2013 Hyundai Elantra GT HD Video Review


Elantra has been a huge success for Hyundai. No surprise considering the features and daring design buyers get for a reasonable price.  Now there’s the Elantra GT.  Considering that Hyundai is selling Elantras right off the transport, you might think they’ve simply added a sport suspension, carbon fiber trim and a different tire package then called it good.  That would be wrong.

36536_1_1The GT- you might want to ask small children to leave the room- is a hatchback.  Baby boomers seem to be allergic to them but there is evidence they’re making a much-deserved comeback, especially with younger buyers.  Yeah, the VW Jetta outsells the Golf but if you look at the Ford Focus and Fiesta, the hatchback rules in sales.  Same with Mazda3.  Civic, Cruze, and Sentra do not offer hatches. FYI, Elantra is also available as a two-door coupe.

A Daring Move-  A fifth door is a gutsy move by Hyundai since the US market generally loves sedans and crossovers.  Really, they could just build more sedans and Tucson utes.  Interestingly, they don’t just lop off the trunk to add a fifth door.  GT is some nine inches shorter overall and 1.5 inches taller.  Wheelbase is down by two inches.  Trunk space suffers the most in the surgery, GT scores a 5 in the TP Trunk test, the sedan swallows 7. The hatch shines in it’s ability to allow large things into the back that don’t get past the sedans small opening.

35349_1_1The powertrain is the same- the 1.8-liter four cylinder makes 148 horsepower @6,500 rpm and 131 lb-ft 4,700 rpm. Transmission choices are a six-speed manual and the box in my tester, a six-speed automatic that adds $1,000 to the tab.  No paddles shifters?  I mean, this is a GT….

The only other major option on my tester is the $2,750 “Style Package” that among other things adds heated leather chairs, sport suspension, and a big glass roof.  Total cost?  $23,090.

Moderate Movement-   Push the pedal to the $90 floor mats and 0-60 takes 8.8 seconds.  Don’t race VW GTIs or Ford Focus ST for pinks, okay?  The automatic tranny is EPA rated at 27 city, 37 highway, and nearly the same with the six-speed manual  (26/37, and yes, those are the new revised numbers).  I saw a 25 mpg average, heavy on city use.

36543_1_1I dinged the Elantra sedan for having higher than average road noise.  The GT seems quieter for some reason.  The firm suspension makes it more fun to chuck into a turn though comfort is down.  Again, GT is not as compelling in corners as GTI but you’ll be entertained when running errands.

Steering effort can be adjusted from comfort to normal to sport right on the steering wheel.  There’s not much road feel from Elantra and the over boosted “comfort” setting completely numbs the experience.  After playing around for 10 minutes, it has stayed in the heavier, more dampened “sport”.

36526_1_1Déjà Vu All Over Again-  Elantra GT and sedan share interiors which makes total sense.  It looks good with a mixture of soft and hard materials but I’m a little surprised there no carbon fiber or aluminum trim to signify the GT attitude. Move up to the $2350 Tech Package for push button keyless ignition, a large touch screen with nav and back up camera to replace the coarse LCD display, and automatic dual-zone climate.  An adjustable armrest helps drivers get comfy.

Telematics systems are becoming more popular these days.  Hyundai’s is called BlueLink.  Simply put it’s very much like GMs OnStar.  Elantra is iPhone 5 friendly but not without a little work.  Lightning cables provide charge, tunes must be streamed by Bluetooth.  A direct audio connection requires a special Hyundai cable, then the Apple 30 pin to Lightning adapter. This combo will set you back around $60.

36527_1_1More Room?  With GT’s wheelbase two inches shorter, it’s a surprise that Hyundai’s specs say it has an inch and a half more leg room in the backseat.  Go figure.  There’s door storage, a flat floor, and dual pockets on the seat backs.  No adjustable vent or power port to charge phones though.  Expanding the trunk isn’t a matter of simply plopping the back seats down.  Cushions need to be folded up, headrests have to be removed and the front seats slid forward in most cases.   At least it ends up with a completely flat load floor.

If you’ve come to your senses and are contemplating a hatchback, remember to cross-shop the competition.  That would be Mazda3, Ford Focus, VW Golf, Kia Forte, and with all-wheel drive, Subaru Impreza.  Toyota Matrix is so long-in-the-tooth I’m leaving it off the list.

36528_1_1Summing up, the Elantra GT offers a little extra driving fun and the ability to get oversized things down the hatch. It’s no GTI or Veloster Turbo for that matter.  Here, GT stands for good time. It’s an enjoyable package at an enjoyable price.


  1. bob4116 says:

    Congrats on the Costco notoriety! One of the more humorous productions you’ve done. Looks like Evil Twin needs to be slapped around a bit! The vacation pics were a nice touch!

    $23, 090? That’s it? Nice package for the price. I’ve always been a hatchback fan, and this one falls right into the sweet spot. Will have to give this one a serious look. I think other vehicles in this segment have some nicer interiors, but it certainly isn’t terrible. Nice to hear that it is quieter than the sedan.

