The Elantra has been a huge part of Hyundai’s evolution from a throwaway company in the early 1990s to a legit contender in the mid-2010s. As we enter the 2016 model year, the Elantra has earned its stripes and is now cross-shopped against the likes of the Focus, Golf, and Mazda3. For the 2016 model year, Hyundai decided to give the Elantra GT – the hatchback version – a mild refresh.

Hyundai revamped the nose of the Elantra GT, and added some technical gadgets and gizmos in an attempt to keep buyers flocking to Hyundai dealers instead of Nissan, Volkswagen, or Ford.

Are these updated looks and new options enough to keep the Elantra in the top-four in sales for 2015?

Click past the jump to read my full review and find out.

  • 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    6-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    173 @ 6500
  • MPG(Cty):
    24
  • MPG(Hwy):
    33
  • Torque @ RPM:
    154 @ 4700
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    8 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    18800
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Hyundai Elantra GT High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Hyundai Elantra GT High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Hyundai Elantra GT High Resolution Exterior
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This gives the Elantra GT a more mature and refined look, something the brand has been spreading across its entire lineup.

For 2016, Hyundai gave the Elantra a pretty hefty nose job, eliminating the dual-element grille with the crossbar and installing a unit that uses horizontal slats from top to bottom. Additionally, the grille gets a angular outline, replacing last year’s rounded edges. This gives the Elantra GT a more mature and refined look, something the brand has been spreading across its entire lineup.

That new grille works very well with the rest of the Elantra’s body, which carries over unchanged otherwise. The only other change of note is the new set of 17-inch wheels in what Hyundai calls a “euroflange” design.

On a whole, the Elantra GT remains as sporty and stylish as it was last year, thanks to its sharp body lines, chrome beltline, and optional LED taillights. It’s just a little more refined than it was before.

2015 Elantra GT vs. 2016 Elantra GT

2016 Hyundai Elantra GT
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Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase 104.3 Inches
Overall length 169.3 Inches
Overall width 70.1 Inches
Overall height 57.9 Inches
Tread Width (front/rear) 16”: 61.0/61.5 Inches
17”: 61.0/61.5 Inches
Overhang 34.6/30.3
Minimum Ground Clearance 5.5
Coefficient of Drag 0.30

Interior

2016 Hyundai Elantra GT Interior
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2016 Hyundai Elantra GT Interior
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2016 Hyundai Elantra GT Interior
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Other than those options, the Elantra GT continues to offer the same, spacious cabin it always has.

On the inside, the changes to the 2016 Elantra GT are limited to optional equipment. These include ventilated front seats, an available next-gen navigation system with HD radio and Siri, and a next-generation Blue Link system with remote start, climate control, and destination search.

Other than those options, the Elantra GT continues to offer the same, spacious cabin it always has. This includes 96 cubic feet of passenger space for its five occupants and 51 cubes of maximum cargo room. Despite being right in the middle of its class in terms of cargo and passenger room, the Elantra GT leads the class in front and rear shoulder room.

The Elantra GT also has plenty of room for all the odds and ends, including a sunglasses holder, front and rear cup holders, door-panel bottle holders, a cooled glove box, a good-sized center console storage area, a front storage tray, and front seatback pockets.

On upscale trim levels, the Elantra GT also gets plenty of high-end equipment, including a 7-inch touchscreen and dual-zone climate control. What’s more, heated seats are included in all Elantra GT models, as is a 172-watt audio system with AM/FM/SiriusXM capabilities and Bluetooth streaming audio.

Interior Dimensions

Head room
Front 40.1 Inches
Rear 37.9 Inches
Leg room
Front 42.0 Inches
Rear 34.6 Inches
Shoulder room
Front 55.9 Inches
Rear 54.9 Inches
Hip room
Front 53.1 Inches
Rear 51.0 Inches

Drivetrain

2016 Hyundai Elantra GT Drivetrain
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EPA testing puts the 2016 Elantra GT at a not-too-hot 24 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined.

