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2013 Hyundai Elantra GT - Heels on Wheels Review

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2013 Hyundai Elantra GT - Heels on Wheels Review

By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

Bestowed with bragging rights for being the North American Car of the Year just last year, the competitive 2013 Hyundai Elantra remains an efficient, value-based compact sedan, coupe and now hatchback choice for drivers who expect a generous dollop in four-cylinder power and interior equipment to accompany its low price.

I drove the all-new 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback version with the standard 148-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine featuring Dual Continuous Variable Value Timing and six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC. Offered in one trim level, standard equipment includes: premium cloth upholstery; steering-wheel mounted controls; a six-speaker audio system; Bluetooth; iPod and USB input jacks; Hyundai Blue Link telematics; heated front seats; driver selectable steering mode; fog lights; and a rear spoiler. Price as described comes to $18,545.

This hatchback replaces the Elantra Touring wagon and is designed to deliver more nimble handling than the sedan and coupe version. Main competitors with admirable guts include the also-versatile Ford Focus; for added charm, check out the MINI Cooper and Volkswagen Golf.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: The Elantra hatchback comes with lots of nice extras other carmakers usually bill you for, like a rear spoiler, heated seats and a smartphone connectivity system. Optional packages on my test drive included a pricey $2,750 Style Package (seventeen-inch wheels, sport-tuned suspension, panoramic sunroof and leather upholstery) as well as a $2,350 Tech Package (navigation, rearview camera, push-button start). Styling on the hatchback is not as savvy as the sedan. The upgraded ventilated leather beats what Honda is pushing. Overall, cabin interior fit-and-finish is the Elantra’s strong suit.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the sedan model a Top Safety Pick rating. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the hatchback version an overall rating of 5-Stars. Standard safety equipment includes electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, traction control, anti-lock brakes, brake assist, and an advanced airbag system. There are no additional safety technology options like blind spot monitoring.

Cost Issues: If you’re shopping the spectrum of Elantra prices, the base sedan starts at $16,965 and the base coupe at $17,595. A comparable 2013 Ford Focus SE hatchback starts at $19,200

Activity & Performance Ability: Looking for more nimble handling than what I could get from the sedan or coupe, I could never quite get the automatic and 1.8-liter engine to comply with my acceleration wishes, making this hatchback too tame to call sporty or aggressive. The Driver Selectable Steering Mode was a nice performance touch, allowing the driver to customize the control and feel of the steering Comfort, Normal and Sport options.

The Green Concern: The 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine has a fuel economy of 27 miles-per-gallon city and 37 highway for a combined 30. Unfortunately, 40 miles-per-hour is the new normal with cars of this size. If you opt for the Active Eco System, fuel economy drop slightly to 28 miles-per-gallon highway and 38 highway.

Lacking any real kick to call sporty, the all-new 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT version clearly presents itself as more of a value-oriented compact than an aggressive hot-hatch or ultra-efficient ride, with high-quality interior materials and intuitive technology as the main draw.

2013 Katrina Ramser