List Price Estimate
$743 - $1,756

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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

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!
Great Little Car
This was my third Hyundai. Great little car for the money. I now have 120,000 trouble free miles on it. I hate to say it, but its time for a new one. I am going to purchase a 2002 Hyundai Elantra.
My Hundai
Reliable small car. This is my third Hyundai and the best overall. I had a problem with the transmission early on but Hyundai evantually replaced it and it has been humming along ever since. Other than normal wear and tear I haven't had many problems, and I am one who doesn't believe in expensive 25, 50 etc. services. As someone said recently...Hyundai's can no longer be criticized as cheap cars.
Fun piece of junk
I got this car used from a family friend, and have had a love hate relationship with it ever since. The car is very fun to drive, it being a 5 speed manual, but everything on it except the engine is crap. Literally every creature comfort has broken on this car: the sun roof, power windows, interior door handles x2, head liner, plastic molding, weather stripping, etc. Aside from the numerous problems with the unessentials (everything but the engine) I have loved every minute of owning this car. I would recomend one for a high school students first car.

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 Sedan 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 Sedan Overview

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

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

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Used 1996 Hyundai Elantra Sedan Listings and Inventory

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Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1996 Hyundai Elantra Sedan for sale near you.

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

Find a used Hyundai Elantra for sale - 1 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $10,514.

Find a used Hyundai for sale - 5 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $11,328.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai Elantra for sale - 10 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $18,079.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai for sale - 2 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $23,250.

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