I drove a Hyundai Elantra Hybrid for a week — and I’ll never buy a gas-only car again

2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited.
(Image credit: Future)

So far, I’ve been exploring all of the advantages EVs offer over traditional ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles when it comes to saving you money in the long run. Recently, however, a poll revealed that one of the major roadblocks to owning an electric car is that they’re still way too much for the average consumer. 

But after driving a Hyundai Elantra Hybrid (from $29,450, $29,450 as tested) for a week, I’m convinced that it’s one of the best values around and should be in consideration if an EV is out of your reach.

Hybrids have gotten more efficient, so much so that many of today’s models easily achieve a fuel economy of over 40 mpg (miles per gallon) — and the Elantra Hybrid is no exception. What I’m also surprised about is that you get access to the same conveniences that I initially thought were exclusive to the best electric cars and PHEVs, such as smart cruise control, parking assistance, wireless phone charging, lane following assist, ventilated seats and much more.

For me, however, it all comes back to value. Specifically, how much it can save you long term. After driving the Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited for a week, I think it offers one of the best bang for the buck deals if you’re looking to lessen your gas spending.

2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited: Pros

Outstanding fuel economy

2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited.

(Image credit: Future)

First of all, I’m used to averaging about 30 mpg with my aging Toyota Corolla. But to experience a vehicle that gets me over 50 mpg proves how much more efficient hybrid vehicles are over traditional gas-only ones. The Hyundai Elantra Hybrid lives up to its claim of reaching a combined fuel economy of 50 mpg. In fact, I got to an average of 50.8 mpg during my testing — so when you do the math, it could get a range of up to 558 miles. If you do a ton of long distance driving, you’ll be able to drive considerably further with the Elantra Hybrid.

Deep trunk space

2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited.

(Image credit: Future)

Since the Elantra is often considered an equivalent to my Corolla, I’m surprised that there’s ample trunk space for a compact sedan. I’m able to easily throw my electric scooter flat on its side and push all the way back closer to where the trunk meets the rear seats, with still plenty of room to throw in other things.

All the same driver assist features as EVs

2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited.

(Image credit: Future)

It’s becoming quite clear that basic driver assist features are ubiquitous in all new cars today. Even for being classified as a compact sedan, the Elantra Hybrid Limited comes with assistance features I’ve come to rely on while driving — like lane assist that keeps the car centered in the lane, blindside warning to inform me if there’s a vehicle coming too close, backup camera for parking, and smart cruise control that will maintain the car’s speed and move the steering wheel accordingly. These are the same exact safety and assistance features I’ve found in much more expensive EVs and PHEVs.

Aggressive looking front grille

2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited.

(Image credit: Future)

When you look at the Elantra Hybrid Limited straight on from the front, it’s hard not to recognize the aggressive grille it’s rocking. Not only does the sharp front end of the car stick out, but the grille itself has this almost 3D pattern design that commands attention. It’s not sporty compared to other compact sedans I’ve seen on the road, but it’s certainly on the aggressive side that gives it the illusion of being performance driven — despite being a hybrid.

Cool looking cluster animations

Gif animation of 2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited animation cluster.

(Image credit: Future)

Nearly every vehicle today ditches the traditional gauge cluster panel in favor of all-electronic ones, but I really like how Hyundai changes it up because there’s this neat option that transforms the usual gauge layout of the dashboard, like the speedometer and tachometer, and replaces them with these animated cubes. One side shows a digital reading of the car’s speed, while the other shows the fuel economy. Small details like the way they animate make for a refreshing change from the norm.

2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited: Cons

Unused panel on the driver side

Hyundai Elantra Hybrid dashboard view.

(Image credit: Future)

When I first sat in the driver’s seat, I noticed the area on the left side of the dashboard with this circular pattern with a line through the middle of it. Initially, I believed it had to be some kind of touch sensitive panel — whether it’s for navigating the touchscreen like a trackpad — but it wasn’t. I even wondered if it was hiding a magnetic connection to let me cradle my MagSafe iPhone. Well, it turns out that it’s simply a placeholder for potentially other functions when the vehicle was being designed, but it’s just empty space with no purpose.

Wired Android Auto and CarPlay

Gif animation of 2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited Wired CarPlay.

(Image credit: Future)

I don’t understand how the cheaper gas-only version of the 2024 Hyundai Elantra offers wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, while the pricier Elantra Hybrid Limited Edition I drove only offers it with a wired connection. It should be the other way around! While it’s not a big dealbreaker, I would’ve preferred the wireless connection rather than connecting my phone to a cable and taking up one of the USB-C ports in the car for access to Android Auto or CarPlay.

Narrow windshield

2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited.

(Image credit: Future)

When I went back briefly to grab something from my Toyota Corolla, then returned back to the Elantra Hybrid Limited, I noticed that its windshield was much narrower. The problem with this is that it causes a lot of the reflections from the car’s dashboard to appear in the windshield, which is a little distracting on brighter days when those reflections are more apparent.

2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited: bottom line

When it comes to value, the 2024 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited has plenty of it. With an MSRP of $29,450, it’s still way cheaper than most of the best cheap EVs on the market right now — while also getting substantially more range without the need to take pit stops for refueling. For instance, the rear-wheel drive powered Tesla Model 3 costs $38,990 without including any qualifying rebates ($33,990 with it), but its range is shorter at 272 miles.

Another notable comparison would be the gas-only powered version of the Elantra that starts at $21,625, but achieves a lower combined fuel economy of 36 mpg. That’s a tremendous difference that the Hybrid model will pay off in the long run, which I think is a better investment at this point. You could save even more by going with the standard Elantra Hybrid Blue, which starts at $26,250 and gets an even better 54 mpg combined fuel economy.

It's worth pointing out that EVs like the Tesla Model 3 and Nissan Leaf will ultimately save you the most money in the long run because charging them at home is a lot cheaper than filling up a hybrid with gasoline. But I also understand that there are still people who have reservations about EVs, like their range and charging station availability, which is why hybrid cars like the Elantra shouldn’t be overlooked.

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John Velasco
Senior Channel Editor for Phones

John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.

  • bronxtaskforce1
    Many of you talk about how great hybrids are but absolutely no one is talk about the cost of replacing a Hybrid battery. Remember the owner brought a plug in Hyundai Inoniq hybrid. $16,000 for a battery for a $30,000 vehicle. Run that story