Powering the 2,904-pound Elantra GT is the same 2.0-liter Nu GDI engine that delivers 173 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 154 pound-feet of twist at 4,700 rpm. This engine has been slightly reworked to deliver better torque between 4,000 and 5,500 rpm, to help out when merging into highway traffic.

The engine mates to a standard six-speed manual transmission or the optional Shiftronic auto transmission with manual mode, to deliver power to the front wheels. I have a Kia Forte 5 with the same auto transmission, and I can say that I have used the manual mode only a handful of times, and see no benefit to it. The programming of the automatic shifts seems superior to the manual mode.

EPA testing puts the 2016 Elantra GT at a not-too-hot 24 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined. These numbers are pretty subpar for the class, but I have noted that my Forte 5 with the same drivetrain typically hovers closer to the 30 mpg combined mark. Since getting in some hot water with the EPA for inaccurate test results, Kia and Hyundai both have been understating their mpg ratings a bit, so you might see better mpg in the real world.

In most testing, the 2015 Hyundai Elantra GT and Kia Forte 5 sprinted to 60 mph in the eight-second range, and I expect this to remain the same in the 2016 model year.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type DOHC D-CVVT (Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing)
Materials Aluminum block and head
Displacement 2.0L / 1,999 cc
Horsepower (estimated) 173 HP @ 6,500 RPM (ULEV)
Torque (estimated) 154 LB-FT @ 4,700 RPM (ULEV)
Valves per cylinder 4
Bore & stroke 81.0 x 97.0 (mm)
Compression Ratio 11.5:1
Fuel economy 6-speed manual: 24 mpg/33mpg/27mpg
6-speed automatic: 24mpg/33mpg/27mpg

Braking and Handling

2016 Hyundai Elantra GT High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Carrying over from last year, and one of my favorite parts of the Forte 5 and Elantra GT, is the Driver Selectable Steering Mode.

The Elantra GT doesn’t just look sportier than its sedan sibling, its suspension is tuned to feel a little livelier too. I am not saying it’s a hot-hatch, but it is a little more fun to drive.

The GT’s suspension includes a 22 mm front stabilizer bar to help tone down the body roll, higher spring rates, a stiffer twist beam, and retuned Sachs dampers. The suspension’s playfulness is transmitted to the road by an eager set of 215/45R17 tires.

Carrying over from last year, and one of my favorite parts of the Forte 5 and Elantra GT, is the Driver Selectable Steering Mode. This allows the driver to choose from three preset steering modes — normal, comfort, and sport – depending on preferences and driving conditions. While normal mode is, well, normal, comfort loosens things up a bit and reduces feedback through the wheel. Sport, on the other hand, tightens the steering significantly and delivers more feedback for a better connection to the road.

Prices

2016 Hyundai Elantra GT Emblems and Logo Exterior
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The 2016 Elantra GT will start from $18,800, plus $825 freight charge, and head upward from there. Moving into the automatic transmission jump the base price up to $19,800.

Pricing Details

Model Price
Elantra GT 6-speed manual $18,800
Elantra GT 6-speed automatic $19,800

Packages

GT M/T Style Package $1,975
GT A/T Style Package $1,975
GT A/T Tech Package $3,950

Options

First aid kit FK $30
Cargo net CN $50
Wheel locks WL $55
Rear bumper appliqué RP $70
Mudguards MG $95
Cargo tray CT $95
Carpeted floor mats CF $125
Luggage box kit LB $145
Lower checker flag graphic GC $195
Auto-dimming mirror with Homelink® HL $275
Cross rails RC $295
Remote engine start RK $350

Competition

Mazda3 Hatchback

2014 Mazda3 Hatchback High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Mazda3 is far and away the sportiest and sexiest hatchback available today, and few would argue with me on that.

In the engine department, the Mazda has a few benefits over the Hyundai, but also one shortcoming. You can choose between two engines with the 3. First up is the standard 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G engine with 155 horses and 150 pound-feet of torque. Sure this is far less powerful than the standard Elantra GT, but its 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway rating crush the Hyundai. The optional engine is the 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G, which trumps the Hyundai at 184 horsepower and 185-pound-feet of torque, and it still beats it with EPA ratings as high as 28 mpg city and 39 mpg highway with the optional i-ELOOP system.

