Buying a Used 2016 Hyundai Elantra is a $10,000 Mistake

Now’s an incredible time to score a fantastic deal on a lightly used compact car with cutting-edge technologies. However, you should avoid the 2016 Hyundai Elantra.

Hyundai earned itself quite a stellar reputation and is becoming an industry giant. But even this South Korean automaker misses on occasion.

Why should you skip over this particular Elantra, and do other model years warrant consideration? Let’s take a deeper dive into what issues plague this compact car.

Is the 2016 Hyundai Elantra reliable?

A red 2016 Hyundai Elantra on display in front of a colorful sky
The 2016 Hyundai Elantra on display | Hyundai

No. Some experts are seriously concerned about the Elantra’s long-term dependability.

For example, Consumer Reports gave the 2016 Elantra a paltry 20% reliability rating. This figure is second-worst in the compact car class for the 2016 model year – just behind the Ford Focus.

Due in part to this shortcoming, the 2016 Hyundai Elantra landed on Consumer Reports’ ‘Used Cars to Avoid’ list.

The publication determined this assessment based on feedback from subscribers who own this particular model. 

Every year, Consumer Reports sends out a survey to its members to gather data about 17 potential trouble spots. 

The 2016 Hyundai Elantra had alarmingly bad results in four significant areas. Owners reported issues with the vehicle’s engine, brakes, power equipment, and paint/trim.

What do 2016 Hyundai Elantra owners have to say?

A red 2016 Hyundai Elantra driving down a highway road
The 2016 Hyundai Elantra in action | Hyundai

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Owner feedback can give you a glimpse into problems you could run across if you were to purchase a particular vehicle. Unfortunately, the 2016 Elantra’s outlook doesn’t inspire a lot of hope.

A reviewer who owns a 2016 Elantra Sport 1.8-liter four-cylinder stated, “My engine started knocking at startup but eventually disappeared. The dealership said that it was a known problem with the specific engine, and my engine was replaced under warranty.”

While Hyundai resolved this driver’s issue, not all used Elantras on dealership lots will have received the same treatment.

Notably, some used 2016 Hyundai Elantras are equipped with a sportier 173-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. However, these models will fetch a higher sum.

Does this used Hyundai compact car have redeeming qualities?

A look inside the spacious interior of the 2016 Hyundai Elantra
The interior of the 2016 Hyundai Elantra | Hyundai

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Other outlets also aren’t too keen on the 2016 Hyundai Elantra. But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to like about it.

For example, the U.S. News & World Report criticized the car’s sluggish engine and unpleasant ride quality. However, the publication praised the Elantra’s “quiet, airy cabin” and “plush” front seats.

Notably, Hyundai’s compact car has one of the most spacious front seats in its class. Plus, higher trims may be equipped with heated rear seats – a feature that’s a rarity in this segment.

The 2016 Hyundai Elantra’s best trait might be its fuel-efficient performance. When paired to an automatic transmission, its base engine achieves an EPA-estimated 31 MPG city/highway combined. Meanwhile, the available 2.0-liter engine remains efficient, getting 28 MPG combined.

What should you buy instead of a used 2016 Hyundai Elantra?

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Hyundai completely redesigned the Elantra for the 2017 model year. Thankfully, these more recent iterations, especially the 2018-2020 models, vastly improved upon the previous generation.

The 2016 Hyundai Elantra’s low price is undoubtedly tempting. However, you may save more in the long run by paying a little extra for a newer model. Consumer Reports estimates that a used 2018 Elantra retails between $11,925-$16,025. That’s only $1,925-$4,475 more than a used 2016 Elantra.

Alternatively, you can buy a more reliable Elantra – and save some money in the process – by exploring older model years. Notably, Consumer Reports gave the 2012 and 2014 Hyundai Elantras favorable reliability ratings.