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Solid Performer

Hyundai launches Elantra Value Edition for 2016.

The compact Elantra sedan, Hyundai's best-selling vehicle, has a new Value Edition for 2016.

The Value Edition squeezes in above the SE and below the Limited and Sport trims. It comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, sunroof, a proximity key that unlocks doors as you approach, heated front seats, side mirror turn signals, and tilt steering wheel.

vehicle

The 2016 Elantra Value Edition combines adequate power with superb safety ratings and a comfortable ride.

The Value Edition keeps Elantra's awarding winning “Fluidic Sculpture” design – first introduced in 2011 – and adds chrome molding on the rising beltline and aluminum molding on door entrance sills.

It's eye candy appeal continues with creased character lines, striking front fascia with cat's-eye headlights, chrome-rimmed tear-drop designed fog lights, and a smirking lower front grill. It's easily the best-looking five-passenger sedan in a highly competitive market.

Our test-drive Value Edition started out wallet-friendly with a $19,700 base price and $1,000 value discount, but added 13 mostly minor port-installed options pushing the final out-of-pocket price to $22,390 – still less expensive than many competitors equipped with similar features. Missing with the Value Edition were navigation and safety options available only with Limited or Sport trims.

Elantra grabs excellent ratings in government and insurance crash testing. Handling felt solid, although the ride was slightly rough but not disconcerting. The 1.8-liter engine is adequate for moderate highway passing. However, what one trades for power is gained in excellent mileage – nearly 400 miles on one tank of gas.

Inside the cabin, the Elantra feels like a midsize vehicle with ample space for all occupants, although rear-seating headroom might challenge taller adults. Interior sound was noticeably muted.

Nice touches included a small convex mirror mitigating the driver's left side blind spot, numerous spaces for gadgets and such, including an outlet under the dashboard perfect for charging a mobile phone. Small storage trays embedded in the front doors are above generously sized map pockets. An amply sized trunk includes a tire repair kit.

The dashboard's touch screen is small (4.3 inches), but includes a back-up camera. Enjoy the 90-day free trial of satellite radio.

The 2016 Elantra has received the highest ranking for initial quality from J.D. Power.

The 2017 Elantra includes a hands-free smart trunk among the new model year features.

Likes: Stylish looks, mileage, price, space, quiet
Dislikes: Lack of power, option needs, small dashboard screen
Bottom Line: Perfect beginner car with top safety ratings.

Tom Crosby is a contributor from Charlotte, N.C.

March/April 2016 Issue


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