While the main players Chevrolet, Toyota and Honda don’t offer hatchback models of their small cars, Hyundai, Mazda and Ford have opted to provide their customers with another choice. For the previous generation Elantra, the hatchback model was dubbed the Elantra Touring. The Elantra Touring was more upscale than the standard Elantra, developed with a focus on the European market, where it is sold as the i30.
This time around Hyundai is following the same formula, but instead is calling it the Elantra GT. Once again the Elantra GT is more upscale, but the car’s fluidic sculpture design fits in cohesively with the overall lineup. One thing we like is the less-wacky and more premium feeling interior that the GT has.
Now’s let get down to the details though; Hyundai has announced pricing for the 2013 model Elantras, and the GT starts at $18,395, versus $17,470 for the sedan. The Elantra GT is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder making 148 horsepower and comes standard with a six-speed manual. It is able to be optioned up pretty extensively. An automatic will set you back $1,000, while the Style Package goes for $2,750 and the Technology Package for $2,350.
Style adds a stiffer sport-tuned suspension, panoramic sunroof, side mirrors with turn signals, leather interior, power drivers seat with lumbar support and aluminum pedals. Technology requires Style (an ill-advised move) and includes a navigation system with seven-inch screen, rearview backup camera, automatic headlamps and dual-zone automatic climate control. A fully-loaded Elantra GT goes for $24,495. Not cheap, but it offers a lot of equipment for the money. Every Elantra GT comes equipped with a unique feature; Driver Selectable Steering Mode. It has three operating modes; Comfort, Normal and Sport. Power assistance levels are adjusted, as well as “on-center build-up feel and steering build-up curves.” We’re interested in trying it out, and haven’t seen another manufacturer try something like this at this price point. The 2013 Elantra GT goes on sale later this month, aimed at the hatchback Ford Focus, Mazda3, Volkswagen Golf and Toyota Matrix.