Will The ’16 Elantra Improvements Stand Out In The Competitive Compact Car Class?

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What Will Change?

According to the latest reports, a re-engineering will come in late 2015 or early the following year as a model-year ’16. Unveiled for 2011, freshened for 2014, the current generation Elantra’s re-engineering will be the last alteration until the 2018 redesign. The 2016 changes are expected to bring improved ride quality, better structural strength, and a new exterior and interior design.

Why wait for the 2016?

The addition of high-strength steel in the body should reduce cabin noise. A reworked suspension should improve driving dynamics. New sheet-metal on the outside and a new layout on the inside will give the South Koreans one last chances at making the most design-wise out of the current generation of this compact sedan, coupe, and hatchback. If you like the current body shape, the ’16 model will bring the most stylist and advanced Elantra yet.

Should I buy 2015?

If you like the current look, and most experts do, there is not as much reason to wait. The compact falls short of cars like the Mazda 3 or Ford Focus in drive quality. If you test drive a ’15 and are underwhelmed by the handling, then waiting for the updates to the suspension and structure might be a good time. But this a competitively priced, positively reviewed small car that was just refreshed in ’14, so pull the trigger on a 2015 if it meets all your needs. And with a number of changes coming, dealerships will be motivated to move the out-going models. Expect rebates, low interest loans, and leasing deals by the second half of ’15.

Styling

The 2016 is likely to entice consumers with what is being called the Modern Hyundai look. Look to the latest Concept sedans from the South Korean automaker to see the endless possibilities offered in the new fluidic body design that could be revealed. It should retain the same approximate size and be sold as a sedan or a hatchback GT version. While interior and exterior styling is projected to change, trim level variations should remain unchanged. They may include the thrifty SE trim level, the luxurious Limited, and the performance focused Sport level.

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Mechanical

The current engine lineup is certainly considered up to date with the recent addition of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder outfitted with direct fuel injection. A 1.6-liter four-cylinder topped with a BorgWarner twin scroll turbocharger is expected for the lower trim levels with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine possibly slated for the Sport trim level and coupe. Should engine choices stand as they are, the SE and LE trim level 2016 Hyundai Elantra sedan would be equipped with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, that produces 145 horsepower with a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment in the SE or a six-speed automatic transmission as an available option. The six-speed automatic transmission should be the only choice for the Limited trim level sedan, as well as the two-door Coupe. It is assumed that the Sport trim level 2016 Hyundai Elantra sedan, as well as the coupe and hatchback GT, could list a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that manufactures 173 horsepower and the six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment, with a six-speed automatic as optional. Both the Sport trim level sedan and GT are expected to include some type of sport tuned suspension as standard equipment. The introduction of a new line of high-efficiency turbocharged engines is rumored on its way but is not expected until after 2018.

Features

Standard features for the 2016 Hyundai Elantra SE sedan are expected to include full power accessories, a CD player, cruise control, and air conditioning with an optional Preferred package that contains automatic headlights, 4.3-inch touchscreen audio interface, a rearview camera, heated front seats, automatic headlights, and Bluetooth communication connectivity. Limited trim should include a wheel upgrade, fog lamps, leather upholstery, power adjustable driver’s seat, LED taillights, sideview mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators, heated rear seats, and Blue Link telematics. The Technology package, available only with Limited trim, could provide a 7-inch LCD touchscreen, dual-zone climate control, a navigation system, keyless ignition/entry, and an upgraded audio system with Pandora internet audio interface. The Sport trim level, coupe, and hatchback GT should all include most of the equipment listed above and add a sunroof.

Fuel economy

The miserly Elantra SE and Limited sedan are expected to achieve fuel efficiency ratings of approximately 27/37/31 mpg (city/highway/combined) when equipped with the manual transmission and 28/38/32 with the automatic transmission. The Sport level trim package sedan and coupe are projected to post ratings of 24/38/34 and the comparably equipped hatchback GT should get 24/33/27.

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Prices

Pricing for the 2016 Hyundai Elantra is speculated to be as follows: The entry level SE should begin at $20,100 for the base level trim and top out near $21,100 for the Preferred package. The LE trim level equipped sedan is expected to begin around $24,550 with the Technology package garnering in the neighborhood of $28,110. The Sport trim level is anticipated to begin with a price of $26,410 with the coupe starting at $22,300 and topping out at $25,510 for the Sport with Tech package. The hatchback GT version is expected to start at around $21,460, then proceed to $29,260 if the Style package and Tech packages are added. Undoubtedly, if a hybrid powered sedan is released it will exceed all of these in price. All estimated prices include a delivery charge of approximately $900.

Competition

Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Kia Optima, Chevrolet Sonic, Mazda3, and Ford Focus.

Quick Hit

The 2016 Hyundai Elantra promises a suspenseful entrance regardless of the degree of redesign with which is attributed. It should continue to provide consumers a diverse vehicle with an excellent five-star safety rating that is loaded with option quality features included as standard equipment.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]