Base-priced at just $29,150, the Elantra HEV makes perfect sense as we see no end in sight for rising fuel prices at the pump. Apart from its gas-sipping capabilities, the car is agile, delightful and fun to drive. There also is Hyundai’s five-year, 60,000-mile basic, and 10-year, 100,000-mile power train and hybrid battery warranties to convince you to sign on the dotted line.


Tires: P225/45R17

Wheelbase: 107.1 inches

Length: 184.1 inches

Width: 71.9 inches

Height: 55.7 inches

Weight: 3,069 pounds

Fuel capacity: 11 gallons

City: 49 mpg

Highway: 52 mpg

Combined: 50 mpg

Web site: www.hyundaiusa.com