Vital Stats

Engine:
1.8L I4
Power:
148 HP / 131 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Auto
Drivetrain:
Front-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
2,959 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
23 / 51 CU-FT
MPG:
27 City / 37 HWY
Base Price:
$18,545
GT Stands For "Generous Trunk"



If ever there were an award for the most bastardized label in the automotive world, the Gran Turismo/Grand Touring/GT moniker would be an easy frontrunner. Once reserved solely for sporty coupes, the GT letters have taken a big hit over the years, but things got downright embarrassing with the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo. For 2013, Hyundai is helping to muddy the waters even further by slapping a GT badge onto the hatchback version of its top-selling model, the Elantra.

In the case of the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT, though, this name is just recycling the Elantra GT name from the early 2000s, albeit on a more stylish, modern and all-around better five-door. Hyundai has created quite a competitive lineup since its Fluidic Sculpture design language hit the market, but one area that it has paled in comparison to rival automakers is in the hatchback department. With a plethora of budget-minded compact cars currently on sale, Hyundai now finds itself in the unique position of being the only automaker to offer a compact sedan, coupe and hatchback with the 2013 Elantra. Still, with the compact segment more crowded than a public school classroom, we spent a week with the new Elantra GT to see how it stacks up against the hatchback competition.
2013 Hyundai Elantra GT side view2013 Hyundai Elantra GT front view2013 Hyundai Elantra GT rear view

Its dimensions make it arguably the most attractive and proportionate among the three Elantra bodystyles.

Compact car design has come a long way in recent years, and Hyundai has arguably been leading the way with the fifth-generation Elantra that is now a couple of years old. With their bulging wheel arches, strong character lines and oversized grilles, each version of the Elantra – coupe, sedan and hatchback – shares many traits with the others, yet all have their own identity. As is often the case with sedan and hatchback models, the GT is much shorter than the sedan, with its overall length reduced by nine inches and even a wheelbase that has been cut by two inches, but it is also two inches taller and marginally wider. The GT's dimensions make it arguably the most attractive and well-proportioned among the three Elantra bodystyles while providing the added passenger and cargo volume expected from a hatchback.

Even better, the 2013 Elantra GT has a more conventional hatchback design as opposed to the previous Elantra Touring that was a boxier station wagon. Both models are actually based on the European Hyundai i30, which is more like a close cousin to the Elantra rather than an identical twin, giving the Elantra sedan and GT similar but noticeably unique appearances. Aside from the obvious two-box design, the Elantra GT's face is more upright with a larger grille, and it also offers unique wheel options, including these 17-inch alloy wheels with chrome pockets.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT grille2013 Hyundai Elantra GT headlight2013 Hyundai Elantra GT wheel2013 Hyundai Elantra GT taillight

This Elantra GT rolled into our driveway with a $25,365 asking price.

The subtle differences between the Elantra and the i30-based GT hatchback continue inside the car where the sedan's Coke-bottle-shaped center stack gets a flatter, more conservative look. Overall, Hyundai is pretty consistent with the interiors of its current lineup, so you'll still get plenty of dark colors, swoopy lines and blue backlighting. Hyundai's interior design work has definitely helped step up the game of a segment that not too long ago saw power windows and door locks as standout features. The features list on this tester includes standard equipment like Blutetooth, heated front seats and Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system, as well as options like perforated leather seats, a panoramic sunroof and navigation system. Even with all of these features, the Elantra GT should still be fairly priced for potential buyers to cross-shop other hatchbacks since it comes standard in a single, well-equipped trim level with a limited number of option packages.

The base Elantra GT comes in at just under $20,000, but our tester came with both the Style and Tech packages that make the inside of the car feel like anything but an economy hatchback. As tested, this Elantra GT rolled into our driveway with a $25,365 asking price, which is priced competitively against a similarly optioned Ford Focus 5-Door while carrying a feature list that is enough to make some Japanese competitors – namely the Mazda3 and Toyota Matrix – blush.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT interior2013 Hyundai Elantra GT front seats2013 Hyundai Elantra GT rear seats2013 Hyundai Elantra GT rear cargo area

Buyers can get the manual transmission even on a fully loaded model.

In a day when high beltlines and thick door pillars are making cars feel like claustrophobic tanks, the cabin, especially with the panoramic roof, feels airy and offers excellent visibility. And although the size of the Elantra GT has shrunk in comparison to the sedan, there is no lack of space inside this car with rear seat passengers getting plenty of head and legroom and a maximum cargo capacity of 51 cubic feet of cargo, which is enough to put the Elantra GT among the top of its class. Lowering the seatbacks is a two-step process that requires the seat bottoms to be folded up out of the way, and while this does take an extra step over and above some easier flip-and-tumble mechanisms, it results in a perfectly flat load surface. There's actually little to be disappointed with about the styling of the interior, but if we had to offer a gripe about the car's cabin, it would be the fact that most of the major buttons are so big that they look like they were intended for use on a Jitterbug cell phone.

