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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    July 16, 2013

    Can there be strength in numbers?

    In the compact car class, no one can really agree on that. All agree that having a sedan is very important. From there it gets somewhat unclear. Some manufacturers stick with just a sedan; others go with either a hatchback or a coupe. Hyundai is one the few automakers who offers all three with their Elantra lineup. You have the Elantra sedan, coupe, and GT (hatchback). The GT is the company's latest attempt at compact hatchback and Hyundai says it provides versatility and 'European' driving dynamics. The question is the Elantra the added strength or the weak link in the Elantra family?


    The Elantra GT is definitely the sportier and possibly sexier looking out of the Elantra lineup. Part of this comes from the GT being about nine inches shorter and riding on a shorter wheelbase than the Elantra sedan and coupe. The other part comes from European influences throughout the design. This is thanks to the kissing cousin of the Elantra GT, the i30. Both models share an upright front end with a hexagonal grille, sharp creases and sculpting along the side, and a sloping rear hatch.

    Inside, the Elantra GT doesn't share the sexy looks as the exterior. Instead, Hyundai goes with a conservative look with black and silver dash pieces, curves, and blue backlighting. It’s a look that works, but I kept thinking it could use pizzazz. What doesn't need to change is build quality as my tester was top notch.


    Space is a mixed bag for the Elantra GT. The back seat provides good legroom, but is a bit short on head room thanks the sloping roofline and a panoramic sunroof. The Elantra GT does claw back some points in terms of cargo space. With the back seats up, the Elantra GT gets 23 cubic feet of space. Fold the seats down and you get a massive 51 cubic feet of space, making it the best in class.

    Hyundai still knows how to do the value argument very well and it shows on the Elantra GT. All models come equipped with air conditioning, Bluetooth, six-speaker audio system, heated front seats, keyless entry, and Hyundai's BlueLink telematics system. This Elantra GT also came equipped with the Style package (seventeen-inch alloy wheels, leather seats, and panoramic sunroof) and Tech Package (navigation, dual-zone climate control, and push-button start). As tested price? $25,365. For that price, the Elantra GT makes many of its competitors red in the face.

    You'll only find one engine in the Elantra GT and that would be a 1.8L GDI four-cylinder with 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual or six-speed automatic are your choices for the transmission. The 1.8L is a very spritely engine. Thanks to a curb weight of around 2959 lbs, the Elantra GT moves like no other. The same cannot be said for the six-speed automatic transmission. Hyundai seemed put a big emphasis on fuel efficiency with this transmission and it shows with somewhat sluggish gear changes and a tall first gear. Those looking for a bit more excitement should look into the six-speed manual.


    Fuel economy for the Elantra GT is rated at 27 City/37 Highway/30 Combined. During my week, I saw an average of around 28 MPG in mixed conditions.

    Hyundai has been getting its share of complaints about how their sporty vehicles don't feel as sporty as they should. With the Elantra GT, Hyundai seems to be turning that around. If you order your Elantra GT with the Style Package, you get a sport-tuned suspension which makes it very enjoyable on your favorite road. However, Hyundai made sure the sport-tuned suspension didn't knock out fillings when its driven day to day. The suspension is able to cope with imperfections very well.

    Steering is a bit of a mess. Standard on the Elantra GT is Hyundai's Flex Steer which varies the weight of the steering via three settings: Comfort, Normal, and Sport. In theory, the system should provide the right weighting for the occasion. In reality, it’s a much different story. The problem is that Comfort is way too light and Sport is verging on an exercise regime. I found myself leaving the system in Normal as it provided the best balance of the two. I think Hyundai is getting there, but taking a glance at that Mazda3's steering might help out.

    The 2013 Elantra GT leaves a big mark on the compact car marketplace. Sleek styling, a nice ride balance between sport and comfort, loads of cargo, and list of features that embarrasses many rivals. The downsides are only a few; the Flex Steer steering system that presents more problems than solutions, a somewhat sluggish automatic, and tight headroom in the back.

    Hyundai is a believer that strength does come in numbers in the compact class. The Elantra GT solidifies it.


    Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Elantra GT, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year - 2013

    Make – Hyundai

    Model – Elantra GT

    Trim – N/A

    Engine – 1.8L DOHC D-CVVT Inline-Four

    Driveline – Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Transmission

    Horsepower @ RPM – 148 @ 6,500 RPM

    Torque @ RPM – 131 @ 4,700 RPM

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/37/30

    Curb Weight – 2,959 lbs

    Location of Manufacture – Ulsan, Korea

    Base Price - $19,395.00

    As Tested Price - $25,365.00* (Includes $775.00 destination charge)


    Style Package - $2,750.00

    Tech Package - $2,350.00

    Carpeted Floor Mats - $95.00

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at [email protected] or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    User Feedback

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    Nice review, how is the seat support for what should be a sport or semi performance model?

    My two issues with this car is the big black mouth on the front that mimics Mazda's poor style of a grill and the tight engine bay.

    For a GT car, this car should be a performance fun package but also leave a bit of room for 3rd party tuning and based on the picture supplied it looks real tight so that 3rd party companies might not bother building a turbo kit or other performance mods for the car.

    Over all I would say Hyundia will have a success on their hands again with this new model. I just wish they would get an engine that had some Torque as all the horsepower in the world is useless unless you have the motivation to move the 3000lb mass and that comes from Torque.

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    The interface of their nav/infotainment system looks like it has really small buttons. How responsive was it and did they lock it down during driving so you could not interface with it?

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    The interface of their nav/infotainment system looks like it has really small buttons. How responsive was it and did they lock it down during driving so you could not interface with it?

    The buttons are actually not that small.. only in the picture. The system was very responsive (actually one the fastest systems I have used). They do lock down the imputing of an address, but everything else is ok.

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    So many cars today look like slight variations on the same theme inside...similar center stacks, vents in the same place, 2 round guages... boring and predictable. Without the 'H' on the wheel I'd have no idea who made it...

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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    my favorite elantra. but it is not low and sleek like a mazda3. thing is, this is really more of a vibe / matrix / jetta wagon thing more than anything. So it kind of tries to look sporty but its so tall it doesn't go all the way.

    And in that regard it makes it good, but you notice then the dash and interior aren't all that sleek like you see in the regular elantra or a competitor like say a Cruze or Focus interior. It's more of a plain utility vehicle interior.

    This version doesn't have as much trunk / boot as the last one but it is still nice and large.

    This is another vehicle I thought of that may make more sense to buy than that Fiat 500L i tested and wrote about.

    Bottom line is this is a nice choice fucntionally but it lacks some sizzle that compels you to buy and its performance is not off the charts either.

    One niche this does fill. An econocar that fatties like me and large people can fit into. Or like my BIL who is 6'4 bought one of the original Focus...few econocars can fit large and tall people.

    Edited by regfootball
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