First drive: 2016 Hyundai Elantra 2.0 in the UAE

First drive: 2016 Hyundai Elantra 2.0 in the UAE

2016 Hyundai Elantra 8
The Hyundai Elantra is a subcompact that has been around since a long time. Although not much of an attention grabber, it is apparently a sales success in the Middle East, owing to the great exterior design and price tag. However, the Koreans’ penchant to continually evolve meant that Hyundai finally went all-in to make the car a more complete package rather than just a looker. And how the all-new 2016 Hyundai Elantra has grown from its past is what we were to witness when the local dealer invited us for a day-long media event that included an extensive test-drive.

2016 Hyundai Elantra 4

Despite a few individual elements that vaguely resemble some upscale brands, the Elantra arguably sports an original design, and is one great looking car in its segment. The new car gets a hexagonal grille with chrome horizontal lines, LED daytime running lamps built into the headlamps, new alloy wheels, LED tail lamps, and chrome door handles, at least in our fully-loaded test car.

2016 Hyundai Elantra 12

The interior has been overhauled completely, with the approach being more neat and functional than being overdone. The buttons and controls are all neatly laid out, and the center dash is slightly angled towards the driver. Textured soft-touch surfaces are confined to the dash-top and part of the door panels only, while the rest are textured hard plastics.

Our car was an optioned-up example with a few seemingly segment-first features, should the local dealer choose to offer those here. Some interesting bits in our car included a superb-thumping Infinity sound system with seven speakers, external amp, and subwoofer, 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with satnav and Qibla functions, front and rear parking sensors with reverse camera, HID headlamps, ventilated front seats with heating and cooling, dual-zone auto a/c with rear vents, traction and stability control, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, smart key entry with start-stop button, hands-free smart trunk opening, and seven airbags including a knee airbag.

During the presentation, Hyundai’s chief executives from South Korea even kept bragging about cheap and easy-to-replace chassis components in the event of a collision, thus keeping the repair costs lower.

2016 Hyundai Elantra 10

With gains in length and width, but sporting the same wheelbase as its predecessor, the new Elantra is slightly roomier than the old car, although still not class-leading, and can comfortably seat five. The boot is pretty darn spacious too. There are adequate cup-holders and storage cubbies throughout the cabin. And then there are two USB charging ports and two 12-volt power outlets.

The new Elantra will be available with either a 2.0-litre or a 1.6-litre, both 4-cylinder and mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Our tester obviously sporting the larger engine, never felt slow or short of power at any point, although we suspect the smaller engine to be rather inadequate. Power delivery being linear and gradual, our Elantra was expectedly not a speed demon. But there is good passing power at highway speeds, requiring only one downshift at most. The gearbox is a smooth-shifting unit and seemed to do the job well, with a responsive manual mode too. Interestingly enough, there are three ‘drive’ modes, namely – Normal, Sport and Eco, all of which alters the throttle and transmission mapping accordingly.

2016 Hyundai Elantra 6

The new Elantra rides smoothly for most part, with only a bit of stiffness felt on the poorest of road surfaces, while remaining remarkably composed even at speeds as high as 170 kph. To the extent that we took it, the Elantra handles very well too, with good body control revealing a well-tuned chassis and suspension setup. Sudden steering inputs does not upset the cars balance, and it has admirable grip levels, which is quite surprising for a Hyundai, as it now feels more European than Korean. The steering is nicely-weighted and the response is sharp. But feedback from the steering and controls is very limited. Hyundai plans to bring the Elantra 1.6 Turbo GDI into the Middle East later this year, which will sport upgraded suspension components, and that should be much more fun to drive.

We also noticed how the new Elantra is easily one of the quietest compact sedans in its segment. A bit of wind noise is noticeable only as the speedo sails north of 130 kph. The engine makes itself heard only under full throttle with a refined tone, and the road noise is kept to a minimum. With moderately-bolstered seats that feel quite comfortable, long drives in the new Elantra are never a chore, making it an ideal choice for those who spend a considerably long time behind the wheel.

2016 Hyundai Elantra 1

So with the 2016 Elantra, Hyundai is all set to cause a stir in the hotly-contested compact segment. And this time it is not just the looks alone, but the Koreans seem to have nailed it in so many other aspects, making the all-new Elantra even more of an attractive proposition and value for money. The all-new 2016 Hyundai Elantra may well become the next ‘Toyota Corolla’ soon.

What do you think?



  1. the new corolla is actually noisy….. good to see koreans keeping road noise down

    • Agreed, I rented one for a day due to urgent needs….that too a 2.0 from Hertz.

      Way too noisy, tyre noise, wind noise… just noise and extremely rough tyres transmitting every bump and imperfection to where the sun don’t shine. Not something I expected at all.

    • @mj

      Corolla seems to have lost it;s mojo…. quiet, refined and comfortable is as i used to remember corollas/….

      Not any more.