The Mazda also hangs tough with the Hyundai in pricing, as it bases at just $18,945, but it peaks much higher, at $26,495 for the fully loaded s Grand Touring trim.

Ford Focus Hatchback

2014 Ford Focus Exterior
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For 2015, the Focus gets a new front end as well. Like the Elantra GT’s new face, this gives the Focus a more mature appearance. I am still deciding if the looks suits the youthful attitude of the Focus, but that decision is in the eye of the beholder.

Under the Focus’ hood is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that puts down 160 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. Doing the sifting is a five-speed manual or a six-speed PowerShift (read: dual-clutch) transmission that delivers power to the front wheels. With the auto transmission, the 2015 Focus delivers 27 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, while the manual checks in with 26 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. Optional on the Focus is a 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder that turns in 123 ponies and 148 pound-feet of twist. This engine mates exclusively to a six-cog manual and delivers 29 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.

Ford also offers electric and ST versions of the Focus, but those compete in their own distinct classes so aren’t considered here.

The Focus Hatchback starts out at $18,960 and climbs to $23,670 in its range-topping Titanium trim.

Conclusion

2016 Hyundai Elantra GT High Resolution Exterior
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The Hyundai Elantra GT is a great car, but it definitely has its flaws. The biggest of its flaws is that its price is so close to those of the Mazda3 and the Focus. Sure, the brand has come a long way in recent years, but pricing it along with the big boys of the segment is rather brave. That said, this refresh does give the Elantra a bolder and more-refined look that may help buyers look beyond the emblem on the hood and hatch. Additionally, at its base price, the Elantra has many more premium features than any of its competitors.

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    Press Release

    Today at the Chicago Auto Show, Hyundai Motor America introduced a refreshed Elantra GT for the 2016 model year, offering updated styling with customer-focused technology and features. With a more distinctive front fascia and all-new 17” alloy wheels, Elantra GT’s new look further enhances the vehicle’s signature sporty styling. And when mated to a standard 2.0-liter Gasoline Direct Injection engine, the formula comes together to deliver a vehicle that both looks and feels dynamic. Elantra GT’s acclaimed sporty styling, crisp handling and spacious interior won’t break the bank either, as 2016 Elantra GT pricing will start at just $18,800, excluding $825 freight charge, and will be available in dealerships starting this March.

    2016 Hyundai Elantra GT High Resolution Exterior
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    STANDARD 2.0-LITER NU GASOLINE DIRECT INJECTION ENGINE
    The 2016 Elantra GT comes standard with a 2.0-liter Nu engine mated to the choice of either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC® manual shift control. Fuel is delivered by a high-pressure Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) system, which helps improve engine response compared to non-GDI models. A shorter, more direct path of fuel delivery allows for greater control of the fuel mixture, thus improving efficiency. The fuel is injected by a camshaft-driven, high pressure pump that operates at pressures up to 2,175 psi. Direct injection also utilizes a higher than normal 11.5:1 compression ratio for increased power. The pistons are “dished” to increase combustion efficiency in the cylinder. This high-tech, all-aluminum engine also has Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (DCVVT) and a Variable Induction System (VIS) for better engine breathing. A lightweight intake manifold also reduces weight by 30 percent over a cast unit. Power is rated at 173 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 154 lb.-ft. of torque at a 4,700 rpm. The 2.0-liter Nu has been tuned to provide more torque at 1,500 rpm than the 1.8-liter Nu previously available on the Elantra GT and currently available on the Elantra Sedan. The engine also produces more torque - from 4,000 rpm to 5,500 rpm - for impressive linear power delivery all the way to redline. The engine delivers an impressive EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 24 mpg city/33 mpg highway/27 mpg.

    ‘FLUIDIC SCULPTURE’ DESIGN LANGUAGE

    Hyundai is known for its defining and distinctive ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ design language. The ‘Fluidic’ essence provides the Elantra GT with a slippery .30 coefficient of drag. Everything about Elantra GT is aerodynamic from the aggressive profile and low overall height, to the sleek side mirrors. Tire gaps are minimized while rocker panels are streamlined. Lower wind resistance translates into a smoother and quieter ride.