  2. Toaster says:

    Tom are you sure about the requirement for the Hyundai iPod cable? I ask because on my new 2013 Santa Fe it is not required, and in fact it doesn’t work at all. I had purchased one and every time I tried to use my iPod touch (4th gen) the screen kept showing ‘Connect iPod’. I did some digging online and found other owners had similar problems, and their initial workaround was to use the Apple supplied cable. Everything works fine with the Apple cable, and in fact the Hyundai manual even says to use that cable, so I returned the Hyundai cable at my dealership. Even they were surprised that it was not required.

    • TV says:

      I use the special cable in my wife’s Soul and it allows direct music input, no Bluetooth streaming needed. That cable works the same way in the GT, at least it did for me. Really, the only thing my wife wants is to charge her phone and the standard Apple cables (30 pin and Lightning) do that.

      Could it be Hyundai has changed the requirement? Not sure. I’d have to ask them.

      Hope the Santa Fe is working out for you! I don’t see many in Seattle for some reason.

      • Toaster says:

        I wonder if there’s a difference if it’s an iPod vs. iPhone? Could be that’s the reason. I know my sister-in-law requires the Hyundai cable in her ’09 Santa Fe, which is why I got one in the first place. I just assumed I’d need it as well. I suppose there could be a difference depending on what head unit you get (base, 4.3″ Touchscreen w/backup camera and no Nav, or 8″ screen with backup camera and Nav). The manual doesn’t seem to differentiate though.

        So far I’m really liking the Santa Fe. I’ve had it for just over a month now and am finally through the break-in period. No problems to speak of yet, and I can’t really think of anything I don’t like about the car (other than the fact that I couldn’t get the Infinity audio system without going to the top trim Limited model). I find it to be a great looking vehicle that turns heads (especially in my Titanium Silver paint color). I even had a guy in a Q5 checking it out the other day. :)

        I don’t know if it’s only because I now drive one, but I’m seeing quite a few of them on the streets these days around here. I suppose that goes with the territory when a vehicle packs a wealth of features, style and afford-ability into the same package.

  3. CalgaryGuy says:

    Ouch. Only 5 packs of TP? If I carry passengers and their hockey bags this car totally fails.

    Little sister Accent also does 5 packs of TP — and without blocking rearward visibility. Tiny Versa and Fit do 7. For a few dollars more, some buyers might like the hybrid Honda Insight at 6. Or, if you want to pick up your kid’s hockey buddies, there is the Mazda 5 at 14(!) packs of TP (but $250 more per year in fuel costs).

    But perhaps I’m totally missing some of the virtues in the new hatch. Can someone explain who this car is for? After all, if we eliminate sporty drivers and hockey Moms, is there anyone left?

    Thanks Tom, for the TP trunk test. You certainly don’t get this information from the manufacturers’ spec sheets. But of course you could add a hockey bag test for Canadian viewers.

    • TV says:

      While the cargo area is smaller, the large opening allows people to load big things into the back (presumably with the rear seats folded).

      Hockey? Who plays hockey? / ; ^ )

  4. luiskami says:

    Didn’t Hyundai introduced the GT variant about 10 years ago? so this is more of a reintroduction? I like it but Hyundai should have given a little more trunk space but not enough to look like a boring station wagon.I like hatchbacks because they give that extra utility without compromising styling (my opinion at least).

    My next car I would like a sporty hatchback like the Subaru WRX STI or similar. GTI is small for my taste and although I like the Mazdaspeed 3 the FWD layout is a no go for me. I currently have an RX8 and the car is not very practical for daily driving. But I don’t want to jump from superb handling and style to an Elantra GT or, God forbid, Camry.

    • TV says:

      They had the Elantra Touring which was pretty much a station wagon. The 3rd generation had a hatch model, think it was called GL. I do believe they’ve had a model like GT in markets other than America (called i30).

      • 1guyin10 says:

        Actually they did offer a Elantra GT in the third generation cars. It was a hatchback version of the GLS. You got aluminum wheels, leather seating and a special shifter, but it was otherwise identically equipped to the GLS sedan. Ironically, the same week I brought home a tidal wave blue 2006 GLS as my new sacrificial commutermobile (my commute is 25K+ miles per year so I don’t want to do that in anything of great value) my neighbor down the street brought home a tidal wave blue 2005 GT. Both are still plugging along. I get 33 mpg in mixed driving, which exceeds the EPA 31 mpg highway rating. I’ll take that.

  5. faceless_el says:

    as always another review from you that i greatly enjoyed watching.
    also as for other hatchbacks. I don’t think you mentioned the toyota matrix
    oh looking forward to read that costco article about you.


  6. Facepalm says:

    Good review, Tom.
    Just thought I’d point out that near the top of the written review you wrote “Unlike these three (plus Civic, Cruze, and Sentra) Elantra is also available as a two-door coupe.” I thought the Civic still has its coupe variant?

