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The Hyundai Elantra GT didn’t have the best slot in the test drive roster when I took it out last weekend–the car I drove immediately before it was a Porsche 911 S.

Porsche’s 400-horsepower 3.8-litre boxer engine is not an easy act to follow. Thing is, the Hyundai didn’t seem like a compromise—just a very different style of car, and well-suited to its purpose.

I took the Elantra GT for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, carting clothing bags and shoe boxes throughout the city. It’s no accident the Elantra was named 2012 North American Car of the Year, and the GT version proved practical and reliable as well–a good value at $25,365 including style and technology upgrades.

The car has a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. It’s not fast (0-60mph in, um, we’ll call it over 9 seconds) but it is plucky enough for daily driving. And it’s efficient. Expect to get 28mpg in the city and 39mpg on the highway.

It also feels light to drive—2,784 pounds to the Subaru Impreza wagon’s 3,055—and nimble enough for fun, but the most noticeable thing is the interior space considering its petite dimensions. It has 42 cubic inches of leg room in the front, 40 cubic inches of head room, and 51 cubic feet of storage in the back with the seats down. The back floor is flat.

Hyundai has based the Elantra GT on its Euro i30, and we can thank that in part for influencing another notable thing in this upgraded version: a driver-selectable steering mode that offers choices between Comfort, Normal and Sport. Each option changes the tension and feel of the wheel when you turn.

Also of note are touches that have trickled down from luxury car atmospheres like Bluetooth, heated front seats, solar glass, foglights, keyless entry and satellite radio, all included as standard.

Hyundai has clearly meant the GT as a shot toward dominating the five-door hatch segment. It will have a tight competition with excellent offerings from Subaru and (more expensive) Audi, but it certainly hits close to the mark.

I could go on, but I’ll leave the particulars to the slideshow. Suffice it to say that this is a basic, efficient four-door I would happily drive around town.

Read through the slides above for 10 reasons to buy the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT.

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