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HEELS ON WHEELS: 2016 HYUNDAI ELANTRA GT REVIEW


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HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

INTRO TO THE ELANTRA VEHICLE Refreshed for 2016, Hyundai’s sporty Elantra is a distinct choice in the hatchback segment for its styling and customer-focused technology. Also available as a compact sedan, coupe and hatchback, drivers can pair performance with a low price.

I drove a 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback version with the 173-horsepower 2-liter Nu engine with a six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC. Available in one trim, standard equipment includes: premium cloth upholstery; steering-wheel mounted controls; sliding center armrest; a six-speaker audio system; Bluetooth; iPod and USB input jacks; XM Radio; Hyundai Blue Link telematics; heated front seats; driver selectable steering mode; fog lights; and a rear spoiler. Price as described comes to $19,800.

This hatchback replaces the Elantra Touring wagon and is designed to deliver more nimble handling than the sedan and coupe version. Main competitors with admirable guts and a savvy interior include the Ford Focus and the Mazda family. For added charm, check out the MINI Cooper and Volkswagen Golf.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: The Elantra hatchback comes with lots of nice extras other carmakers usually bill you for, like a rear spoiler, heated seats and a smartphone connectivity system. The grille has been revised for the model year and optional ventilated seats are new. All-new connectivity features include Remote Start with Climate Control and Destination Search Powered by Google. Hyundai has done some reshuffling over the years of packages, with my test drive featuring the $1,975 Style Package (seventeen-inch wheels, fog lights, sport-tuned suspension) and the $3,950 Tech Package (panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, seven-inch navigation touchscreen, rearview camera, push-button start). The sedan version is offered in four trim levels – the base SE, Value Edition, Sport and Limited.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the sedan model a Top Safety Pick rating. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the hatchback version an overall rating of 5-Stars. Standard safety equipment includes electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, traction control, anti-lock brakes, brake assist, and an advanced airbag system. There are no additional safety technology options like blind spot monitoring.

Cost Issues: The total cost of my Elantra with both packages came to a reasonable $26,675 with delivery charges. The larger Mazda6 sedan with SKACTIV-G 184-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine starts at $21,495 with a recent Grand Touring test drive at $30,195.

Activity & Performance Ability: I’ve cited the Elantra GT for having lackluster handling and acceleration and generally being too tame to call sporty or aggressive. Hyundai has revised the power steering for a better road feel, and it does overall ride like a larger vehicle. Yet put up against Mazda’s SKACTIV-G technology, it tends to drive less spirited.

The Green Concern: The 2-liter four-cylinder engine has a fuel economy of 24 miles-per-gallon city and 33 highway for a combined 27. Again you have another strong pro for going with the Mazda6: the 184-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder delivers a fuel economy of 26-city and 38-highway for a combined 30 miles-per-gallon. Combined with Mazda’s i-stop idling stop system and i-ELOOP brake energy regeneration system, you can reach 32 miles-per-gallon.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
The revised 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT is a value-oriented hatchback with some aggressive traits, but can lose its appeal when pitted next to the Mazda family. Nevertheless, you’ll love the price and be able to afford the packaging upgrades.

©2015 Katrina Ramser

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