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2013 Hyundai Elantra GT Review By Larry Nutson

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT  (select to view enlarged photo)
2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT
A compelling choice

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, New York Bureau
The Auto Channel

I’ve had wheel-time in a number of Hyundai models and always came away very impressed. I hadn’t yet been in the Elantra and was looking forward to my drive time in the new-for-2013 Elantra GT.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT  (select to view enlarged photo)

The Elantra GT, a compact five-door hatchback based on the Elantra sedan, is a replacement for the discontinued wagonesque Elantra Touring. The GT broadens the market appeal of the already popular Elantra with added good looks, high interior quality, and fun-to-drive performance. And the GT is versatile with its large rear hatch, opening to 23 cuft of cargo space that expands to 51 cuft with the rear seat folded. I like hatchbacks, especially in a one-car household, since they are very versatile for hauling people and lots of stuff.

Now being a GT might lead you to think there is “more engine” under the hood. That’s not the case, but the 148HP, 1.8-L DOHC 4-cylinder powering all Elantras does a fairly nice job of moving you around. I was pleased to be driving the 6-speed manual transmission version of the GT. A 6-speed automatic is also offered. Both engine/transmission combinations have commendable EPA highway ratings of 37mpg. The EPA city is 26mpg for the manual and 27mpg for the automatic. Both have EPA combined ratings of 30mpg.

My week of driving with Elantra GT was mostly in big-city confines with a few runs on the highway. Pulling information from the trip computer, on 135 miles of driving over about four of the days my overall driving speed average was only 22mph…lots of idling and stops…with an overall fuel economy average of 31.6mpg. My experience with Hyundai vehicles is that the EPA combined rating is fairly easily achieved during moderate outside temperatures and the EPA highway rating is not hard to achieve on a long trip.

While we’re on the subject of powertrain, I noticed the lack of hill-start assist on the Elantra GT and think that would be an easy to add feature on a car already so well equipped.

The Elantra GT comes with a long list of standard features including 16-inch alloys, power windows, locks and mirrors, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and even heated front seats. My manual transmission tester had a base price of $18,395. The automatic starts at $19,395.

The GT has only one trim level and two option packages. A Style Package, equipped on my test car, adds 17-inch alloys, sport-tuned suspension, panoramic sunroof, side mirror-mounted turn signals, leather seating surfaces, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power driver’s seat, aluminum pedals, and driver-side auto/up window, and all for $2750.

A Tech Package runs $2350 and requires the Style Package. Added are a navigation system, rear view camera…neatly hidden under the rear Hyundai logo that flips open, and push button start.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT  (select to view enlarged photo)

A standard-equipped driver-selectable steering mode for the electric power steering, called Flex Steer, allows the drive to choose steering characteristics between a normal steering mode, a comfort mode for in-city maneuvering and parking, and a sport mode for highway drives and winding roads.

The Elantra GT features a long list of safety features. Active safety features include ESC (Electronic Stability Control), ABS (anti-lock braking system) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist and VSM (Vehicle Stability Management). In terms of passive safety, the Elantra GT is fitted with seven airbags as standard - front, side and curtain including an Elantra-first driver's knee airbag.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT  (select to view enlarged photo)

The inside feels spacious with comfortable and supportive front seats. Ingress and egress is easy. The instrument cluster is straightforward, and audio and hvac controls very intuitive. Rear sears are roomy for this size car. At 169.3 inches long the GT is quite maneuverable and very urban, big-city friendly. The 14-gallon fuel tank should get you 500 miles on a road trip.

On the road, steering feedback is good, the suspension does a good job of absorbing bumps and pot holes on poor road surfaces, the ride is not at all choppy, and the overall experience is like being in a bigger car. I’m not a fan of very low profile tires on pot-holed city streets, like the 45-series on the GT. But, I thought the overall suspension tuning wasn’t too bone-jarring.

Hyundai vehicles are sold and serviced through more than 800 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle warranty, Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and five years of complimentary Roadside Assistance.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT  (select to view enlarged photo)

Of note is, Hyundai Elantra GT took top honors in the annual car of the year awards bestowed by the Inter-American Federation of Automotive Journalists (FIPA) when it was named the “2013 Car of the Americas” during the press preview days at the North American International Auto Show. And, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine named the Elantra GT the Best New Car Under $20,000.

If you’re looking to make side by side comparisons to other compacts such as the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Chevy Cruze and others you can do that right here on our Hyundai Buyers Guide. For a more detailed look into every specification and feature on the Elantra GT, or the Elantra sedan or all-new Elantra coupe, I suggest you look at or see Hyundai Elantra model links below.

I noted in my Sunday newspaper a Philadelphia-area Hyundai store advertising the Elantra GT and other Hyundai models with military discounts, college grad discounts, loyalty rebates, qualified competitive owner rebates, Hyundai Motor Financing discounts and their own dealer discount. The deals are happening!

© Larry Nutson