2018 Hyundai Elantra GT

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The 2018 all-new Elantra GT five-door hatch is the latest model to join the Elantra family. Designers in Europe were involved in creating this fun little hatch and tuning its sport attributes on the Nürburgring Nordschleife race circuit in Germany. The result is a practical car that gives the driver precise and responsive handling for a rewarding drive on a daily commute or weekend road trip.

The exterior styling appeals to me as it’s not so over the top as say a Honda Civic. By that I mean it conveys a car that is fast and nimble with subdued body surfaces, yet nicely accented with LED headlights, LED tail lights, LED repeaters in the side mirrors, a cascading grille, twin chrome-tipped exhaust pipes and good looking 18” alloy wheels.

The Elantra GT is propelled by a 1.6-litre turbocharged 4 cylinder engine rated at 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. Good for a car the size and weight of the Elantra GT. While a little turbo lag was evident in the Elantra sedan I drove earlier in the year with the same engine, not so in the GT. Acceleration was smooth and linear backed up with a six-speed manual transmission. Delightful to shift with short throws, the combo moved the hatch along briskly as I upped the revs and put a little pressure on the go pedal. Really a hoot to drive even at legal speeds on a twisty stretch of road. The engine can sip gas if you drive like a person should; 10.7L/100km around town; 8.1 on the highway with the manual transmission.

Inside, good news and bad. First the bad, only one interior colour: black leather and vinyl with red accents on the instrument panel and seat stitching. Red seatbelts add an interesting touch too. But Hyundai please offer another interior colour, the black is so drab. Even so, I’ll give high marks for the overall design of the interior. Most especially the instrument panel, which is uncluttered and easy to use. Standard is an 8.0” touch-screen with available navigation system. Also standard are heated seats and steering wheel. You can order ventilated front seats to help keep you cool on those hot summer days. The driver’s seat has an eight-way power adjustment with lumbar support and is comfortable with sufficient side support if you’re carving the curves. The rear seats are great for little kids but a little snug for adults. Rear leg room as you might expect is also a little tight depending on where the front seats are positioned. Probably not the car you want if your little ones are still using child car seats. Those into electronic gadgetry won’t be disappointed. The Elantra GT comes with Android Auto, Apple Car Play and wireless charging. The Infinity premium audio system does a good job playing tunes. In the rear, the trunk is nicely trimmed and with the 60/40 fold down rear seatbacks, cargo room is easily expanded.

On the go the interior is extremely quiet for a car the size of the Elantra. This is something the engineers deserve praise for. And it’s not just because of sound insulation either. The integrity of the body also plays  a role. The Elantra GT is longer, wider, yet lower than the 2017 model it replaces. Another plus, cargo volume is up a substantial 54L to improve the vehicle’s versatility. You also get a wide range of electronic and safety features including the “Find My Car” mobile app.

Hyundai now has a formidable model to compete with the Golf and Civic. Base price with manual transmission for the Elantra GT is $26,999. I checked off a few options that would appeal to me and still came in under $28,000. If that’s too tight on your budget, you can start with a 2.0 non-turbo engine and automatic transmission at $21,218. Add some accessories and you’d end up under $23,000. The most basic GT with manual transmission starts at just over $20,000. Whichever Elantra GT a buyer goes with I doubt they would be disappointed in their purchase.

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