The Hyundai Elantra GT is quite a good little hatch as far as I’m concerned. Now let’s strap a turbo to it and have some fun, huh? It’s a hatchback revolution.
It’s hard not to love a nice hatchback, especially when it arrives at your house sporting a six-speed manual that slots into gear with ease for every day driving in any condition. The clutch is light and so is the steering, which makes this a great car for anyone old and young. When the car arrived at my house, my aunt and uncle were visiting from Baltimore. Interestingly, my uncle had been looking for something with a nice manual to enjoy around the city that would net him some good fuel mileage, but wouldn’t hurt the fun factor.
Enter the Elantra GT for a fun car that gets good fuel economy; 24 mpg city and 34 mpg city, respectively. And in real-world testing I got just that, too. I was hovering around 28-30 mpg combined, depending on how hard I’d been pushing it. And you can happily push the Elantra GT’s gearbox and go pedal for a good bit of fun. Just make sure to keep the steering mode in sport. The other modes just make it too light and start to feel awkward and vague.
Like I said earlier, the clutch, gearbox, and steering are all pretty light. It keeps things easy when driving around town or in traffic. However, for my taste, I enjoy a little less sponge to my clutch and a more of a racey feel. So I think an Elantra GT-S with a stiffer clutch, heavier steering, and a more weighted shifter would do just the trick. Oh, and a turbo or supercharger.
For 2014 Hyundai changed out the motor from the 1.8-liter four banger making only 148 horsies and 131 lb-ft of torque, to a 2.0-liter direct-injected four with 173 horsepower and 154 lb-ft of torque. At roughly 3,000 pounds, the Elantra GT is rather light for such a car, which allows the light steering to be very accurate. And with the as-tested price of $25,485, the GT is priced fairly for what it offers.
And while I think the car is fairly priced, I do think it can be dropped down a couple thousand. I say this because the base car is $18,750, and there were only three options on my tester: a $2,550 style package,$3,250 for the tech package, $125 for carpeted floor mats, and the $810 destination fee, to top it all off.
The style package gives the GT 17″ alloy wheels (which aren’t my favorite style, if I’m honest), sport tuned suspension, leather, power driver’s seat, LED taillights, keyless everything, Hyundai Blue Link, driver side auto-window up, and some under under the floor rear cargo storage. The tech package adds navigation, rearview camera, auto headlights, panoramic roof, and dual-zone climate control. So that’s $5,800 in options. The Nissan Versa Note I tested had similar options, and its tech package only runs $800. I’m not saying the car is too expensive or not worth the price, because it is. But I do think the options are a bit much for what they’re adding to the actual value of the experience.
The interior quality and fit and finish is a real prize for the Elantra. There’s so much cargo space that it’s nearly impossible to run out of room in it, even with four adults on board. Luggage space is good for three or four suitcases, but you may need to take out the cargo cover in order for it to all fit. The plastics on the inside don’t feel harsh, nor does anything appear like it would wear out quickly or look bad over time.
I think it’s nearly impossible to not love the Hyundai Elantra GT. Adding to the likeability of the quality and style is the four and five star crash test ratings all around. It’s a family vehicle for a man or woman who’s not willing to give up some fun in their lives yet.
The day I got the car I was scheduled to go to my parents’ beach house about three hours away to bring my aunt back into town to meet my uncle, who was driving down from Baltimore. There was a seriously intense rainstorm that was impeding my flow on the way down. It was one of those afternoon summer storms, and it with the winds and rain, it was close to a category 2 or 3 hurricane. While most people felt the need to slow down to a crawl on the 70 mph highway, the Elantra GT was very comfortable and easily maintainable at 60+ mph. The brakes are able to bring you to a slower speed quickly enough, and the steering allows you to know where the car is going, even with good communication.
Many cars with a “sport tuned suspension” end up riding like a wannabe without any real dampening and instead just bounce over every road surface. The Elantra GT doesn’t do that, in fact it’s very comfortable on a long road trip. The leather seats are easy to get in and out of, comfortable, and feel like you could fall asleep in them. Luckily the car is lively enough to not allow for that to happen. That being said, I do wish there were a sportier seat option. When throwing the GT into corners you tend to slide around a bit, not having the proper side bolstering to hold you in place. But that’s just a simple complaint from this sports car obsessed writer.
Being front-wheel drive, having 173 horsepower and 154 lb-ft of torque, getting 28-30 mpg combined city and highway, and all of the comfort and luxurious fitments to make anyone happy, the Hyundai Elantra GT is a great first car, tenth car, or last car. The price is right, space and capacity are all pluses, and it’s just hard to find any real fault with this Hyundai. It’s a hatchback revolution, if you ask me. Put all that together with the company’s now legendary 10 year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty, you’re just not going wrong. Get it with all the options and call it a day. You’ll only thank me once you do.
[Photos by Josh Lewis]