Compact hatchbacks often deserve more credit. They’re positioned in an unglamorous car segment, but they’re difficult to beat considering their combination of durability, economy, performance, space and style.
New for 2018, the Hyundai Elantra GT expands the South Korean manufacturer’s lineup to further compete with hatchback stalwarts like the Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic, Mazda 3, Subaru Impreza and Volkswagen Golf.
The standard Elantra sedan includes a four-cylinder 147-horsepower engine. There’s also a four-cycling turbo-charged option with 128 horsepower. The GT, my test vehicle, adds further variety with 2.0-liter, 161 horsepower configuration matched to the same four-cylinder engine. The sport model has 201 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard and a six-speed manual transmission is also available.
The Hyundai Elantra has been available in the United States for 30 years. The GT has the brand’s global success to uphold since more the five million Elantras have been sold in 190 countries.
None of the Elantra siblings should be described as zippy, speedy with any related superlatives. But the hatchback’s solid handling and firm ride help overcome its lack of sports car tendencies.
The GT trim doesn’t accelerate like a performance-oriented vehicle, either. But the Elantra GT corners well and feels more authoritative than is specs. It advances from 0-60 miles per hour in 8.0 seconds. Gas mileage estimates are 24 miles per gallon in city driving, 32 miles per gallon on the highway.
The Elantra hatchback has 25 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up; the sedan Elantra has 14 cubic feet. But with the rear seats folded nearly flat, the cargo space expands an 30 additional cubic feet. It’s the best total numbers in the compact hatchback class.
In addition to its strong technology features, Elantra GT hatchback includes: heated door mirrors, a 3.5-inch driver-information display in the gauge cluster, automatic headlights and Bluetooth phone connectivity.
The standard equipment list allows the Elantra to remain on par or better its top contenders. Except for the base model, features also include: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heated front seats, blind-spot monitoring, dual-zone automatic climate control and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Not all Hyundai’s competitors have all of those features available.
And there’s more. Standard also are full power accessories, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with redundant audio controls, an audio system with satellite radio capability, a rearview camera, seven airbags, remote keyless entry and hill-start assist
Hyundai has been a warranty leader for many years. While the top-selling Honda Civic is a resale marvel, the manufacturer only provides a 3-year, 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, Hyundai offers a five-year, 60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, the best in the industry.
The Elantra GT hatchback has a handsome exterior with sculpted lines, a look reminiscent of small European sports cars.
The interior’s design and materials shouldn’t be mistaken for anything other than what might be expected in a compact, low-priced hatchback. Hard plastic dominates, but there’s also soft plastic and satisfactory grade cloth upholstery.
Hyundai also has a knack for simple, efficient interior designs. Rear seat comfort is limited, and that’s the only downfall. Gauges are easy to see and logical to use; the learning curve is minimal.
With its optional automatic transmission and carpeted floor mats added into the mix, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for new Elantra family member is $27,460. It’s money well spent and defines value.