When you intend to go up against cars like the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Mazda3, it doesn’t matter how softly or loudly you speak, your stick had better be impressive. Hyundai believes it has just the thing in the 2013 Elantra GT, which is the updated moniker for the Elantra Touring (and a throwback to five-door Elantras of yore).
The GT is the U.S. version of the European i30, and it’s quite a looker if you’re a fan of Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture design language. Under the hood, you’ll find the same 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder as the sedan, sending 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque to the ground via either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. That puts it in the thick of a competitive set that, for Hyundai, also includes the Subaru Impreza and Toyota Matrix, but gives it the best power-to-weight ratio of them all. That’s because the Elantra GT is 57 percent ultra high- and high-tensile steel, which helps keep its weight down to a lightest-in-segment 2,784 pounds when equipped with the automatic transmission.
Fuel economy is the beneficiary, with the automaker estimating an EPA rating of 28 miles per gallon in the city and 39 mpg on the highway (32 combined). Hyundai says this is good for a cruising range up to 448 miles.
Driving pleasure will be attended to with a sport-tuned suspension that uses MacPherson struts up front aided by a stabilizer bar, and a torsion bar setup out back. The real pleasures, though, are claimed on the inside, where the Elantra GT is said to provide more cargo room than the aforementioned competition and even the Nissan Juke. The mod-cons are prodigious and include, as standard, a cooled glovebox, heated front seats, 10-way power driver’s seat, leather seating surfaces, automatic headlights, Bluetooth and seven airbags.