2016 Hyundai Elantra GT vs 2015 Hyundai Elantra GT
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2016 Hyundai Elantra GT Review: The Hatcback Continues to Stand Out

Design

From a design standpoint one of the best things about the Hyundai Elantra is how its variants differ. The sedan, hatchback, and coupe, all have unique front fascia that make them easily recognizable as each approaches. This eliminates the need to wait for the side profile to figure which model you’re looking at. Any car enthusiast can explain that anxiety and disappointing feeling when the car disappears out of sight before they can see the model type. It’s comparable to almost catching that home run ball before another crazy fan sticks their glove in your face. Luckily, Hyundai designers appear to feel the same way. And with their help our obsessive-compulsive needs are met despite the extra costs, and the chance of causing a rift between the variants – should cars ever develop the emotion of jealousy.

While the Elantra Coupe has been retired in the U.S. (it’s still offered in Canada) the Elantra GT is here to stay; and for longer than it did the first time around (2001-06). The hatchback is the first Elantra variant to receive Hyundai’s signature hexagonal grille despite being less popular than the sedan. Perhaps Hyundai is trying to capitalize on the popularity of hatchbacks or simply differentiating the trio by focusing on the GT first. Either way, the sedan will get the hexagonal grille in a year or two; but it may have tweaked styling that will continue to set the two models apart.

The most dominant refresh on the 2016 Elantra GT is the addition of Hyundai’s corporate grille. That and new LED lamps inside head and tail lights round out the exterior changes. Interior layout also stays relatively the same but with added technology.

Technology

The 2016 Elantra GT offers standard features such as Steering-wheel-mounted audio, phone and cruise controls for quick access to phone calls and music. Proximity Key entry with push button start is a convenient feature that may be worth opting for, even if just for the novelty of pushing a button to start your car instead of turning a key. Not having to take out a key to open and operate the GT will take some getting used to, but once you become accustom to it you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. It’s sort of reminiscent of remote keyless entry, which is a standard feature on the Elantra GT.

Another nifty feature that you don’t think about until you start using it is the ventilated front seats, a segment first. Preventing sweaty underpants while keeping your bum cool and comfortable is a genius idea, especially on long summer road trips, which you’ll be taking since the hatchback has room for five friends and leads the segment with 3,369 litres of interior volume.

Body odour doesn’t stand a chance in a packed car on hot summer days with the available panoramic sunroof. It lets you enjoy the fresh air and catch some rays as you drive down the open road. It also gives passengers another window to look out of when they’re bored counting light poles. Trying to point out the lion’s teeth in the clouds will never be easier through the sunroof as all passengers will have a similar point of view. The name for this type of cloud watching is pareidolia, seriously.

Hyundai’s next-generation AVN 4.0 navigation system can also ensure your trip is smooth and without surprises. The available SiriusXM Satellite Radio is offered with SiriusXM Travel Link, which includes NavTraffic and NavWeather. Displayed on a seven-inch multi-touch screen the info can easily be seen by the backseat drivers who insist you should have taken a right instead of a left. Available voice recognition with Siri “Eyes Free” integration helps reduce distraction by letting you control navigation, music, and various apps with your voice.

The touchscreen is also paired with a rearview camera that makes reversing safe and easy. The camera is cleverly hidden behind the Hyundai emblem on the trunk. It flips open when the car is in reverse and tucks away when not needed.

Another feature that stood out was Hyundai’s Auto Defogging System. It uses sensors near the windshield to detect humidity levels and automatically engages the fan to keep the windshield free of fog. At first I thought this was silly; even I can turn on the fan and direct it at the windshield. But then I thought about those cool summer nights when no matter how fast the fan worked, on any temperature, that darn windshield refused to defog. Opening the windows and holding my breath didn’t help either. This feature is optional but if it minimizes frustration and bewilderment than it’s worth every penny.

Performance

Standard performance features help the Elantra GT live up to its name. A 2.0 litre, inline 4 cylinder engine provides a class-leading 173 horsepower without sacrificing fuel economy. The hatchback gets 7.2/9.8 L/100km (City/Highway) with either the manual or automatic transmission. For purists the standard six-speed manual transmission is recommended. But if you deal with mindless traffic driving you may want to opt for the six-speed automatic with Shiftronic. This way you’ll at least have the option to manually switch gears when driving down the open road. Add a sport-tuned suspension and 17-inch allow wheels to really make the hatchback feel like a real GT.

2016 Hyundai Elantra GT is available in five trim levels with the L starting at $18,449. If you want the latest technology then opt for the Limited that has a starting price of $27,099. The hatchback is available now at a Hyundai dealership near you. Visit the 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT website for more information or to book a test drive.