    2016 Hyundai Elantra GT High Resolution Exterior
- image 617131

    Up front, Elantra GT’s revised front grille adds a distinctive and assertive look more consistent with Hyundai’s newer models. Its sporty look is further complemented with wrap-around headlamps and sculptured hood creases. The body-side graphic features a chrome beltline molding to keep up with the sleek character lines. Sharp projector headlamps, available fog lights and all-new 17-inch euroflange alloy wheels complete the modern design. It’s all finished off in the rear with available LED taillights.

    LOW CURB WEIGHT
    Elantra GT’s widespread use of high-strength steel results in a lower curb weight and allows the suspension to work optimally. At 2,904 pounds, the automatic transmission Elantra GT is lighter than most of its competitors, while offering more interior room than Focus, Mazda3 and Golf. Elantra GT is 44 pounds lighter than Focus and 119 pounds lighter than Golf 5-door.

    SIX-SPEED TRANSMISSIONS
    The Elantra GT can be equipped with a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC® manual shift mode. The six-speed automatic includes an overdrive lock-up torque converter for higher fuel economy at freeway speeds. Elantra GT’s six-speed manual transmission provides short, crisp shifts and further optimizes engine performance thanks to triple-cone synchronizers for first and second gears, double-cone for third gear and single-cone for fourth, fifth and sixth gears. Also, an upshift indicator in the instrument panel identifies the ideal shift points to save fuel.

    INTERIOR SPACE AND PRACTICALITY

    Maximizing interior volume and delighting customers with various seating layouts are hallmarks of Hyundai engineering and translate into more cabin room, cargo space and versatility. The Elantra GT features seating layouts that can comfortably seat five people or accommodate four passengers, plus long items like golf clubs or snowboards. Drivers may opt to fold down two seats to seat three people and hold larger packages or fold down all of the back seats to get CUV-sized cargo space. The rear seats can fold completely flat by first folding the lower seat cushion upward. These options allow customers to discover that Elantra GT has more interior volume than Mazda3, Ford Focus and VW Golf and even more cargo capacity than the Nissan Juke crossover, thanks to the fold-flat rear seats. Elantra GT also features the best front and rear shoulder room in its class.

    2016 Hyundai Elantra GT High Resolution Exterior
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    The Elantra GT includes a number of convenient, standard stowage and storage features, including a sunglasses holder, two front and two rear cup holders, door bottle holders, cooled glove compartment, central console storage, sliding armrest, front storage tray and front seatback pockets. The cargo area also has a 12-volt outlet for passengers who desire to plug in their portable electronic devices.

    RIDE AND HANDLING
    Elantra GT is fitted with a MacPherson strut front suspension with coil springs and gas shock absorbers. The rear suspension is comprised of a lightweight coupled torsion beam for enhanced steering stability and monotube shock absorbers. A 22mm diameter front stabilizer bar helps reduce body roll when cornering. Elantra GT is tuned for added feel, responsiveness and control, while the Elantra Sedan is tuned for comfort. Modifications to the GT include higher rear spring rates, a stiffer twist beam and Sachs dampers for improved body motion control. These changes create driving dynamics which are sporty and comfortable. In addition, two suspension packages were developed to optimize tuning for the two different tire sizes. The Elantra GT’s Style package offers a sportier suspension calibration that is optimized for its lower-profile P215/45R17 tire.

    Behind the wheel, drivers benefit from Hyundai’s Driver Selectable Steering Mode, which has been enhanced with a 32-bit processing system and tuned for better steering feel for the 2016 model year. With three operating modes to select – Comfort, Normal and Sport – this innovative system allows drivers to adapt Elantra GT steering characteristics to varying driving preferences and road conditions any time they choose. ‘Comfort’ offers the greatest ease of steering and is ideal for city and parking environments. ‘Sport’ is optimized for higher-speed highways or winding roads, while ‘Normal’ is ideal for a mix of driving conditions. The Driver Selectable Steering Mode adjusts power assistance levels in each mode and moderates on-center feel and steering build-up curves throughout the steering range, allowing for a very natural, progressive feel. Steering damping characteristics, active return gain and high frequency friction levels have also been optimized for Elantra GT in this system. Even more, Elantra GT’s turning diameter of 34.8 feet is better than Focus and Golf.

