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2016 Hyundai Elantra Value Edition First Test

The Goldilocks of the Elantra Lineup

The Goldilocks of the Elantra Lineup

Before Hyundai‘s next generation compact bows in U.S.-spec form (read about it here), the automaker decided to give the current-generation Hyundai Elantra a swan song. Enter the 2016 Hyundai Elantra Value Edition. This model adds nearly $1,000 USD in features over the base SE model but comes in at only $550 USD less than the Sport model, which offers many of the same features but with a more dynamic driving experience. However, the Elantra Value Edition could very well be the Goldilocks of the Elantra lineup, as it’s priced competitively and offers many features that aren’t seen on some of its compact competitors.

It builds on the base model, adding a tilt and sliding sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, 16-inch alloy wheels, and cosmetic features. The Elantra Value Edition offers just enough to give the model a more upscale feel, but the driving characteristics leave us wanting more.

Under normal driving conditions, the 2016 Hyundai Elantra Value Edition was unassuming. The bright red paint color was perhaps the most exciting thing about it. We expected stronger acceleration for a compact sedan. But with only 130 lb-ft of torque in a car that weighs almost 3,000 pounds (1,361 kg), it’s a lot of Elantra to get moving. Trying to merge onto the highway, the pedal would be fully depressed and the engine roaring, and the speedometer would slowly crawl to the speed needed. Thanks to this small car’s weight, braking wasn’t as confidence-inspiring as it should have been. Slowing for those sudden stops took a few extra seconds that had us dropping farther back from the car in front of us to accommodate the longer stopping distance.

The Value Edition comes with the same 145-hp inline-four found in the base SE and Limited editions, puts down a 0-60 time of 9.5 seconds, and completes the quarter mile in 17.1 seconds at 82.6 mph (133 km/h). Braking from 60-0 mph took 130 feet.

On the highway, each road imperfection and bump is immediately noticeable and jostles both driver and passengers when at higher speeds. However, when driving around town, the Hyundai Elantra Value Edition is ideal, as it handles well with a sharp turning radius and good cornering. Getting up to speed was still an issue, but with most roads having a speed limit of 45 mph around town, it was easier to manage than the 65-plus speeds of the 405 freeway. Hearing the engine struggle to get to speed is less than inspiring, especially when the speedometer slowly creeps higher with the gas pedal digging into the floor.

As far as the interior goes, it’s a true economy car. The manually adjusted seats make it that much harder to find the ideal driving position, but the seats themselves provide enough bolstering and comfort to make longer drives and road trips bearable. The infotainment system leaves much to be desired. Its small screen is hard to see in daylight because of the sun’s glare. The system is very easy and intuitive to use, which is helpful.

The 2016 Hyundai Elantra Value Edition offers great savings and introduces more standard features over the base model, but with a minimal price difference from the next trim level up, it’s hard to say if the Value Edition is the way to go. Customers who want more of a driving experience may want to opt for the Sport model, as it offers more power, which would alleviate some of our complaints. However, for the price and feature content, the Value Edition is hard to beat. As a point-A-to-point-B kind of car, Hyundai may have found that sweet spot with the 2016 Elantra Value Edition.

2016 Hyundai Elantra Value Edition
BASE PRICE $20,525
PRICE AS TESTED $20,650
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan
ENGINE 1.8L/145-hp/130-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4
TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 2,842 lb (62/38%)
WHEELBASE 106.3 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 179.1 x 69.9 x 56.3 in
0-60 MPH 9.5 sec
QUARTER MILE 17.1 sec @ 82.6 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 130 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.82 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.0 sec @ 0.60 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 28/38/32 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 120/89 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.61 lb/mile