Low-cost compact sedans are legion for a segment that offers better-equipped cars with the latest technologies. The 2016 Hyundai Elantra is right there in the middle of the pack, delivering outstanding value on top of superior build quality.
The compact sedan segment is dominated by the likes of the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, but there are many other models to consider, including the 2016 Hyundai Elantra. The Elantra range is served by four trim levels, including a well-appointed Value edition that makes this model one worth considering.
Beauty certainly is in the eye of the beholder. Hyundai’s design language is both provocative and evocative, bringing a high level of style to the mainstream segment. Like other models from this Korean brand, the 2016 Hyundai Elantra serves the latest interpretation of the fluidic sculpture design we’ve seen from Hyundai over the past five years.
The Hyundai Elantra visage suggests constant movement from its sporty fascia to its notched rear deck. Its pronounced grille features a lower section twice the size of the upper portion with sleek wraparound headlamps and available boomerang fog lamps also present.
Deep creases run across the hood and along the sides. Multiple profile character lines, a rising beltline and a flowing roof help bring energy to this model’s silhouette.
To the rear, this sedan is marked by curvaceous combination lamps that flow from the trunk lid to the sides of the car. A trunk lip spoiler and reflector lights are also present.
The Elantra’s designers applied the same fluidic design to the interior as they did to its exterior. The dashboard flows from side to side, with sculpting that raises the impact of the instrument panel, center console and glove box.
This sedan seats five with bolstered bucket seats up front and a 60-40 split-folding rear seat that offers access to the trunk. Interior space measures 95.6 cubic feet, which puts this model in the same class as some midsize models. The extra room benefits each occupant, as the Elantra is one of the few models in its segment that can seat five comfortably.
Scan the instrument panel and take note of the tachometer and speedometer dials, which lie on either side of a digital driver’s information center. The center console is marked by a 4.3-inch touch-screen display that includes satellite radio.
The rest of the console is composed of knobs and switches to manage heated seat controls and the climate control system. Also present is a USB port, an auxiliary input jack and a 12-volt outlet. A second 12-volt outlet appears to the right of the console.
Sensibly placed driver controls help to reduce distraction. Steering wheel-mounted controls also allow you to control the audio system and pair your phone. The cruise control switch is also present. Above the rearview mirror is a sunglasses compartment along with reading lights and a switch to manage the power sunroof.
Hyundai equips the Elantra with multiple storage compartments, including in-door pockets and beverage holders. Four cup holders and a 14.8 cubic-foot trunk are also present.
For 2016, Hyundai adds a new Value Edition that slots between the SE and Sport trims. A top-of-the-line Elantra Limited is also available. All SE, Value Edition and Limited models are powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine making 145 horsepower and 130 pound-feet of torque.
Choose the Elantra Sport and your engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 173 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque. The SE and Sport editions are paired with a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic transmission is available on these trims and standard elsewhere.
The Elantra with the standard engine is EPA-rated at up to 28/38 mpg city/highway. The Elantra Sport is EPA-rated at up to 24/35 mpg city/highway.
As tested, an Elantra Value Edition with the base engine and the automatic transmission was delivered. This vehicle provides satisfactory off-the-mark acceleration and average power on the highway. Its steering is uninvolved and its handling lacks inspiration. In other words, the Elantra performs similarly to other models in this segment. Choose the Sport trim and Hyundai promises a sport-tuned suspension with a corresponding improvement in steering.
One of Hyundai’s strong suits is technology, but to gain the full benefit of what the Elantra has to offer, you need to choose the top-end Elantra Limited. On the other hand, the base Elantra SE lacks some of the most basic technologies of our day, including Bluetooth connectivity and a touch-screen audio display with a rearview camera.
To remedy these shortfalls, consumers should carefully inspect the Value Edition, which brings in extra-value items for a low cost. Here, Bluetooth connectivity, the rearview camera and touch-screen audio are included. But you still won’t get Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system unless you order the Elantra Limited or choose it as an option on the Sport trim.
All models do come with a three-month satellite radio subscription, USB ports and an auxiliary input jack. Hyundai’s infotainment system is one of the more easy to use arrangements on the market, offering precise connectivity with your smartphone and accurate turn-by-turn directions.
The Hyundai Elantra is a Top Safety Pick as recognized by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS gave the Elantra its highest score of Good in all crash tests except the small overlap front test, where is received an Acceptable (second-highest) score.
Every Elantra model comes with a suite of air bags as well as stability control and traction control. Hill-start assist and electronic brake force distribution are also standard. A rearview camera is optional on the base trim and standard elsewhere.
Hyundai prices the base Elantra SE from $17,250 and offers the Value Edition for $19,700. The Value Edition offers a smarter starting point for this model as it includes such amenities as 16-inch alloy wheels, a power tilt-and-slide sunroof, heated front seats and proximity key with push-button start.
The Sport edition costs $20,250 and may satisfy the shopper who prefers a sportier look and an enhanced driving edge. The well-equipped Limited starts at $21,700. An Elantra Limited with the Ultimate package should carry an MSRP of $23,500 and include items like a sunroof, an upgraded audio system and navigation.
The Elantra is one of Hyundai’s oldest models, and it has steadily improved from generation to generation. Hyundai serves as a disturbing force in the industry as it brings high-end styling and premium features to the mainstream market.
The best bang for your buck may be the 2016 Elantra Value Edition, which provides many of the features of the Elantra Limited for thousands less. Besides Corolla and Civic, this model should be compared with the Ford Focus, Kia Forte, Chevrolet Cruze, Mazda3, Subaru Impreza and Volkswagen Jetta.