    OVERALL DIMENSIONS
    Elantra GT rides on a 104.3-inch wheelbase and has an overall length of 169.3 inches. The height is 57.9 inches and the width is 70.1 inches.

    2016 Hyundai Elantra GT High Resolution Exterior
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    CABIN REFINEMENT
    Cabin refinements on the Elantra GT are inspired by the high standards of the entire Hyundai lineup. Located in the center console, the available all-new navigation system is displayed via a seven-inch touch-screen and incorporates the rearview camera screen. Elantra GT’s rear-view camera is like no other. This mechanized camera is hidden behind the Hyundai badge on the rear hatch and only appears when needed.

    Dual-zone climate controls ensure a comfortable environment for all occupants, and the addition of a panoramic sunroof provides increased natural light within the cabin. The dual-zone climate controls also incorporate an automatic defogging system, which detects humidity levels using a sensor and activates the system accordingly. Another premium feature in the Elantra GT is a CleanAir Ionizer that automatically cleans the air when the heater or air conditioner is running.

    For the 2016 model year, both driver and passenger can enjoy the comfort of the segment’s first ventilated front seats available in the Tech Package. Heated seats are standard on all trims of Elantra GT.

    AUDIO AND NAVIGATION SYSTEM
    Elantra GT comes standard with a 172-watt AM/FM/SiriusXM Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system with six-speakers and iPod®/USB/auxiliary input jacks. A Bluetooth interface is also standard. The system plays CDs, accesses digital music files via Bluetooth streaming audio or allows driver and passenger to access their personal listening devices through the iPod/USB/auxiliary inputs.

    2016 Hyundai Elantra GT High Resolution Exterior
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    The Elantra GT with the Tech Package now includes Hyundai’s next-generation AVN 4.0 navigation system, the same platform praised by experts and found in Hyundai’s latest models like the all-new Genesis and Sonata. The 7-inch multi-touch display features HD radio® technology with multicasting, SiriusXM Travel Link , SiriusXM Traffic, downloadable and pre-installed apps such as Pandora®. iPhone® users will also be able to quickly access the system’s built-in Siri “Eyes Free” integration with a long-press of the voice command button on the steering wheel. A split-screen interface allows map and music information to be displayed at the same time on the home screen. The system also supports the latest SiriusXM feature set, including the recording of SiriusXM presets 1-6 for rewinding up to 22 minutes of live radio to listen to the full song or catch up on a sports broadcast. SiriusXM Travel Link® provides access to traffic information, sports scores, weather, stock prices, fuel prices and local movie times.

    SAFETY FEATURES
    Elantra GT features the latest active and passive safety technologies to ensure maximum protection for its occupants, including Daytime Running Lights, ESC (Electronic Stability Control), ABS (anti-lock braking system) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist and VSM (Vehicle Stability Management. Seven airbags - front, side and curtain including a driver’s knee airbag - are standard.

    2016 Hyundai Elantra GT High Resolution Exterior
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    CONNECTED CARE AND HYUNDAI BLUE LINK®
    Elantra GT is equipped with Hyundai’s Blue Link® safety, service and infotainment telematics system. For the 2016 model year, Elantra GT also makes available the next-generation Blue Link system for buyers that opt for the Tech Package. This next-generation Blue Link system adds new features and convenience to the long list of features the system is known for. This includes Remote Start with Climate Control and Destination Search powered by Google™. Customers will soon also be able to access these features from the convenience of a smart watch, as recently announced by Hyundai at the 2015 Consumer Electronic Show. In addition to these features and services, all Blue Link-equipped 2016 Elantra GT models come with one year of complimentary Blue Link Connected Care. Connected Care is a suite of safety and car care features providing Hyundai owners with services including Automatic Collision Notification, SOS Emergency Assistance, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, monthly vehicle health reporting and maintenance alerts.

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