Imperial Beach in a 2017 Hyundai Elantra

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Pier South Resort and Imperial Beach are a combination of Frank Sinatra meets Key West. Over the Coronado bridge, all the way down the peninsula Imperial Beach is a throwback to Key West, to the island ways. Life looks simple; the weather is warm, the breeze is soft, the people are pleasant. Hemingway could have written, and drank, here. Frank Sinatra could have joined him.

I take an afternoon stroll out the side of the Hotel, down the beach, where you can see helicopters landing at Naval Outlying Landing Field (NOLF) to the left. A couple of miles away is Mexico; I decide to go North of Imperial Beach instead, where I envision Hemingway playing battleship with his friends while Gellhorn yells at him from the shore. It is a public beach, frequented mainly by the locals.

The next morning I bring my bags down and stand behind my 2017 Hyundai Elantra. My keys still in my hands, three beeps later my trunk is open, and I am storing my luggage in the trunk. I head towards Ramona through the orange tree groves, citrus in the air. The Elantra is a competitive, four-door sedan that gets 38 mpg on the highway from the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that can produce 147 horsepower.

We’re driving the top of the line Elantra, complete with different modes of driving, door handle approach lights, and blind spot detection. Hyundai is setting its sights for gaining marketshare from the Honda Civic. It’s the proverbial I’ll see yours and raise you game and Hyundai has done just that, offering Apple Carplay and Android Auto. If you own an Apple watch, you can use it to remote start your Hyundai.

At noon, we stop at the renowned Mt. Woodson Castle. Built in the 1920s as a private home, it serves as a destination spot for catered lunches, and weddings.

We make our way back to Imperial Beach, doing it our way with Frank Sinatra singing in the background. If Imperial Beach is the Key West of the West, San Diego is the South Beach of the West. We get to experience the quietness of the car on the highway and miss the bumper to bumper San Diego city traffic by going South of the city. The Hotel is an Autograph Collection of Marriott Hotels, the boutique side of their business. It’s good to be back on the ocean, far away from the maddening crowds, only twelve miles away.

Inside the Hotel is a family owned Restaurant, SEA 180 Coastal Tavern. The Cohn family owns restaurants up and down the San Diego area and at sunset we convened in the SEA180 for a gastronomic delight. Seven of the Cohn restaurants were there to give us a sampling of the foods they serve at their restaurants.

It was a chef’s showcase as The coastal tavern, Blue point, OB warehouse, Vintana, 333 Pacific, Bo Beau, and Island Prime served up some of their tastiest treats.

Behind the windbreaker glass was a couple of Elantras, shining in the moonlight, gleaming off the sand. A great ending to a great day.


2017 Hyundai Elantra models and prices:

Miles per gallon: 29 city / 38 highway
Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 147 horsepower
Warranty: 5 year/60,000 mi basic, 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain

2017 Hyundai Elantra SE Manual $17,150

2017 Hyundai Elantra SE Automatic $18,150

2017 Hyundai Elantra SE Automatic Popular $18,950

2017 Hyundai Elantra SE Automatic Technology $20,250

2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited $22,350

2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited technology $24,850

2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited Ultimate $26,750

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.