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2013 Hyundai Elantra GT Review By John Heilig

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2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

The Auto Page
By John Heilig
The Auto Channel

Model: 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT
Engine: 1.8-liter I4
Horsepower/Torque: 148 hp @ 6,500 rpm/131 lb.-ft. @ 4,700 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Wheelbase: 104.3 in.
Length x width x height: 169.3 x70.1 x 57.9 in.
Tires: P215/45R17
Cargo: 23/51 cubic feet (rear seats up/down)
Economy: 266 mpg city/37 mpg highway/31.3 mpg test
Fuel tank: 14.0 gal.
Curb wt.: 2,745-2,919 lbs.
Sticker: $22,015 (includes $775 inland freight, $2,845 in options)

Bottom line: Kissing cousin to the Kia Rio (which I also drove recently), the Hyundai Elantra GT is not only the beneficiary of Hyundai's "fluidic sculpture" it is also a slightly bigger, more powerful and sportier vehicle, albeit at a slightly larger price point. The Elantra GT is a pleasant driver, especially on the highway.

Just last week, it seems, I was driving a Kia Rio 5, and this week I'm in a Hyundai Elantra GT. Aren't these basically the same car? Yes and no.

They are cousins, let's admit. Kias are built by Hyundai (or is it the other way around?), so they are related, somewhat. But to dispel all rumors, the Hyundai Gt has a longer wheelbase, is 10 inches longer overall, has a more powerful engine, better tires, is more aerodynamic and gets better fuel economy. Other than that, they're identical, which is like comparing Buicks and Chevrolets.

The Hyundai Elantra is a surprisingly good driver for a small car. That sounds like small put-down, but it isn't meant to be. Not only is the Elantra good around town, where its maneuverability and quick response can be used to their best advantage, it's also very nice on the highway. Cruising along in fifth or sixth gear, it has the feel of a larger car. True, the 104-inch wheelbase helps, but that isn't all. With a lot of small cars, you simply feel uncomfortable on the Intestates. Maybe not you, but in my demographic we like larger cars. Well, grey hairs will like the Elantra as well.

There is good power from1.6-liter inline four. Judicious use of the 6-speed manual transmission doesn't hurt. Pick the right gear and the engine finds a good power rpm band and you can do (almost) anything. The engine also delivers good fuel economy. Despite the talk of turnpike cruising, we did most of our driving around town, and still got 31.3 mpg overall. That's a pretty decent number. Another nice feature about the engine is that it's quiet for a four. Sometimes these little four-bangers can be buzzy all the time.

And with its compact size, you can stop off at your local Starbucks for some liquid refreshment and lot get all discombobulated about squeezing into a tight parking space.

If you're a fan of Hyundai's "fluidic sculpture" styling, and I am, you don't have to shell out the bigger bucks for a Sonata, and you can get the same effect with the Elantra.

The front seats are comfortable on long rides. There is some side support. There's also good rear legroom. Rear passengers also benefit from a huge sunroof that goes all the way to the rear of the Elantra. It doesn't open all the way, but at least they get the benefit of the sun, rather than looking at the inside of a metal roof. There are assist handles at three doors. The driver has to make do with grabbing the wheel to aid entry.

To keep our tootsies warm, there's a great heater. We drove in some pretty cold weather as well as damp pre-snow and were warm as toast inside. Moreover, the HVAC controls were clear, as were the audio controls. There was no navigation system in our tester, so we didn't have to deal with a big screen in the middle of the dash.

In addition, the Elantra GT has a nice trunk that can be doubled by lowering the rear seat backs. A flat floor is made possible by folding the rear seat cushions forward into the foot well. There's a small tray under the cargo floor and above the spare that is useful for hiding things that are in the trunk. Up front there's a cooled glove box, that will not only cool your gloves but it will also keep sandwiches cool on long trips as well as help in lengthening the warm-up time of any water bottles or soda cans you put in there.

Small cars (as well as large) benefit from a remote lock and unlock. However, in the Elantra, you shouldn't unlock the doors from too far away or they'll re-lock by the time you get to the car. Of course, I could also move faster....

While the Elantra GT is similar to the Kia Rio, the styling, larger and more powerful engine, and overall ambiance of the vehicle completely change its character for the good.

(c) 2013 The Auto Page Syndicate