Read more at: http://www.50plus.com/driving/road-test-2013-hyundai-elantra-gt/187869/
The five-door's ride and handling are Euro-inspired and could kick off another trend here in Canada
The Elantra is Hyundai’s compact high-value car that has been winning frugal hearts and minds throughout Canada. Small cars make up 25 per cent of the Canadian market, so investing in “small” is big for auto manufacturers, and no one knows this better than the Korean automaker.
Before the launch of the new GT and Coupe versions of this popular front-wheel drive model, the Elantra existed only in 4-door sedan and wagon variants.
Interestingly, the wagon doesn’t make it through to 2013. Instead, it’s being replaced by the Euro-inspired 5-door GT, which is sportier and more youthful in appearance and function.
I attended the launch of the GT in historic Montreal and had the opportunity to drive it through the rural communities of Quebec’s Eastern Townships south of the city.
Before the drive, Hyundai provided journalists in attendance with a comprehensive briefing on the GT, emphasizing its quality and frugality. While not particularly popular in North America, the 5-door hatchback configuration is more the norm overseas. This is changing, however. Canadians are far more receptive to the 5-door design than our neighbours to the south, yet they too may come to appreciate 5-door versatility over time, and the 2013 Elantra GT may be the catalyst.
The Elantra GT is based upon a European platform taken from the Hyundai i30, which translates into ride and handling dynamics that are more Euro-like than North America – and this is a good thing by most measures. The vehicle is powered a fairly conventional 1.8-litre 4-cylinder DOHC power plant that utilizes continuously variable valve timing to generate 148 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm and 131 pound-feet of torque @ 4,700 rpm. The engine is racked with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or an optional 6-speed automatic transmission, and it’s nice to have the choice. While the powertrain may be straightforward, it’s notably thrifty, and “best in class,” according to Hyundai.
With the manual gearbox in place, the GT is rated at 6.8 and 4.9L/100 km city and highway driving respectively. Those are impressive numbers, although not achieved on our drive loop where 7.0L/100km seemed the norm during a mix of city and highway motoring.
No doubt, my heavy foot was responsible for some of the over-consumption, and the newness of the vehicle may have contributed as well; and fair enough, our drive wasn’t intended to shatter economy ratings. The goal was simply to spend seat-time in the GT, evaluating its driving dynamics and overall desirability – both of which impressed.
Cabin noise is an econobox dead giveaway and generally a detraction of these vehicles, especially at highway speed where wind and road noise become magnified. Not so with the GT. Hyundai has applied special seals and sound-deadening material to ensure a nicely muted cabin, even at highway speeds. In my mind, the absence of sound in such circumstances is the sound of quality.