We knew we were going to get a chance to drive a new Hyundai Elantra this week, but when the car arrived, we thought there had been a mix-up. Sitting at the curb was not the expected sedan, but a smallish five-door. Well, what we have here is an Elantra GT, a brand-new version of Hyundai's popular and award-winning model.
Hyundai is rolling out some new looks for its 2013 Elantras. In addition to the well-received sedan, they are now offering this five-door GT, as well as a two-door coupe.
The 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT is the third vehicle in what Hyundai calls its "7/11 product initiative," or the introduction of seven new or redesigned models in 11 months. The first two vehicles in this initiative were the Veloster Turbo and the revamped Genesis Coupe. The fourth is the previously mentioned Elantra Coupe..
This five-door version clearly has Hyundai's new fluid-like design stamped all over it, from its swept-back grille and low profile, to a beltline molding on the sides that also suggests strong aerodynamics. The Elantra GT's headlamps are particularly eye-catching, and when the car is dressed in 17-inch alloy wheels with chrome spokes, it's a nice-looking package.
Having such a low-profile on a car helps with fuel economy, and the GT is rated at 26 mpg for city driving and 37 for highway driving for the manual transmissions and 27/city and 37/highway for the automatics. Those numbers should help the family budget.
The GT is powered by a 1.8-liter
four-cylinder engine with 148 horsepower and 131 lb.-ft. of torque. While the car is not a hybrid, it's emissions are almost as clean as one, thanks to its advanced clean engine technology. Some models have been rated as a Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) by the EPA.
Seating layouts in the Elantra GT are flexible. The car can seat five, but it's probably more comfortable for four adults. Rear seats can be folded in a 60/40 split to accommodate long items and seating for three, or to fold all the way down to handle large packages and two passengers.
Behind the wheel, the driver can chose from three driving modes -- comfort, normal and sport -- so you can adapt to driving preferences and road conditions. The Comfort level offers easy steering, which can be handy when you're driving around town and having to ease into parking spots a lot. Sport mode is good for highway-driving or winding roads, while Normal is the best choice for a mix of both driving conditions.
I found the dashboard was sleek and stylish-looking and highlighted with chrome accents. The car's very wide A pillars and large side view mirrors did hamper forward visibility, unfortunately.
Always on the lookout for safety features in the family car, I see that the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT has a nice list. At the top of the list is Standard Electronic Stability Control with Traction Control, Anti-lock Brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist, four-wheel disc brakes, driver knee, front, front-side and side curtain airbags, and pre-tensioners on the seatbelts.
Our test car had a base price of $19,395, but when a few extras were added, the base price rose to just over $25,000. Among them was a package that included panoramic sunroof, leather seats, aluminum pedals and a power driver's seat with lumbar support. Another Technology Package included a navigation system with rearview camera and dual climate control.
Hyundai's new Elantra GT is a smartly designed smaller car, with impressive fuel economy, which could make it just the right size for small families, city dwellers, empty nesters or college students.