2016 Hyundai Elantra road test and review
HYUNDAI has freshened up it small sedan offering, giving the Elantra a distinctive new look, redesigning the chassis, improving the ride and handling and furnishing it with the creature comforts buyers of modern cars demand.
The range comprises two variants - the Active and Elite - both with a new 2.0-litre petrol engine which delivers more power than the outgoing 1.8-litre unit and more torque low down in the band too.
The entry-level Active has the choice of either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission with the Elite available as an auto only.
The interior of this new Elantra is unmistakably similar to that of the recently released Tucson and Sonata with the centre stack angled slightly toward the driver and controls and instruments grouped in a user-friendly fashion.
The console itself is simple in design with a few brush metal and piano black highlights adding some contrast to the hardish plastics.
This Elantra is slightly wider and longer than its predecessor making for more shoulder and headroom even in the rear where you could fit three adults in some comfort provided the journey is on the shorter side.
The seats are comfortable enough with good under-thigh hold with the leather offerings in the top-specced Elite noticeably more sculpted and supportive.
Storage is often on the tick sheet when choosing a car these days and the Elantra is well equipped in this regard with sensible usable options throughout the cabin and a 458-litre cargo area amongst the most sizeable in this class. The boot mouth is quite narrow though and loading in larger objects may be a bit tricky.
On the road
Hyundai's engineers, abroad and locally, have spent much of the development time on the Elantra's suspension set-up which combined with a stiffer stronger chassis, makes for a more supple, compliant and smoother driving experience.
The front suspension sports a new sub-frame optimised to target noise, vibration and harshness while at the rear, the dampers have been lengthened and repositioned to be vertically aligned with the wheel. All this brings an improvement to ride comfort and confidence on a variety of surfaces.
This new Elantra certainly feels better on the road - more grounded, nicely balanced and maintaining poise into and out of the corners.
The steering is a bit too light offering limited feedback but that is hardly a factor in the urban environment in which this car will be driven. It is easy to negotiate, easy to park and composed over ruts and bumps even making light work of a section of gravel road during our launch drive.
While there is little difference in the makeup of the variants on offer except perhaps for the wheels and tyres, the ride in the Elite certainly appears smoother, more defined and for our money probably worth the extra cash. When asked to do the heavy lifting the six-speed auto gearbox can be a bit over zealous, whining its intent as it shifts too quickly up the range and spoiling the experience. Shift the auto into manual mode though and the Elantra appears a much improved and far more capable proposition.
What do you get?
The inclusions list offers a generosity beyond this price range with the Active standard with reverse camera with rear parking assist, LED daytime running lights with dusk sensing headlights, 7-inch colour infotainment touch screen with Bluetooth capability and Apple CarPlay, steering-wheel mounted controls, hill-start assist, 16-inch alloys and front fog lights.
The Elite adds proximity smart key with push button start, rain-sensing wipers, rear seat cooling vents, dual-zone climate control, electric folding mirrors and courtesy lights, leather trim, smart boot, 17-inch alloys and chrome radiator grille. Safety is five-star with six airbags, traction and stability control, ABS with EBD and brake assist.
Official figures are at 7.2l/100km for the auto and 7.1l/100km for the manual. The Elantra is also backed by Hyundai's 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, lifetime service plan and roadside assist for 12 months.
The biggest threat in this segment comes from the Toyota Corolla sedan (from $20,740), Mazda3 sedan (from $20,490) and Holden Cruze sedan (from $19,890).
Hyundai expects most Elantra buyers will be couples with older children or older couples who don't like hatches and SUVs and are possibly sizing up or down. To this end this car given its combination of spacious interior, good inclusions and comfortable drive makes much sense.
Metallic paint is some $500 more and you will need to hand that over should you want any colour except white. It would also be nice to have rear air vents and a smart boot that allows hands-free entry into the boot in the Active variant too.
The Elantra now shows off Hyundai's new hexagonal front grille with slim line projector beam headlights. Air curtains below the grille, a redesigned lower rear bumper spoiler and longer bootlid help with the aerodynamics of the car.
Look, the Elantra is not going to get the heart racing but it is a nicely sculpted inoffensive design that you can take anywhere.
Elantra has been part of the Hyundai landscape for 25 years and this sixth-generation model not only pays homage to that history but goes a fair way to ensuring it will factor in small car choices for a while yet.
It is a comfortable drive in a comfortable car offered at a comfortable price: a value proposition for those shopping this segment.
What matters most
What we liked: Comfortable ride, good inclusions.
What we'd like to see: Less whiny auto gearbox, smart boot and air vents across range.
Warranty and Servicing: five years unlimited kilometre warranty and capped price servicing.
Model: 2016 Hyundai Elantra.
Details: Five-door front-wheel drive small sedan.
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol generating maximum power of 112kW @ 6200rpm and peak torque of 192Nm @ 4000rpm.
Transmissions: Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
Consumption: 7.1 litres/100km combined in manual and 7.2l/100km for auto.
Bottom line plus on roads: Active - $21,490 (manual) and $23,790 (auto); Elite - $26,490.