Hyundai Elantra GT, 2013: Versatile new hatchback offers value, vast features

James Raia

The 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT joins the Korean manufacturer’s lineup replacing the Elantra Touring in the increasingly popular stable of small, versatile hatchbacks.

With a shorter wheelbase and a six-inch shorter overall length than its predecessor, the Elantra GT is Hyundai’s entry as a lighter (2,750 pounds) and more fuel-efficient offering in the popular segment. The Ford Focus, Mazda 3 Subaru Impreza and VW Golf are its primary competitors.

The 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT offers an impressive list of standard features that include heated front seats, a 10-way power driver seat, a cooled glovebox, dual-zone climate control, a six-speaker sound system with an USB/iPod interface, Bluetooth and seven airbags, including a driver knee bag.Hyundai Elantra GT, 2013: Versatile new hatchback offers value, vast features 1

Two options packages are available, the Style and Tech, the former of which was included in my test vehicle (see below). The Tech package offers automatic headlamps, keyless ignition/entry, automatic dual-zone climate control, a navigation system with touchscreen display and a rear view camera.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

Driving to high-altitude ski resorts and mountain towns in Colorado are ideal places to test drive a car. And that’s exactly what I did for a week recently with the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT.

I drove the car about 1,500 miles during the USA Pro Challenge, a professional bike race from Durango to Denver, Colorado. The seven-day race visited more than a dozen cities and I drove the Elantra at elevations of more than 10,000 feet and sometimes on unpaved but maintained roads.

The Elantra is comfortable as a smallish, five-door hatchback. It features a 1.8-liter, 148-horsepower, four-cylinder engine with six-speed automatic transmission (a presumably peppier manual transmission is also available). The drive is smooth, but sometimes sluggish in mountain driving conditions, particular on steep inclines.

Hyundai in recent years has gained considerable attention as a value carmaker, and in some instances offering surprising luxury for the price. The Elantra offers a lot of the former, and some of the latter — but only if the buyer purchases options.Hyundai Elantra GT, 2013: Versatile new hatchback offers value, vast features 2

The suggested price of the Elantra is just under $20,000, but my test vehicle included a Style Package ($2,750). I recommend it for buyers who’ll drive the Elantra significant distances. The package includes 17-inch alloy wheels, sport-tuned suspension, panoramic sunroof, side-mounted turn signal indicators, leather seats, steering wheel and shift knob, power driver’s seat with power lumbar support and aluminum pedals.

Individually, the options aren’t overtly impressive, but collectively the Style Package vaults an entry-level car into a new comfort category, which seems like a good thing for sustained travel.

The highway system in Colorado includes long stretches of open roads with speed limits of 75 mph. On my first day with the Elantra, I drove from Denver to Durango, about 335 miles. The trip was primarily in highway driving situations and periodically with a steady flow of traffic that approached 80 mph. The Elantra is rated at a combined 32 mpg, with 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. I averaged 33.7 mpg in my tank of fuel.


Attractive exterior design.

Good headroom and legroom in front, back seat headroom only adequate.

Comfortable seating.

Good visibility.

Tight turning radius.


Automatic transmission sluggish.

Cruise control functions require a learning curve.

Facts & Figures: 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 9.7 seconds.
Airbags (6):
First aid kit: No.
Fuel economy: 32 mpg (city), 39 mpg (highway), automatic transmission.
Government Safety Ratings: NTHSA, Not rated.
Horsepower: 148.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $19,395.00
Manufacturer’s Web site:
Price as tested: $23,015.00
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 5 years/60,000 miles; Power train, 7 years/100,000; Corrosion: 7 years/unlimited miles; Roadside Assistance, 5 years/unlimited miles.

What Others Say:

“People who associate the word “GT” with Mustangs or Volkswagen GTIs may chuckle at the Hyundai’s use of those high-po initials. But for buyers who seek a hatchback for its versatility, value and features — typically a much larger audience than the hot-hatch set — this GT gives Hyundai and Elantra fans another reason to smile.” —

“The current-generation Elantra sedan has made quite a statement in its segment, becoming a true compact-car contender in its three years on the market. And it’s frequently near the top of auto industry analysts’ monthly “shortest days in inventory” lists, meaning there’s more than sufficient demand. The Elantra GT, along with the new Elantra Coupe, will offer prospective sedan customers more choice.”

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

The Hyundai Elantra GT has all of the improvements and impressive warranty considerations the manufacturer has achieved in recent years, and that makes it worthy. But with an automatic transmission it’s not a particularly strong performer on high altitude mountain roads.

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