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The Hyundai Elantra Hybrid is a highly appealing compact sedan, underscored by my recent week-long review test of the 2023 model. And like much of Hyundai’s lineup, it presents plenty of value prospects. Hyundai’s warranties are industry leading, the Elantra Hybrid delivers stellar fuel economy and there’s plenty of standard features. Aside from environmental concerns, overall value is surely near the top of the list for anyone in the compact hybrid sedan segment. And thus, the Elantra Hybrid presents a significant question to buyers — which trim to choose?

Interior shot of the 2023 Hyundai Elantra Limited
2023 Hyundai Elantra | Hyundai

It’s not such an easy question with value in mind because the Elantra Hybrid is only available in two trims, the base Blue and Limited. And there’s quite a price discrepancy. The 2023 Blue model starts at $24,550 MSRP. The Limited starts at $29,150, a full $4,600 more.

That pricing difference comes down exclusively to creature comforts, tech and safety features. Both models are powered by a 1.6-liter hybridized four-cylinder developing a total of 139 horsepower. Front-wheel drive is only offered along with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The Blue Hybrid isn’t bare bones despite its sub-$25,000 MSRP. There’s still a huge suite of safety features, including automatic forward emergency braking, lane-keep assist, rear automatic braking, blind-spot monitoring with avoidance assist and several more. Inside there’s heated front seats, keyless entry with push-button start, satellite radio and a six-speaker sound system. Tech includes an 8-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and two USB ports.

Opting for the Limited model adds ventilated front seats, driver seat memory settings, leather upholstery and a 10.25-inch touchscreen. Other additions include a sunroof, power-driver’s seat with lumbar support, ambient interior lighting, a wireless charging pad and eight-speaker Bose audio system. The top model also sports adaptive cruise control, parking sensors and a more advanced forward collision avoidance system.

Outside of the price increase, there are a few downsides to the Limited. For instance, the Limited’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity requires a wired connection. The Elantra Hybrid Blue delivers 54 combined mpg. The Limited settles for 50. Those are still impressive figures, just slightly behind the class-leading Toyota Prius.

So, is the Limited worth the added cost? If you want more safety features and creature comforts, it absolutely is. A $4,600 premium over the base model is no small potatoes when considering it presents a 19 percent increase over the price of the Blue. But another factor to consider is the overall value the Limited still presents. A top-spec Honda Civic Touring has a similar features list and costs more without the benefit of a hybrid powertrain. A range-topping Corolla Hybrid XLE costs a bit less, but it’s nowhere near as well equipped and sports the same combined mpg rating as the Elantra Hybrid.

Either way, the 2023 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid is mostly pleasing to pilot.

The hybrid powertrain blends economy and performance well — its zippy enough around town or on the highway. It delivers a smooth ride, and there’s good passenger space for the compact class. The 14.2-cubic foot trunk is respectable for the segment.

The infotainment system requires no learning curve. Hyundai is still insistent on using physical controls for regularly used features like the heated/ventilated seats and climate controls. It’s easy to appreciate this characteristic when navigating traffic.

There are two prominent negatives. The Elantra Hybrid Limited’s cabin is packed with comforts, but there are still hard plastics scattered throughout the cabin. Particularly in the rear and on the door panels. Additionally, it’s not a quiet ride. Wind, tire and traffic noise are pervasive at highway speeds.

Choosing between the 2023 Elantra Hybrid Blue and Limited trims may be a tough nut to crack, but both models should be on the short list for value-hunters.

To note, the pricing gap between the Blue and Limited has closed slightly for the refreshed 2024 Elantra Hybrid. The 2024 Limited’s price increases by $300 to $29,450 MSRP, while the Blue’s has risen more drastically to $26,250. Both receive upgrades. For instance, the 2024 Blue sports the 10.25-inch touchscreen, and the Limited is fitted with more safety features, including a surround view monitor.