Like its single-trim lineup, Hyundai continues to keep things easy under the hood of the entire Elantra lineup with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder producing 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque as the sole engine. The only powertrain option you get with the Elantra GT is your choice of transmission: either a six-speed automatic or manual. Our car came with the automatic, which turned out to be one of its biggest downfalls, as it offered sluggish shifts that never felt comfortably quick enough while driving around town. It's possible that the transmission has just been programmed to maximize fuel efficiency, which, even after the well-publicized reduction in fuel economy last year, still returns a decent 27 miles per gallon in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. Fortunately, since the Elantra GT only comes in a single trim level with available options, buyers can get the manual transmission even on a fully loaded model.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT engine

We credit most of this hatchback's driving enjoyment to its relatively low curb weight.

In spite of the automatic transmission, the Elantra GT can be fun to drive for what it is thanks to its surprisingly good power-to-weight ratio. Hyundai says that the optional Style Package adds a sport-tuned suspension, but we credit most of this hatchback's driving enjoyment to its relatively low curb weight. Hyundai says that the Elantra GT with the automatic transmission ranges from 2,784 pounds up to 2,959 pounds without being specific, but our tester's panoramic sunroof, bigger wheels and fully loaded interior technology would likely peg it at the top end of the scale. Looking at the spec sheet, the GT only packs about an extra 100 pounds over the sedan, yet it's still about 200 pounds lighter than the Mazda3, which is probably the sportiest budget hatch on the market.

Now, the Elantra GT isn't going to make you the king of the autocross, but it doesn't feel like an unenthusiastic, top-heavy economy car either, at least with Active Eco not selected. The Active Eco driving mode considerably numbs the throttle to optimize efficiency, but it obviously does so at the expense of responsiveness. A word of advice here: If you're about to pass a car, be sure this button is in the "OFF" position unless you like playing chicken with oncoming traffic, as downshifts come in much later than expected. During our First Drive of this car, we noted that the engine felt "gutless" going up hills at low engine speeds, but our time with the GT for this review was on the flat roads of Northeast Florida and the engine managed just fine in these conditions.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT steering mode display2013 Hyundai Elantra GT active ECO button

The ride quality is one of the Elantra GT's bright spots.

Although the powertrain is fair at best, the ride quality is one of the Elantra GT's bright spots. This hatchback proves that a compact car doesn't have to suffer from a cost-cutting suspension with Jell-O-like qualities nor must it have an artificially stiff, molar-loosening sport suspension; instead, Hyundai delivers a surprisingly smooth ride with an impressively quiet cabin. In fact, the most noticeable disruption that makes its way into the cabin is an odd whirring noise that comes from the rear of the car whenever the transmission is shifted into Reverse. As it turns out, this annoying noise came from the rearview camera that pops out from behind the motorized Hyundai badge on the liftgate when backing up. It's a great way to keep the car's lines clean, but the execution just misses the mark since the noise sounds out of place.

Another technology that plagues the Elantra GT is the Driver Selectable Steering Mode, which we've harped on in reviews of other Hyundais before. This feature, which is quickly spreading through the Hyundai and Kia ranks, uses a button on the steering wheel that allows drivers to instantly change the weight of the steering system using Sport, Normal and Comfort modes. During our week with the car, we found that the Sport mode actually made the car easier to drive in highway driving, while Normal was better suited for driving around the city; we never figured out a time where you would purposefully want the overly assisted and sluggish response of Comfort mode. Looking for a little adventure? Keep the Elantra GT in Active Eco mode and toss the steering into Comfort and you'll feel like you just mixed the wrong drugs.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT rear 3/4 view

