Used 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT Review

Edmunds expert review

Do you need some extra space from a small car but don't want a full-blown crossover or SUV? In that case, it's definitely worth checking out the 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT. This hatchback gives you plenty of cargo-carrying versatility, and its agreeable road manners and generous standard features make it pleasing to own. Ready to find out more?




What's new for 2016

For 2016, the Elantra GT receives bolder front end styling, and Hyundai says it has retuned the power steering system for better feel. The optional Tech package includes an upgraded navigation system, additional features for the Blue Link telematics system and ventilated front seats.

Vehicle overview

Hatchbacks have really hit their stride in the compact car class, as American consumers have realized the benefits of a five-passenger car with loads more cargo room than a traditional sedan. One very solid option for buyers seeking an affordable four-door hatch is the 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT. Although it's a sibling to the Elantra sedan in name, it's actually based on Hyundai's European-market i30 hatchback. Not only is it a touch sportier to drive than the sedan, it's more spacious than many rivals, and its well-built cabin is furnished with high-quality materials.

With a maximum cargo capacity of 51 cubic feet, the 2016 Elantra GT's utility is substantial. The same can be said for its cabin, which comes with a long list of standard features, including heated seats, Bluetooth audio connectivity and a built-in ionizer for the air-conditioning system. Options are grouped in a couple packages. They're pricey, but thusly equipped, the Hyundai Elantra GT offers some pretty sophisticated infotainment features. The 2016 model gets the same upgraded navigation system as the recently redesigned Sonata, and a more deluxe version of Hyundai's Blue Link system integrates Google destination search and Android (and eventually, Apple) smartwatch compatibility.

The 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT offers a substantial amount of cargo room for a small hatchback.

This Hyundai is also one of the more powerful entries in its segment, with 173 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque available from its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Matched to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, the 2016 Elantra GT offers good off-the-line acceleration and passing power, but the downside is below-average fuel economy. EPA estimates call for 27 mpg combined (24 city/33 highway) regardless of transmission. Several rivals in this class achieve 33 mpg for their combined rating and are capable of 40 or above on the highway.

Though not every automaker competing in the compact marketplace offers a hatchback body style, this segment is thick with talent. The Volkswagen Golf offers a well-judged ride and handling balance and a top-grade cabin that wouldn't look out of place in a luxury car. It's also the only hatchback in the segment with optional diesel power. The Mazda 3 is a talented all-rounder, with athletic handling, excellent real-world fuel economy and a long list of available premium features. The Ford Focus has an upscale cabin, perennially good road manners and an available 1.0-liter engine, which delivers impressive mpg and surprising performance. Meanwhile, the Kia Forte hatchback offers an available turbocharged engine with class-leading power.

You'll want to consider at least a couple of these other cars if you're shopping for a compact hatchback, but if the styling and features of the 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT speak to you, there's plenty to recommend it.




Trim levels & features

The 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT is a compact four-door hatchback available in one trim level.

Standard features include 16-inch wheels, foglights, heated mirrors, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a height-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker CD player with satellite radio, a USB/iPod input and an auxiliary audio jack.

Options are limited to two comprehensive but costly packages: Style and Tech.

The Style package incorporates 17-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, side mirrors with integrated turn signals, keyless entry and ignition, a power driver seat (with lumbar support), leather upholstery with matching leather steering wheel and shift-knob covers, and aluminum pedals. Also included is Blue Link, Hyundai's subscription-based telematics system that incorporates features like remote unlocking via a smartphone app, SOS emergency assistance, automatic crash notification and monthly vehicle health reports.

A 7-inch touchscreen is one of the numerous features included in the comprehensive Tech package.

The Tech package (available only on automatic-transmission models with the Style package) includes a 7-inch touchscreen navigation system incorporating an upgraded version of Blue Link, which enables features like remote start and Google-based destination search in addition to the previously mentioned functions. Owners of Tech package-equipped cars can also access Blue Link through either their smartphones or an Android smartwatch, including remote start (Apple Watch support will be offered later in the model year). The nav system also incorporates Siri Eyes Free voice control for Apple devices, Pandora Internet radio and a back-up camera. Other Tech package features include automatic headlights, LED taillights, dual-zone climate control, ventilated front seats and a panoramic sunroof.



Performance & mpg

Motivating the front-wheel-drive 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 173 hp and 154 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automatic is optional.

The EPA estimates fuel economy for the Elantra GT at 27 mpg combined (24 city/33 highway) regardless of transmission. For a compact hatchback, these are below-average figures.

Safety

Standard safety features for the 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag.

A rearview camera is included in the optional Tech package. Also optional is Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system, which also provides services such as theft recovery, recall advisor and geo-fencing (allowing parents to set limits for teenage drivers). Note that availability of the geo-fencing and valet alert features is delayed on the newer version of Blue Link (Tech package).

In Edmunds brake testing, the Elantra GT came to a stop from 60 mph in 123 feet, about average for this class.

In government crash testing, the Elantra GT earned a five-star rating for overall crash protection, with four stars for overall frontal impact safety and five stars for side-impact crash protection.

Driving

With its relatively powerful engine and available sport-tuned suspension, the Hyundai Elantra GT should deliver capable acceleration and sure-footed handling. Hyundai has revised the car's power steering system for 2016 to improve road feel, and the Elantra GT remains one of the only cars in its class with driver-adjustable modes for steering effort. Although we have yet to test the 2016 model, we will update this review once we have.

For drivers with less sporting ambitions, the Elantra GT's base suspension should satisfy with its agreeable ride and respectable dynamics. Long-distance commuters will find the Elantra GT particularly appealing, as it rides like a larger, plusher car.

Interior

The Elantra GT's cabin is bright and airy, in stark contrast to some other cars in the segment, and its doors close with a distinctly European thump. Like the standard Elantra, the GT's interior is well constructed with solid materials and high-quality controls. Unlike the Elantra sedan, however, the GT's dash largely forgoes the futuristic design touches, favoring straightforward controls and readouts instead. The available navigation system is simple to use and the audio system is far easier to control via the touchscreen.

A fully loaded Elantra GT includes high-end features such as ventilated seats, dual-zone climate control and a panoramic sunroof.

Most drivers should find a comfortable driving position, though the optional power driver seat offers more adjustments. The GT's rear seats are spacious for two adults, and there's more headroom than in the Elantra sedan thanks to the high hatchback roof line. Taller drivers will find that the optional panoramic sunroof eats into valuable headroom, but everyone else will appreciate the natural light it brings into the cabin.

Behind the rear seats, the cargo area can accommodate up to 23 cubic feet of stuff, which is generous compared to other hatchbacks. Those seatbacks flip forward to provide 51 cubic feet of maximum capacity, an excellent showing for a car of this type.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.