      Any way i think the new civic is going murder every thing…

    • @Prado

      Dont forget that the corolla’s major problem is also its historical 4 speed transmission, the New Civic is going to be a good car, but from my experience here, they are going to price it insanely high, which will effect the sales I guess, the same applies to Mazda 3 with 2.0 L engine, it is overpriced

    • Dont forget that the corolla’s major problem is also its historical 4 speed transmission**************

      RE: Not necessarily.. reliability of that gear box is a plus point, most owners dont really care

      , *********the New Civic is going to be a good car, but from my experience here, they are going to price it insanely high,***********

      RE: Going by pricing of Honda UAE ‘s products they are more or less in line with US prices.. the new civic tops at USD 27K..(US price) thats about AED 90K.

      which will effect the sales I guess, the same applies to Mazda 3 with 2.0 L engine, it is overpriced**********

      RE:depends if you see it as Mazda 3 in isolation… there is alot of content in that car..

    • @Prado

      The consumer awareness is higher than ever before, so I know many people who do in fact care about these things, especially if you are going to use the car for long commutes (which majority of customers in this category do), so having 6 speed is much better than 4, regarding the civic pricing, it is not necessary high price by the dealer, but in general civic is always priced higher than compitition (including the corolla) not to mention the elantra, cerato, cruze, and many others, it is even overlapping with Honda Accord as you can get 2.4 accord with 2nd options in the lower 90s, who would buy a civic then? I know the volume sales will be the lower specs, but even though it starts higher than competitors.

    • @ Samer

      Accord is now made china and it looks like a baboon… i dont know why they stopped importing from the states!.. 2013-14 was such a good model.

      The thing is new civic is so impressive even the people CR were impressed, and they are not easily impressed…. look at features the new civic lane watch, blind spot camera, 1.6L Turbo that gives o-100 less than 7 sec, apple car play, and tonnes of other options.

    • @Prado

      Of course the new civic is going to be amazing car and no doubt about it, but for the accord to be made in china, I dont think it effects its quality because it is being made according to Honda standards not to chinese standards so the location of the factory doesnt matter much, otherwise people would stop buying corollas, camreys and Hilux and Fortuner which are all made in Thailand, another thing, the matter of looks is relative, maybe you dont like the accord but I think it is one of the best looking cars in its segment, it looks better than altima and camrey for sure, and also I doubt that Honda will offer the 1.6 turbo here, I think they will go with the 2.0 engine which is not bad btw, but will not achieve 0-100 under 7 sec for sure, btw, I noticed that you are so impressed by the civic and on the other hands some said from some angles it is not that impressive and from the side back it looks somehow like the crosstour, which was voted one of the ugliest cars in the world and was a big sales fail …. personally I will keep judgement until I see it in real life

    • Hi Prado
      I saw your comment and you were right about what you said that the civic is (Going by pricing of Honda UAE ‘s products they are more or less in line with US prices.. the new civic tops at USD 27K..(US price) that’s about AED 90K) but the civic in US at 27k comes with nav,android auto,apple car play,back up camera,and honda sensing which includes Lane Departure Warning (LDW),Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS),Road Departure Mitigation (RDM),Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC),Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™) and i don’t think you will find these options at honda UAE dealer and i guess they don’t even have the 2016 civic until now at the dealer.

    • @civic

      the civic is set to arrive by March end in UAE….

      Plus dont forget 0-100 in 7.6 secs… amazing what a small engine can pull

  2. nice modification for Elentra, first from inside to outside

  3. guys you can buy corolla 2005 model same as 2009 model, because old corolla is very strong car..

  4. Strange why there are all Corolla comments in an Elantra article. 😛
    And surprised to know the new Corolla is noisy. It looks quite smooth and firm from the outside with properly profiled tires.

    As for the Elantra, I don’t know, not liking the front as much as the older models. The whole concept of ‘fluidic’ design seems to be lost. Features are amazing ofcourse, but I still feel the plastic and buttons quality in 2013 models were far better than the current ones, including the interior lighting.

  5. What are prices for Hyundai Elantra 2016?

  6. Good effort from Hyundai and I am sure it will sell well – the Dealer needs to market it more like it does with the other models.

    Honda has done a good job with the new Civic and initial impressions are positive. Opinion on its looks are divided and it remains to be seen whether people here warm up to it. As for pricing, it is on the higher side considering we get de-contented vehicles. We also have to bear in mind that in the US taxes apply whereas here it is evident the Dealer mark ups are horrendous. The Accord now Made in China is apparently having problems. Can anyone confirm this?

    The Mazda 3 is pricey however it comes with content that you would normally find on bigger/luxury cars. You will get models with lesser content at a good price, similar or cheaper to the competition. Besides, Mazdas provide the kind of dynamics(drive/handling) that other brands do not.

  7. Just saw it in the showroom today. Very appealing features and fully loaded, BUT – AED 82,500/- top spec! WHOA! Why wouldn’t I go for an Accord instead?

  8. Actully Elentra is Not big like Corolla.Its options and features are same as corolla if we compare Corolla and elantra these both are same sedan car

  9. How did you find the air-conditioning? Was it decent?

  10. I will go for the Elantra 2.0 at any time .. and the coming Elantra sport 1.6 , 200 hp & rear indp suspention will leaves the others in the dust … woooooow

  11. btw civic isnot 7.5 its around 6.5

    elntra are good in used never worth new.. and due to high value drop better to be safe as an expat … most people here are not buying either!

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