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We drive the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

by Ali Arsham
Friday, February 01, 2013

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2013 Elantra GT
Hyundai introduced the all-new 2013 Elantra GT at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show.  Elantra GT brings five-door functionality and European driving dynamics to the expanding Elantra lineup. The Elantra GT is based on the new-generation i30 model designed for the European market. Hyundai describes the new Elantra GT with words that start with F.  These words include Fun-to-drive, fuel efficient and functionality.  We think that the Elantra’s proportions are fantastic and the car’s fetching styling is right on target. 

When looking at the Elantra GT, you assume that the car is basically a five door version of the Hyundai Elantra sedan.  The Elantra GT is based on the new Hyundai i30 available in Europe and has a very European feel to it.  The car is sized perfectly for a single car family.  The all-new Elantra GT rides on a 104.3-inch wheelbase and has an overall length of 169.3 inches. The height is 57.9 inches and the width is 70.1 inches.  Maximizing interior volume with various seating layouts translate into more cabin room, cargo space and versatility.  The Elantra GT features seating layouts that can comfortably seat five people or accommodate four passengers, plus long items like golf clubs or snowboards.  Fold down two seats, to seat three people and hold larger packages or fold all of the back seats to get CUV-sized cargo space. These options allow customers to discover that Elantra GT has more interior volume than Toyota Matrix, Mazda 3, Ford Focus and VW Golf and even more cargo capacity than the Nissan Juke crossover, thanks to fold-flat rear seats and rear seat cushions than can flipped upward.

The Elantra GT includes a number of convenient, standard stowage and storage features, including a sunglasses holder, two front and two rear cupholders, door bottle holders, cooled glove compartment, central console storage, sliding armrest, front storage tray, front seatback pockets and a cargo area under-floor storage. The cargo area also has a 12-volt outlet for consumers who desire an outlet to plug in their portable electronic devices.

Our car came fully loaded with the Style package and the Technology package.  The Style package gives you 17 inch alloy wheels, sport suspension, panoramic sunroof, leather interior, leather wrapped steering wheel, power driver’s seat, and a few more things for only $2750.  The Technology package includes navigation system, rear view camera, dual climate control and proximity key with push button start for $2350.  With these features, the Elantra GT suddenly becomes a small luxury car.

Front Dash
Located in the center of the dash, the navigation system is displayed via a seven-inch touch-screen and incorporates the rearview camera screen which pops out of the Hyundai flying H badge on the rear hatch when needed.  Dual-zone climate controls ensure a comfortable environment for all occupants during long journeys, and the addition of a panoramic sunroof provides increased natural light within the cabin.  Another premium feature in the Elantra GT is a Clean Air Ionizer that automatically cleans the air when the heater or air conditioner is running.

Elantra GT comes standard with a 172-watt AM/FM/Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system with six-speakers and iPod/USB/auxiliary input jacks.  A Bluetooth interface is also standard.  The sound system plays compact discs, accesses digital music files via Bluetooth streaming audio or allows driver and passenger to access their personal listening devices through the iPod/USB/auxiliary inputs.  The SiriusXM Satellite Radio interface is also integrated into the navigation unit and features real-time NavTraffic and Data services, such as NavWeather, Stock Ticker and Sports Ticker.  Users can even upload personal pictures from a USB rather than a CD to be displayed on the system’s home screen.

Rear seats
The Elantra GT is fitted with a MacPherson strut front suspension, with coil springs and gas dampers.  The rear suspension is comprised of a light weight torsion beam and monotube dampers.  The Elantra GT is tuned for added feel, responsiveness and control, while the Elantra sedan is tuned for comfort.  Modifications to the GT include higher rear spring rates, a stiffer twist beam and Sachs dampers for improved body motion control.  Add in our car’s sport suspension and the calibrations are even more sporty.

The end result is a car that feels almost as good as many sports cars in most situations.  Turn the Elantra GT loose on a twisty road and you will be smiling as the car rotates easily and the 215/45-17 tires grip well.  The best part of the suspension tuning is that while the limits may not be as high as some sports cars, the car is easily driven at the limit.  The electric power steering is even adjustable for feel and effort and provides good feedback of the front tires.

The weakest area of the Elantra GT is what is under the hood.  The Elantra GT comes with a 1.8 liter four cylinder that puts out 148 hp.  The engine is mated to your choice of a six speed manual or six speed automatic.  Our car had the automatic which worked well but certainly took some of the fun out of the experience.  Either way, the 1.8 liter tries to do well but it just needs more power.  With 148 hp moving about 2700 pounds of car, Hyundai points out that the GT has a better power to weight ratio than many of its competitors.  That may be true and the GT would have plenty of power for the commuter but with a great chassis like this, more power would make this car a blast.

The upside of the power level is that the Elantra GT is rated at 27 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the freeway with the automatic transmission.  We averaged mid 30’s which is very good for a car of its size especially considering that we were having a blast driving the Elantra GT.

Elantra GT prices start out at $18,545 which is a great bargain.  Add in the two packages and now you are suddenly close to $24,000.  That may seem like a lot but if you look at the packages you will see that they are also bargains and it would cost you a lot more to get those features on your own.

The Elantra GT is a terrific car at an even better price.  It is roomy, affordable, fun to drive and fuel efficient. Combine these features with Hyundai’s terrific 10 year warranty and you have a car that is hard to pass up.

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