Hatchbacks are fantastic and Hyundai’s Elantra GT proves the point.
Sporty, useful, practical and bordering on fun to drive, a hatchback often gives you more for your money than any other car design.
Hyundai’s hatch, based on its Elantra sedan, provides room for four adults and has 23 cubic feet of cargo space under the hatch. Compare that to most coupes and sedans that have 12 to 15 cubic feet. This has nearly as much room as some small sport-utility trucks.
Hatchbacks usually look fairly sporty, and the Elantra GT is aces in this department too, with the same sweeping curves as the sedan.
I feel the 2013 Elantra is the most attractively styled hatch available at the moment, with an equally well styled interior.
Is it fast and flickable like a racer? No, but it’s competent and bordering on sporty. The “Atlantic Blue” test car was the automatic version loaded with Tech and Style packages. It came with the same 1.8-liter D-CVVT (Dual Continously Variable Valve Timing) four cylinder as in the manual-transmission model.
The engine creates a solid 148 horsepower and in a 2,784-pound car, that’s plenty for normal driving. One reason the GT weighs so little is the generous use of high-tensile steel throughout. Credit Hyundai with a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic that gives the car a bit of a luxury feel it’s so seamless on most shifts. It also has Shiftronic, which allows the driver to shift manually, without a clutch. Using this, the Hyundai became more playful and fun. In automatic mode the car was fine for city acceleration, but you may want to crunch the accelerator to more quickly reach highway speeds.
“I feel the 2013 Elantra is the most attractively styled hatch available at the moment, with an equally well styled interior.”
The GT has moderate acceleration, but I never felt slow or as if I were about to be overrun by other traffic pulling away from a stoplight. However, the car seemed to hesitate and give you flat acceleration as you turn a corner and then accelerate. From 30 to 40 mph it smoothed back out.
Best yet, the GT rides on a 104.3-inch wheelbase that helps spread the bumps, more like a midsize car. There are MacPherson struts up front along with twin-tube gas shocks, coil springs and a 22mm stabilizer bar. In back is a torsion axle with gas-filled monotube shocks and coil springs.
Handling is fine, the car displaying just slight body lean in tight turns, but the steering effort can feel a bit heavy and vague at times. That seems odd as Hyundai features its Driver Select Steering Mode on the GT. This allows you to set the steering to Sport, Normal or Comfort modes, with Sport being way too heavy for normal city driving and I couldn’t tell much difference between the other modes. But those were what I chose most of the time because they lightened up the wheel’s feel.
Inside the car is stylish and well laid out for function and clarity.
Braking is good, with four-wheel discs and vented units up front. ABS and both traction and stability control are standard.
Gas mileage is touted by Hyundai, but I was a bit disappointed with 26.2 mpg in about 70% city driving. The EPA says to expect 28 city and 39 mpg highway.
Inside the car is stylish and well laid out for function and clarity. This one featured a brown over tan leather interior, the tan seats having matching stitching. A matte silver trim on the doors, air vents, center stack and by the shifter made the GT look ritzier than most cars in this class.
Granted the leather, along with an impressive panoramic sunroof are part of a $2,750 Style package. That also added power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, a leather-wrapped steering wheel (pretty slick, it needs more texture for better grip) and shift knob, along with a driver’s auto-up window and aluminum pedals to spiff up the interior and add more functionality. Outside the package upgraded with 17-inch alloy wheels and 17-inch tires.
The car included a Tech package with navigation and rearview camera, automatic headlights, dual automatic climate controls and a remote key fob and push button start for an extra $2,350. Toss in some carpeted floor mats for $95 and a $775 delivery fee and the modestly priced $19,395 GT moved to $25,365.
The car included a Tech package with navigation and rearview camera.
The GT has a simple dash and stack design and large buttons that are logically laid out and labeled for easy use. I also like the blue rings on gauges that makes them easier to read at night.
There also is good room for four adults, and the car features a tilt/telescope steering wheel along with two-speed heated seats. Overhead is Hyundai’s BlueLink communication system, similar to OnStar, plus the visors feature extenders.
Overall the Elantra GT is a fine family-friendly car that’s easy on the savings account and is a comfortable, practical and somewhat sporty ride. Give it a look, along with the sedan version, and a new coupe has been launched about the same times as the GT. Hyundai also continues to offer 10-year, 100,000-mile power-train warranty, five-year roadside assistance, and overall five-year, 50,000-mile warranty.