A new age has come upon the affordable five-door marketplace. In response to the bellyaching masses upset at getting the unfavorable end of the stick when it came to affordable small cars, automakers have launched a new breed of highly-cultured rides.

Today, as a departure from the four-wheeled appliances that passed for affordable cars not so very long ago, the latest five-door offerings from Mazda, Subaru, Ford, Volkswagen and others all call out vigorously for the hard-earned dollars of Canadian shoppers with global leveraging of design and engineering capabilities. The resulting products are more persuasive than ever, and there’s never been a better time to be shopping in this segment.

One of those globally leveraged compacts is the Hyundai Elantra GT. Model-year 2016 sees the German-designed Korean five-door gussied up with a slew of updates to styling, feature content, technology and connectivity, building on a strong offering of high flexibility, upscale driving dynamics, and premium feature content with even more value.

More on Autos.ca: Comparison Test: Compact Hatchbacks

On the technology front, the standout feature is Elantra’s new infotainment interface, which combines navigation, entertainment, communications and other functionalities into a single touchscreen system that works better than the previous generation setup, as well as most other systems in this segment.

Revised menu layouts, a souped-up graphics processor and new programming sees the latest top-line interface amounting to one of the best your writer’s ever laid his grubby fingertips on where responsiveness, slick looks, and intuitive operation are concerned. Pairing a Bluetooth phone takes a single, eight-second attempt that’s free of swearing and frustration, and the helpful pop-up messages, as well as the placement of common function buttons on the various screens, all proved welcome. Navigation zooms intelligently and automatically as you approach a turn on an unfamiliar road, and the keyboard input is slick and fast-acting, too. Plus, the graphics are vivid, and the system responds to all touch gestures instantly, and without lag or choking.

The responsiveness adds ease of use for new users, and is right there with you once you become a touchscreen pro, tapping and flicking through various menus like a champ.

Space and versatility are generous too, with Elantra’s five-door variant offering up adequate room in front and back for full-grown adults or an average-sized family of five. Two properly-sized adults can sit behind one another, rear headroom was more than adequate for your 5’11” writer even with the panoramic roof above, and rear-seat entry and exit are a cinch. I noted no issues with space on board, relative to the Elantra GT’s size and intentions.

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