The GT's front styling is similar to the Elantra sedan and coupe
| Car tested
|| 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT GLS
| Body style
|| Four-door hatchback
|| 1.8L four (148 horsepower)
|| Six-speed manual
| Base price
|| $19,149 (least expensive variant, GL with manual transmission)
| Price as tested
|| $21,349 (GLS model with manual transmission)
Based on the i30 model Hyundai sells in Europe, the Elantra GT replaces the Elantra Touring in the Canadian market. The GT is powered by the same 1.8L four as the U.S.-built Elantra sedan and employs the same six-speed transmissions. The European market i30 employs an fully-independent rear suspension but the GT for North America employs the simpler torsion beam rear suspension used on the sedan and the coupe. The GT is made in Korea.
Direct competitors include the Ford Focus hatchback, Kia Forte 5 and the Mazda 3 Sport. Although it shares a similar format, the Volkswagen Golf, with a bigger base engine and higher prices, is targeted at a different customer base than the Elantra GT. Though not conventional hatchbacks, vehicles like the Kia Soul, Mitsubishi RVR, Nissan Cube and Toyota Matrix are all four-door vehicles with a tailgate that consumers could cross shop.
The rising beltline and lower door character accent convey a feeling of forward motion even when the car is standing still.
The GT's 1.8L four is smooth, spirited and quiet except for a pleasing snarl as it approaches the redline. The Elantra is quick enough, but doesn't feel as punchy as its 148 rated horsepower would lead you to expect.
The six-speed manual transmission has a precise, short-throw gearchange that is allied to a smooth, progressive clutch. Tall gearing allows for low-rev cruising but does blunt acceleration at higher speeds, necessitating downshifting a gear or two to maintain momentum on hills.
The GLS version tested handles competently and has an acceptably absorbent ride. Though Hyundai doesn't admit to any suspension modifications for the 2013 model year, the coupe and the GT (both in GLS trim) ride much less abruptly than the sedans (Limited models) APA evaluated in 2011. Avoiding the SE trim (which is equipped with low-profile 45 series tires) is a way to reconcile handling, ride and tire life (low-profile tires generally wear more quickly) in an Elantra coupe or GT.
The steering is nicely weighted and geared, but transmits little about the road surface beneath the wheels. Power assist can be set to Normal, Comfort or Sport, but the differences between the settings are barely detectable.
The panoramic sunroof has a large opening and seals tightly when closed, but there is a lot of wind buffeting with it open. Powerful air conditioning and an excellent audio system.
Though clearly reflective of Hyundai's current styling, the GT's interior is unique to the model. The cabin is fronted by a hooded binnacle housing big, crisply-marked gauges separated by a digital readout displaying several vehicle functions. The dash centre stack features logical controls that function with cushioned precision.
The front seats (power adjustable for the driver on the GLS) are comfortable and clad in a trio of attractive fabric patterns. Legroom is good in front and class competitive in the rear. With a longer roofline, headroom in the GT is much better than it is in the sedan. Rear seat comfort is enhanced by a proper height seat cushion; it can be flipped forward to permit the seatback to lay flat when loading large cargo.
Cabin materials are very attractive, with soft-touch surfaces on the dash and door tops as well as convincing faux alloy and piano black accents. The level of cabin finish exhibited by the Elantra GT would have been regarded as astounding five years ago. Today, after new entries like the Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus, it's becoming the accepted standard in this segment. Oddments storage, with big door bins and a large cubby at the bottom of the dash centre stack and under the centre armrest, is impressive in the Elantra GT.
The trunk is regularly shaped and quite long, but is shallower than it could have been because of the multi-segmented storage bin residing under the trunk floor. It's carefully finished.
Large, clearly-marked gauges front an elegant dashboard
The dashboard, unique to the GT model, features uncomplicated, intuitive controls
Carefully-finished trunk is wide and long, but a bit shallow
Elaborate under-floor storage bin beneath the trunk floor. A minispare resides underneath
Good cargo floor length when the 60/40 split rear seats are folded
The rear seat cushion flips forward, making space for the backrest. This setup offers a comfortable cushion with a flat cargo floor.
There is no entry level GT model equivalent to the cheapest L trim level sedan, but GL, GLS and SE (instead of the Limited trim level on the sedan) models are available. Moving up from the GL to the GLS trim level delivers roughly $3600 in content for $2200. The SE trim level, priced $1800 higher than a GLS with automatic (standard on the SE), contains roughly $2200 worth of content. At $2000, the SE Tech package is priced to reflect the value of the navigation system and rear camera contained in the upgrade.
Hyundai charges $900, $1400 and $1150 more respectively for the GL, GLS and SE trim levels of the GT compared with the equivalent GL, GLS and Limited versions of the sedan. The GL with steel wheels will have limited appeal for buyers, leaving the GLS, which has a plethora of features, but avoids the SE's low-profile tires, as the best value of the line-up. Leasing is available, but payments are too close to those for financing to be attractive.
APA members can follow the link to obtain APA Pre-Negotiated Pricing details on the Elantra GT of their choice. Non-members can access a sample quote that shows the great value and transparency and of APA Pre-Negotiated pricing.
New car, not rated. Most Hyundais released since 2006 have had above average reliability. Five year/100,000 km bumper to bumper warranty.
The Elantra is equipped with two frontal airbags, two front seat mounted airbag, side-curtain airbags, ABS and stability and traction controls. The Elantra GT has not been tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway safety but earned an overall five-star rating (out of five possible stars) in a recent test by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration in the United States.
The GT's rear styling bears a close family resemblance to the Hyundai Accent