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Hyundai Embraces the Hatch with the New Elantra GT

Greg Kachadurian February 9, 2017 Chicago Auto Show, The News! 6 Comments

Hyundai’s compact five door hatchback is getting completely redone for the 2018 model year in an effort to steal more sales from established class leaders like the Focus and Golf. That effort launches this summer with the all-new Elantra GT and Elantra GT Sport. This US-spec car is based on the i30 on sale now in Europe and brings with it a new level of refinement, improved driving dynamics, and a much prettier design. And for some reason, you can remotely start it with your Amazon Alexa.

The foundation for the lower, wider, and longer Elantra GT is a new structure comprised of 53% high-strength steel (nearly double compared to the last model) and 367 feet of structural adhesive. That plus other advancements translate to a 22% more rigid chassis and 61 pounds shaved off the body-in-white. Speaking of, they say that new body is designed to be both more aggressive and more slippery on the move. It boasts a 0.30 coefficient of drag which should help greatly with its highway fuel efficiency (those numbers haven’t been released yet though).

There aren’t many visual differences I can discern between the Elantra GT and Elantra GT Sport (pictured) besides different wheels and dual tail pipes and both make good use of a new cascading front grille design. As mentioned earlier, the car grows a bit in almost every dimension for the sake of cabin space but Hyundai says its dimensions still match most other compact hatchbacks. But clever ergonomics and packaging yield 96.5 cubic feet of passenger volume and 25 cubic feet of cargo volume or up to 55.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded, significantly more than most of its competitors (only the Golf comes close). Hyundai expects the EPA to classify this as a large car because of that.

And filling up that vast space is upgraded leather upholstery, alloy pedals, dual-zone climate control, Infinity Premium Audio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, their newest infotainment system, wireless phone charging, a floating eight-inch display, and loads of safety equipment.

The Elantra GT will launch with a 2.0-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine with a focus on efficiency, but its 162 horsepower output is more than adequate on its own. Opt for the more driver-focused Elantra GT Sport and you’ll get 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque from a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Both engines can be paired with a six-speed manual or an available automatic gearbox (six-speed in the GT or a seven-speed DCT in the GT Sport).

Hyundai claims hundreds of laps around the Nordschliefe to fine tune its ride quality and handling. The resulting suspension tune supposedly feels taut yet comfortable with minimal body roll and maximum wheel impact absorption. The GT Sport gets some upgraded hardware for spirited driving like fully-independent multilink rear suspension, larger front and rear brake rotors, and standard 18″ wheels for that added horsepower.

And yes, you can tell your Alexa-enabled device to start your new Elantra GT.

[Source: Hyundai]

  • CraigSu

    “Hyundai claims hundreds of laps around the Nordschleife to fine tune its ride quality and handling.”

    James May will no doubt be pleased thoroughly irritated.

    • Mister Sterling

      Ha ha. They also claim to go mall hopping in Australia to make the i30/Elantra Australia’s top selling hatchback. “Tuned on Australian roads,” the marketing says.

  • Mister Sterling

    Hyundai’s 1.6T and revised 2.0T motors are proving to be excellent for the maker. They keep up with the Volkswagen motors they copy from and meet or exceed reliability.

  • Citric

    As someone who owns the current model, I’m disappointed with the looks. Kinda looks like it was rear-ended and the interior has the glued on iPad effect. I love mine from every angle so it’s disappointing that I don’t think this is very successful, styling wise.

    • outback_ute

      I was thinking something similar, it has gone from having a distinct styling theme to being more of a Golf/Corolla clone like most of the other cars in the segment (M-B A-class, BMW 1-series, Astra, Renault Megane, Peugeot 308). They all have very similar overall shape and dimensions – go back 5 years plus and there were distinct differences.

      This looks pretty good though, in a non-polarising way. And if the EPA class this as a large car, their system is broken!

    • Zentropy

      Not my kind of drive, but I think the styling inside and out is pretty good. At least, it looks upscale for its class. And I like the red piping for contrast.