    Also, towards the end of the video review you mentioned that we, the viewers, would let you know if you left any vehicle out of the list comprised of hatchback variants of compact cars. I immediately thought of the Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback but frankly I don’t blame you for not including it because the Lancer variants are rather outdated and more or less irrelevant in the discussion of contemporary and competent compacts, sitting right with the soon-to-be redesigned Corolla. Oh, and the Cruze has (or will have) a wagon variant overseas, apparently. A shame it hasn’t come here, yet.

    Anyway, I’ve always wondered this, but why did Hyundai’s little sister company Kia introduce hatchback and coupe (or “Koup”) variants for the Forte years and years ago, but Hyundai is only getting around to it now with the Elantra, a much more popular and better-selling car than the Forte? It’s just always been on my mind ever since the Elantra GT and Coupe were introduced over here. I know other markets have gotten the GT under a different name for a while now, and the US had the previous-gen Elantra Touring hatchback that looked very out of place among the rest of the modern looking Hyundai lineup.

    Also, I just checked Yahoo! Autos and their site says the GT with the automatic gets 27/37 C/H. 27/30 is almost too terrible to believe, lol.

    It’s nice to see that Evil Twin is up to his old ways, again, although the credit card thievery was rather devious of him (especially him stealing your TP!). I went to Moorea myself a couple years ago, and some of the pictures at the end of the video bring back memories even if Bora Bora is a different island. I also remember that bowl of coconut milk, raw tuna, and other stuff mixed together, although I have forgotten what it’s called. Looks like you, or, I mean, Evil Twin, had a good time.

    • TV says:

      Thanks Facepalm,

      Being my own editor can be a bad thing. I meant that those three weren’t available as a hatches (since corrected). Same with the EPA numbers.

      Forgot about the Lancer, give yourself another star (though can you blame a guy for forgetting that one? Really?) Matrix was left off simply because of its age.

      Hyundai didn’t really have much incentive to offer the GT since the sedan has been selling straight off the truck for over a year.

      Yes, ET also went to Tahiti and Moorea. From the Four Seasons credit card receipts it appears he had lots of the raw tuna and Hinano beer… You know they have Costco in Tahiti don’t you?

      • Facepalm says:

        Like I mentioned, I don’t blame you for those exclusions. They’re just not overly competitive these days.

        Mind if I ask what Evil Twin drove around French Polynesia during the trip? I was fascinated by the array of brands they had that we don’t (Renault, Opel, Fiat (back then at least), Lancia, Peugot, etc.) because I’d never seen them before. Just wondering if the rental vehicle was anything interesting/not available here in the States.
        Moorea also featured a lot of vehicles from some brands that don’t do well here like Mitsubishis and Suzukis, which goes to show that our market isn’t the only market (as some seem to think…).
        When I was on Moorea my family rented a couple vehicles for the duration of the trip; a Hyundai Getz and later a Ford Fiesta that replaced the Getz. Both were manuals and bare-bones, (more so than American rentals, I’d say).

        Also wanted to mention: I saw the video review for the new Outback turn up today on YouTube and I was wondering whatever happened to the video review for this car (Elantra GT)? I looked through your YT channel’s activity and didn’t see it.

        • TV says:

          Your right. The Elantra GT transfer to YouTube failed and I didn’t notice it. It’s been a busy time, was at Boston Marathon, then vacation, then had the flu so I’ve been completely out of it. I’ll get it up soon. I’d put you on the payroll but no one gets money here at the Lazy D ranch.

          There are a lot of different fun cars to look at in Tahiti. In addition to the ones you’re talking about, there are now Chinese brands (which are a bit odd for Western tastes). Their Ford Kuga (our Escape) has trays that spring from the back of the front seats like the ones on airplanes. That’s what Evil Twin (who was always chauffeured) said anyways…

          • Facepalm says:

            Boston Marathon, huh? Wow, hope you made it out okay.

            I didn’t know that about the Chinese brands. Maybe I saw one and didn’t realize it. Thanks for the tidbit about the Kuga, it sounds interesting. I love intricate tray and cupholder designs in cars, haha.

            • TV says:

              The lawyers would have a field day with those trays in the US.

              I finished almost an hour before the blasts and was long gone from the area. Personally I was never in any danger. Airport security wasn’t much different than normal on Tuesday morning. Very impressed with all the chapters of law enforcement, local and federal. Utterly professional, measured, and determined. How horrible for the victims though. Seems like the brothers were just bitter and dumb, not really jihadist idealists (like that would make things any different).

              • Facepalm says:

                Glad you completed the marathon well before everything happened, but yes, the results of the blasts were terrible. Such a shame that so many people in the primes of their lives had to undergo amputations; and that’s on top of the deaths. Like you said, law enforcement and their response were very impressive and well-executed.

                I’ve been meaning to ask: is the new Forte on your to-review list? Some of the press are managing to get their hands on them. I hear it’s a very good all-around car (at least with the larger, more powerful I4 engine, I think).

                And working at the Lazy D Ranch sounds like fun, money or not, lol.