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2013 Hyundai Elantra Review

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By Michael Bernstein
The Auto Channel
Michigan Bureau

As anyone who has shopped for a car and by car I mean the traditional coup, sedan as well as an SUV, Crossover, pick-up or hybrid-knows that overall vehicle quality is outstanding and the features, options and engine performance available blurs the traditional lines that have historically defined vehicle classes and market segments. This fact has best been applied to the entry level and the new reality is the 2014 Hyundai Elantra GT which blends contemporary styling, near premium options and respectable performance for a starting MSRP of $18,545.

The GT is one of three Elantra models available and has a sporty exterior that is stylish and balances the scales between contemporary looks and mature sensibilities meaning its looks will attract and appeal to a diverse group of buyers. This fact is critical in today’s hyper sensitive marketplace.

The front end features twin head lamps, which can be upgraded to automatic, and duel fog lights that are stacked and bookend the large grill. The hood flows seamlessly into the front wind screen that rises to join the roofline creating the Elantra’s attentive profile.

The doors are large and when opened reveal a surprising spacious interior that was well appointed with both features and near luxury finishes that include the optional leather wrapped steering wheel. Up front the driver and passenger are cradled in European sport inspired bucket seats that were supportive and very comfortable. This experience is extended to the back seat occupants. In fact an argument could be made that the rear bench seats that featured deep pockets were more comfortable that those up front.

In addition to comfort the rear contains a refreshing amount of space for both passengers and all the stuff we acquire and haul around. There is plenty of head, knee and shoulder room, enough for two grown men to ride in complete comfort. This comfort and the Elantra’s openness is further aided by the side cut outs that allow for light and sight to flow trough-out the cabin and beyond.

With all this space afforded to the rear seat passengers how much room could possibly be left for the seemingly endless parade of stuff we acquire; however, when I popped the trunk I was surprised to see that the cargo area was very respectable and therefore usable.

But enough about the trunk and rear seats because we buy a car for how it drives and despite the six speed manual transmission, which is standard and whose use or need I have always questioned. In fact it is my hypotheses that if all you true “gear heads” were truly objective, you would agree that today’s automatic transmissions, complete with their computer controlled timing and pin point shift points are far superior both in performance and efficiency, not to mention the convience of not having to shift all the time is a better way forward, erg a better way to drive. A six speed automatic with Hyundai SHIFTRONIC and ECO systems is a $1000 option and is money well spent.

Getting off my soapbox, the gear box in the Elantra was almost presumptive in its movement making it a breeze to operate. The NVH is acceptable and if the road noise gets too loud, just turn on the nice audio system that washes the cabin in the sounds of your choosing.

The driver is in complete control of the vehicle and the various systems and features trough the many displays and information clusters that adorn the dash and steering wheel. The front dash has a classic speedometer and tach along with an LED display that contains the odometer, fuel and temperature readings. Below that is the area reserved for all those red and yellow “idiot lights” of old. I mean where we would or the service industry be without the “service engine soon” light!

The center waterfall is topped a pair of LED display screens for time and temperature and below them is a modest screen for the audio system. The climate control system is accessed by a combination of push buttons and a large knob that contains two dials for temperature and fan speed. At the bottom there is a storage area that is accessed by a tilt up panel. In addition to storage there is an iPhone connector and a 12v outlet.

The Eco-Efficient 1.8L, four cylinder engine’s performance was precise but measured, as was the steering and braking. It’s fun to drive, but more importantly it does not require a lot of fund raising to own and operate. That’s due to both the MSRP and the Elantra GT’s overall fuel rating of 30 mpg. With many of the features standard the top end model, which will include a sunroof, navigation system, rear view camera and a host of appearance features will run you just north $25,000.

The Elantra GT or its sister models, the Elantra and Elantra Coup, represent a huge leap forward in bringing quality, styling and performance to the compact segment and with Hyundai’s outstanding 10 year/100,000 mile warranty, 24/7 roadside assistance and a all-star roaster of safety features you can rest assured that if something does go wrong you will be all right.