2013 Hyundai Elantra GT Review

We head to Southern California to drive Hyundai's new hatch.

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July 2, 2012

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT Review

The GT is perfectly peaceful around town but it's willing to dance on the back roads.

The Basics
Not content with coupe and sedan flavors, Hyundai has added a GT five-door hatchback to its Elantra lineup, replacing the Elantra Touring wagon.

It's all part of Hyundai's '7/11' plan--seven new or redesigned models in eleven months--and as dedicated hatchback lovers, we're glad to see another one on the market.

We're also glad to see that the car is more than just a five-door Elantra. While it shares the same basic architecture and engine, it also offers features that the coupe and sedan don't--features like a selectable steering system, for example.

Is an Elantra hatch necessary? We'll leave that question to Hyundai's product planning people, who obviously seem to think so, since otherwise this car wouldn't exist. Is it a viable player in the Elantra lineup? Read on.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT Features & Prices Available hatchback features include: fog lamps, standard 16-inch tires (17s are available), a tilt/telescope steering wheel, Bluetooth, the selectable steering, satellite radio, an auxiliary port, remote keyless entry, a USB port, a navigation system, a rearview camera, and more. Base is the only trim level, but there are two option packages. A Style Package adds a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch tires, leather seats and trim, panoramic sunroof, and other goodies, while a Tech Package includes the navigation system and rearview camera and adds automatic headlamps and push-button start, along with dual-zone climate control and other features.

Pricing starts at $18,395 for a six-speed manual-transmission car, while adding the available six-speed auto tacks a g-note onto that. That doesn't include the $775 destination fee.
2013 Hyundai Elantra GT On the Road The GT may be the sportiest of the Elantra line. This isn't because of the 1.8-liter four-cylinder that makes the same 148 horsepower and 131 lb-ft of torque as in the coupe and sedan--it's all due to the selectable steering. It feels stiff and sporty in Normal mode, and it tightens up considerably in Sport (we spent very little time in Comfort, but we can confirm it gets noticeably lighter). The car is fun to play with in the twisties, thanks mainly to the Sport mode. Otherwise it reminds us of the Elantra coupe--it has a decent amount of go power but could use some more, and the ride/handling balance is tilted towards sporty without being too slanted--the GT is perfectly peaceful around town but it's willing to dance on the back roads. Just not too hard--the best moves are saved for the company's Veloster three-door hatch.
2013 Hyundai Elantra GT Exterior The look is unmistakably Elantra-adding a fifth door doesn't negatively impact the car's flowing lines. And for that, we're thankful.
2013 Hyundai Elantra GT Interior Just like the outside, the interior stays within the Elantra family's styling themes. Again, that's very much a good thing. Both inside and out, Hyundai has taken pains to make an inexpensive car attractive, and we applaud that.

We don't applaud the goofy iPod cable (why can't we just plug directly into the USB?) that comes with all Hyundai products, though, its time has passed.
2013 Hyundai Elantra GT Fuel Economy and Safety Safety features include the standard complement of airbags and a driver's knee airbag, plus ABS, stability control, traction control, and an anti-skid system.

Fuel economy is rated at 28 mpg city/39 mpg highway for both transmissions.
2013 Hyundai Elantra GT Final Thoughts Obviously, this is the best Elantra for those who need more utility. Oddly, though, it's also the sportiest, thanks mainly to that selectable steering system, which we dearly wish was available on the coupe and sedan.

Of course, we like sporty, so we're generally impressed by the GT. Yeah, it needs more power (not much more, but some more), and an even sportier R-Spec version would be awesome for enthusiastic driving. But for small-car buyers searching for utility, the Elantra GT strikes a lot of the right notes.

Now, about that R-Spec.

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