Tom Crosby: Hyundai launches new 2016 Elantra Value Edition
The compact Elantra sedan is Hyundai’s best-selling vehicle and for 2016 Hyundai created a new Value Edition before launching the second generation 2017 Elantra later this year.
The Value Edition squeezes in above the SE and below the Limited and Sport trims. It comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, sunroof, a proximity key that unlocks doors as you approach, heated front seats, side mirror turn signals and a tilt/telescopic steering wheel necessary with manual seat adjustments.
The Value Edition keeps Elantra’s awarding winning “Fluidic Sculpture” design – first introduced in 2011 – and adds chrome molding on the rising beltline and aluminum molding on door entrance sills. It’s eye-candy appeal continues with creased character lines, striking front fascia with cats-eye headlights, chrome-rimmed tear-drop designed fog lights and a smirking lower front grill. It’s easily the best-looking five-passenger sedan in a highly competitive market.
Our test-drive Value Edition started out wallet-friendly with a $19,700 base price and $1,000 Value discount but added 13 mostly minor port-installed options pushing the final out-of-pocket price to $22,390 – still less expensive than many competitors equipped with similar features. Missing with the Value Edition were navigation and safety options available only with Limited or Sport trims.
Elantras score top or next-to-top safety ratings in government and insurance crash testing. Handling felt solid, with the ride slightly rough but not disconcerting. The 1.8-liter engine felt underpowered on takeoff but adequate for moderate highway passing. The power trade-off was excellent mileage – nearly 400 miles on one tank-full with 60-40 city/highway driving.
Inside the cabin, the Elantra feels like a mid-size vehicle with ample space for all occupants, although rear-seating headroom might challenge taller adults.
Interior sound was noticeably muted. Nice touches included a small convex mirror mitigating the driver’s left side blind spot, numerous knick knack spaces such as a covered space with an EV outlet under the dashboard perfect for charging a cell-phone and small storage trays embedded in the front doors above generously sized map/drink pockets.
Trunk space is pleasantly ample with low lift-over and includes a tire-repair kit.
Interior materials are grained for a better feel and look, the dashboard touch-screen is a smallish 4.3-inches with back-up camera but it works well with tuning knobs for good-sounding audio that includes a 90-day free trial of Satellite radio.
The 2016 Elantra has received the highest ranking for initial quality from J.D. Power.
LIKE: Stylish look, mileage, price, space, quiet.
DISLIKE: Lack of power, option needs, small dashboard screen
BOTTOM LINE: Perfect beginner car for family with top safety ratings
HYUNDAI ELANTRA VALUE EDITION 2016
Base price w/destination fee $20,525 ($22,390 as tested)
Curb weight 2,818-2,943 lbs.
Wheelbase 106.3 inches
Length 179.1 inches
Width 69.9 inches
Engine specs (gas) 1.8-liter, 4 cylinder, DOHC w/VVT
Horsepower 145-hp @ 6,500 rpm
Torque 130 lbs.-ft. @ 4,700 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic w/SHIFTRONIC
EPA Rating 28 mpg city and 38 mpg highway
Range 12.8-gallon tank
Performance 0-60 in just under 9 seconds
Tom Crosby is a former journalist and communications director for AAA Carolinas. He has been reviewing cars since 1996, and has been active in traffic safety issues for more than 30 years.