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.
The 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.
The 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.
I 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”.
Déjà 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.
More 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.
Summing 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.