List Price Estimate
$742 - $1,753

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

The Excel is long dead, and it's time to stop thinking of Hyundai as a second-rate automobile manufacturer. Last year, the Accent and Sonata provided a strong hint that this South Korean automaker was finally learning how to build a good car. This all-new 1996 Elantra provides the proof. Larger and more powerful than the first-generation Elantra, this new car offers quite a bit of bang-for-your-buck in either sedan or new-for-1996 wagon bodystyle.

Under the hood is a 130-horsepower 1.8-liter Hyundai-designed "Beta" engine, which produces 90 percent of its torque at 2,300 rpm, resulting in snappy around town performance. Riding on a four-wheel independent suspension, the new Elantra features a longer wheelbase and wider track, which contributes to smoother, more stable handling. An all-new speed-sensitive rack and pinion steering system communicates improved road feel to the driver. GLS models can be ordered with four-channel antilock brakes, which read each wheel separately.

Dual airbags debut on the Elantra this year, housed in a two-piece dashboard designed to reduce the development of squeaks and rattles. Side impact beams mounted in the doors meet 1997 safety standards. Adjustable headrests and seatbelt anchors are standard, and all models come with driver's side lumbar support and seat height adjustments. GLS models get a 60/40 split folding rear seat. Extensive sound deadening materials have also been added to the Elantra.

Base price for a five-speed sedan is $10,900. This price includes five-mph bumpers, rear window defroster, dual remote control mirrors, rear seat heat ducts, remote fuel and trunk releases, tilt steering, and speed-sensitive steering. Another $2,250 nets buyers a GLS model with an automatic, cassette stereo, power door locks, power outside mirrors, six-way adjustable driver's seat, split fold rear seat, power windows, four-wheel disc brakes, and performance-oriented tires. Add Option Package 11 to the GLS, and you'll get air conditioning, cruise control, and antilock brakes, bringing the MSRP to $15,040 plus destination.

Good value? Let's take a look. A Civic LX sedan equipped with air conditioning, automatic, and anti-lock brakes runs $15,850. A similarly-equipped Dodge Neon Highline comes in under $15,000, including ABS. A sporty Pontiac Sunfire SE sedan with a powerful 2.4-liter engine stickers for $15,500 and includes traction control. A fully loaded Kia Sephia GS will cost $13,290.

The 1996 Hyundai Elantra is much-improved over its predecessor. But like other Hyundai products, once a few options are added, the value disappears. The Pontiac offers superior content, the Dodge superior performance, the Honda a better reputation, and the Kia better value. If Hyundai had priced the Elantra a bit more down market, it would make a compelling choice. We like this new Hyundai, but as it stands, the new Elantra is likely to be passed over by most consumers, simply because of the nomenclature affixed to the decklid.

1996 Highlights

All-new Elantra is a slickly styled sedan or wagon featuring dual airbags, side-impact protection and a more powerful engine. Pricing is up as well, pushing this Hyundai squarely into Dodge Neon and Honda Civic territory.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Hyundai Elantra.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

96 Elantra Wagon
Overall the vehicle performed well. It was reasonable on gas. It seemed to require more brake maintence than normal. The extended warranty was worth the cost as several items needed to be replaced before 75,000 Scheduled regular maintenance by Hyundai is pricey, especially the timing belt. The Dealer fixed items at no charge that were no longer under warranty for Good- Will. I would recommend the purchase of an Elantra if you get rebates and a good price.
A great little car for the money!
I bought my 1996 Hyundai Elantra GLS wagon used (in 2008), with 117,000 miles on it. Since I wanted a white paint exterior, I really had to search a bit until I found one (in Arizona). I've put about 3000 miles on it so far and it has performed like a champ. Lots of room for myself, wife, and two large dogs. Well appointed, comfortable, with excellent cooling/heating capabilities and superb 360 degree visibility, I soon grew quite fond of this modest but sturdy little Korean automobile. With excellent fuel economy (27-30 mpg average for both city and highway), it's really the frugal person's Honda Civic: high quality for low cost. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a good used car!
A very economical, fun little vehicle!
Bought my 1996 white Elantra GLS wagon from an Arizona dealer. It had 118,000 miles on it and was in excellent overall condition (well maintained by a NASA engineer) at the time. I have been quite pleased with this vehicle. Fuel economy excellent (30+ mpg) and reliability solid. Only problem I had was with the 'check engine light' coming on, but adjustment at the local Hyundai dealer resolved that and the car passed California emissions tests quite easily. The car's great fun, handles well, and extremely practical for passenger or cargo use. A few squeaks due to age, but they just add personality to what has proven to be a very satisfactory purchase. I'd buy another Hyundai in future!
Stupid emissions!
Elantra 4 door with 86 K bought it used, have had nothing but problems ever since. Ther pathetic engine is clean but makes it hard to accelerate at a stop sign. And those wonderful emissions controls that make the engine run like a deisel and not to mention the awesome(note sarcasm) blinking check engine light. Interior nice, though, reliable transportation, gas mileage lower that what specs say, 20-25 city, 25 highway max!

Features & Specs

21 city / 29 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
130 hp @ 6000 rpm
21 city / 29 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
130 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 1996 Hyundai Elantra features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1996 Hyundai Elantra

Used 1996 Hyundai Elantra Overview

The Used 1996 Hyundai Elantra is offered in the following submodels: Elantra Sedan, Elantra Wagon. Available styles include 4dr Wagon, 4dr Sedan, GLS 4dr Sedan, and GLS 4dr Wagon.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Hyundai Elantra?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1996 Hyundai Elantras are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1996 Hyundai Elantra for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1996 Hyundai Elantra.

Can't find a used 1996 Hyundai Elantras you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Hyundai Elantra for sale - 4 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $8,588.

Find a used Hyundai for sale - 10 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $16,412.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai Elantra for sale - 8 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $10,207.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai for sale - 10 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $20,574.

Should I lease or buy a 1996 Hyundai Elantra?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Hyundai lease specials
Check out Hyundai Elantra lease specials