REVIEW: 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT – Upscale Agility

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The Hyundai Elantra GT has dramatic styling and a deluxe feel. It has more sport in the looks than in the driving, but the hatchback Elantra is still worth a look.


Last year, we drove an Elantra GT with a manual transmission. This 2016 came with the $1,000 automatic, along with the Style and Tech packages.

The $1,975 Style package has these new-for-2016 wheels. They’re 17-inchers as before, and they’re simpler and less shiny this time around. They’re attached to the Style package’s sport suspension.


The Style package also includes the aluminum pedeals…


…the power driver’s seat with power lumbar support…


…fog lights…


…a proximity-sensing key with push-button start…


…and storage bins under the cargo floor, among other features.


Then add the $3,690 Tech package, and you get big-ticket items, like the panoramic moonroof…


…automatic headlights and LED tail lights…


…and dual automatic climate control and ventilated seats, along with next-generation Blue Link telematics and navigation, and more.


Tastefully textured floor mats are an extra $125.


Hyundai‘s styling concept of “fluidic sculpture” is present in the Elantra GT’s curvy lines…


…and they integrate reasonably well with Hyundai‘s new corporate grille design, which is flatter and squarer than what came before.


Under the hood is the same 173-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine as before. It’s a fine motivator, with ample torque and enough thrust for passing.

This engine has a bit less fluidity in its operation than the body has in its curves – it can sound grumbly when you cane it.


After driving the manual Elantra GT, the six-speed automatic can feel a little tame – it seems to dampen off-the-line launches. Otherwise it kept things moving, with quick downshifts and none of the elastic responses that some competitors have in their CVT transmissions.

Interestingly, the automatic Elantra GT posts the same EPA mileage ratings as the manual – 27 mpg overall.

Also interesting is that the larger, mid-sized Sonata gets better mileage – 30 mpg overall – even with its larger 2.4-liter four.


The sport suspension that comes with the Style package minimizes body roll while giving a decently smooth ride, with only occasional harsh impacts.

Standard on all Elantra GTs is Hyundai‘s neat adjustable steering effort. The three levels are accurately represented by their names – Comfort, Normal and Sport. Sport is notably stiffer than the others, and dialing it to Comfort makes the Elantra GT easy to flick around the city.


Inside, the Elantra feels cozy and comfortable.


The ventilated seats were a true boon in the summer heat. If you typically drive with a sweaty back, then this feature alone might be enough to pull you into an Elantra.

Taller drivers will appreciate the range of adjustment in tipping up the bottom cushion for additional thigh support.


The rear seat has less than 35 inches of legroom, which limits the feeling of roominess.


The seatbacks split and fold, although they don’t land completely flat.


Outboard rear passengers have handy map lights in the ceiling above.


Another nicety is the sliding front center armrest, which redeems its rubbery feel with a broad platform of support.


Up in front are two bins, each of which can accommodate a large smartphone.


Fit and finish is generally impressive. The Elantra GT follows the redesigned Tucson in having as one of its upgrades an instrument-panel cap that’s padded and stitched.


Door panels are well-padded and tightly assembled.


Overall, the Elantra GT is a pleasant and sensible compact hatchback, and it has extra doses of styling and luxury, depending on how deeply you delve into the options list.

We’d like to see more of its provocative styling filter into the driving experience, a point which was made clearer with the automatic. With the manual, you’re more in charge of keeping the engine in its happy mid-range, just under its rougher highs. There’s less of that flexibility with the automatic, and that ends up blunting the Elantra’s responsiveness a bit.

Still, with manual transmissions having such a low take rate, Hyundai has done well in cooking up an auto-trans package that feels agile as it provides features that are appealing and luxurious.


Tell us in the comments – what do YOU think of the Elantra GT?

2016 Hyundai Elantra GT

Base Price: $19,800

Price As Tested: $26,675


Style Package: $1,975
17-Inch Alloy Wheels With P215/45R17 Tires
Front Fog Lights
Sport-Tuned Suspension
Exterior Mirrors With Turn Signal Indicators
Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel And Shift Knob
Power Driver’s Seat With Power Lumbar Support
Aluminum Pedals
Driver Auto-Up Window
Under Floor Storage
Proximity Key Entry With Push Button Start And Immobilizer
Hyundai Blue Link Telematics System
Blue Link Connected Care Complimentary Trial

Tech Package: $3,690
Panoramic Sunroof
Leather Seating Surfaces
LED Tail Lights
Ventilated Front Seats
Navigation System With 7-inch Touchscreen
SiriusXM Travel Link Complimentary Trial
Rearview Camera
Automatic Headlights
Dual Automatic Temperature Control
Hyundai Blue Link Telematics System

Carpeted Floor Mats: $125

Destination Charge: $825