Entry Price: $19,350
Price as Tested: $27,460
This week, we’re driving the all-new 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT, a sporty four-door hatchback version with roots to the Veloster more so than an Elantra sedan. The entry Elantra GT comes with a six-speed manual transmission that starts at $19,350 while our tester came with the six-speed automatic with an entry of $20,350.
Now in its sixth-generation after a complete redesign in 2017, the Elantra line continues its evolution following an unheralded debut in 1990. Back then, Elantra was a cheap alternative and an undependable compact car that rode on a 98.4-inch wheelbase. During the Elantra sprout to today’s larger 106.2 wheelbase on the sedan and 104.3 on the GT hatchback, Hyundai became a worldwide respected car builder and with current wheelbase dimensions, all Elantras are closer to mid-size automobiles than a compact car in my opinion.
As noted above, although the all-new GT Hatchback is a member of the Elantra family, the GT is more closely related to Hyundai’s “three-door” sports hatchback Veloster in dimension, making it more of a Veloster four-door hatchback than an Elantra. As for the future of the Veloster nomenclature, Hyundai says “there will not be a 2018 Veloster due to a long 2017 model year.” Some may interpret this to mean the Veloster name is on the way out, but Hyundai says it wants to make a big splash for the next generation Veloster, which will be built on what is called the international i30 platform with an “N Division” high performance classification, the latter being a top secret at Hyundai corporate.
Two engines are available for 2018 for hatchback GT, including our tester’s 2.0-liter inline four that producers 161 horses and 150 lb. ft. of torque. After a few bursts down the freeway, I found the 161 horses more than enough to move the GT with decent acceleration and deliver 27 city and 32 highway EPA fuel mileage numbers.
The second engine available comes with the Elantra GT Sport, (starts at $22,750) and features a turbocharged 1.6-liter design that puts out 201-horsepower and 195 lb. ft. of torque. With a noted increase in performance, the fuel mileage drops to 22 city and 29 highway so the choice is yours as to what’s more important. The automatic transmission in the Sport model is more muscular, too, as Hyundai fits the Sport with a dual clutch paddle-shift performance-bred seven-speed automatic. Currently, it is the only transmission available on the GT Sport although rumors have a six-speed manual in the waiting.
Outwardly, Elantra GT features a silky fastback aerodynamic design, nice cascade grille and additional amenity items and sporty touches. Standard features are many, including advanced stability control, sport tuned suspension, blind-spot driver side mirror, rear view safety camera, four wheel ABS disc brakes, all the airbags and extras like hill start assist and even a dual stage rear cargo area
Our GT featured two options, including a recommended $1,800 Style Package that moves the safety factor up a few notches thanks to blind spot and rear cross traffic and then adds leather shifter, keyless entry/start, driver power seat, dual temperature controls and heated front seats. If you want the higher tech safety enhancements, like smart cruise, lane departure and collision avoidance, they are available on the GT Sport model only.
The second option our GT featured is a $4,300 Tech Package that features a seven-speaker Infinity stereo system with subwoofer, eight-inch touchscreen with navigation, heated front and rear seats, all Blue Link connection features with complimentary three-year subscription, electronic parking brake, power sunroof, Smartphone charging pad, auto dim rear view mirror with BlueLink, Homelink and Compass features and ventilated cooling seats. It’s expensive, but if you are into the latest in higher-tech features you’ll appreciate everything you receive.
Underneath, Hyundai has tweaked the suspension a bit to allow a more serene (less bumpy) handling characteristic, although not to the point where it becomes too soft. You’ll notice GT’s handling positives in tighter turns or while navigating a nice country road. If you opt for the GT Sport, Elantra incorporates the coil over MacPherson front struts with an advanced multi-link independent rear for even better handling. Traction on the GT comes thanks to Nexen 17-inch tires on good looking alloy wheels while GT Sport comes with 18-inch rubber.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 104.3 inches, 2,943 lb. curb weight, 24.9 to 55.1 cu. ft. of cargo space, 34.8 turn diameter, and a 14 gallon fuel tank.
In summary, regardless of badge on the car and a few inches of wheelbase dimension, Hyundai Elantras are some of the most popular consumer choices based on affordability, owner reliability and return on investment. Add the industry best 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, and you’ve got as winning combination. The new front-drive Elantra GT Hatchback is on sale now at your area Hyundai dealer.
Likes: New design, cargo space, price, interior, engines.
Dislikes: AWD unavailable, some road noise, high tech safety equipment available only on GT Sport.
— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other Gatehouse Media publications.
Test Drive: 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT
Entry Price: $19,350