At the end of our time with the 2013 Elantra GT, it was obvious just how far compact hatchbacks have come in recent years. The Elantra, once a car you bought on a budget, now makes for a great purchase decision on its own merits for reasons other than price. The leather-clad interior of our tester, for instance, is probably better than what you find in a mid-level luxury car from just a few years ago, and the same goes for the styling, too. Looking back at some of the recent hatchbacks sold in the US, it's easy to see why these five-doors have gotten such a bad rap, but hopefully this new breed of cargo-friendly compacts can help erase most of the bad memories from our minds. Rather than repurposing the played-out GT tag, maybe one day this Elantra will proudly wear an HB badge.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 118 Comments
      BC
      • 1 Year Ago
      "results in a perfectly flat load surface" It does in your uplevel test car, but without the $950 "Touch & Go" package or the $2750 "Style" package (and the base car is actually pretty nice if you're not a chrome or gadget freak), you don't get the underfloor storage tray and there's a height difference between the cargo floor and the folded seat backs. What annoys me is that after looking at dozens of cars at several local dealers, there were no cars with the Style package that didn't also have the $2350 Tech package (Tech requires Style, but not vice versa). That takes a $19-20K car to a $24-25K car, and unlike the current or soon-to-be 2014 Kia Forte 5-door EX to SX, you don't get an engine/power upgrade. That's also getting into the price range of a Mazda3 i Grand Touring or a pretty nicely equipped Focus 5-door.
        D.N.
        • 11 Months Ago
        @BC
        BC... if you get the Style and Tech packages you should be able to get the price down at least $2000 off the sticker. Heck, I didn't even haggle and the dealer came down $1000 on my base model.
      D.N.
      • 11 Months Ago
      I bought a GT (base model with automatic) and am very pleased with it thus far. It currently has 20K miles and I'm averaging 34 mpg driving in mixed but mostly highway miles. And those highway miles are often rush hour stop n go through congested areas. Power from the 1.8 is adequate. Off the line it's fine but allow a few seconds to spool up if passing on a 2 lane road. The ride is very relaxed, comfortable and quiet. The base stereo is fine. AM/FM/XM usb, cd, mp3, bluetooth music can be played through the system. Available navigation by subscription from Hyundai Blue Link... which I have. Get this, I let my sister and mother drive it on a long trip and they got lost and called me. Using Blue Link on my cell phone I was able to download directions directly to the car. So cool! Also, using Blue Link on my cell phone I can unlock the doors if someone should lock the keys in the car. The homelink mirror, another option my car has, has 3 built in garage door openers and a compass display and auto dimming mirror for night driving. I can press the Blue Link button and find restaurants, gas stations, have the operator download directions. Bluetooth keeps me legal when I use my cell phone while driving. Illinois just passed a law, no hand held cell phones in use by the driver.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        D.N.
        • 11 Months Ago
        That would definitely require a more potent engine that the 1.8. I don't know why Hyundai doesn't drop the 2.4 from the Sonata as an option. I would have spent an extra grand on that.
      biffkitty
      • 1 Year Ago
      With just over a year of ownership my wife is extremely happy with this car. We have the base model with the only option being the automatic. The Style version was a big upgrade in interior quality, but in our opinion the price of this option was a deal breaker for us, it brought several other competitors into the game. The engine is relatively sluggish unless pushed and works better out of ECO mode. In city driving with AC on she only gets 27-28 mpg, when I drove it for a tankful to see what the max MPG I could get was I got 39.75, but that was driving it like a hyper miler. Since she has changed her driving habits somewhat and has squeezed between 29-31 average MPG, but the mileage is the sole disappointment. By the way, the dash mileage display reads consistently 2 MPG high. On the open highway, once speeds exceed 65 mph the mileage drops under 34 MPG, at 60 mpg it averages 36 plus. Cargo room is very generous, the interior is bright and spacious and visibility is excellent. The long raked windshield does allow a lot of FL heat to enter, especially with the black dash, but this is typical of many cars. The driving position is excellent for both a short person and for my 6' frame. I enjoy driving the car as much as her, the electric steering in this car is of higher quality that our BMW Z4, sad but true. Overall we are very pleased with our purchase, if we knew the MPG would be this low it may have changed our decision, but it all depends how and where you drive it. 40 mpg is attainable is your daily route is non-city, with few traffic lights and average speeds in the 35-55 mph range,
        D.N.
        • 11 Months Ago
        @biffkitty
        I have a '13 GT also. I avg 34 mostly highway miles. If I drive 65mph on the flat freeways of southern Illinois I often get over 40... sometimes as high was 44. I admit that I drive with a light foot. Some folks think that because it looks like a sports car it should be driving like one. But in reality, it's an economy car. If you drive it like an economy car you get better mpg. Enjoy your GT ... I sure enjoy mine.
      droo2u
      • 1 Year Ago
      May I ask what you men by the "HB" badge?
        jeffreynross
        • 1 Year Ago
        @droo2u
        as in Hatch Back... really, i don't see why Hyundai couldn't do what Ford does with the Focus and not have a separate designation for each Elantra model
      FIDTRO
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wonder if Hyundai will give out gas cards to customers to compenasate for the poorly quality and crappy engineering of this garbage product?
        knightrider_6
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FIDTRO
        did VW compensate the owner when his rebadged Golf caught fire? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cp6yM6M7ips
          May
          • 1 Year Ago
          @knightrider_6
          R8 is nor rebadged Golf, TT is.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @knightrider_6
          [blocked]
      tiguan2.0
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sorry, but this price you can get a Beetle Coupe, a GTi or Golf, heck, a slightly used Audi A3. I guess some suckers will bite and buy a Hyundai at this price, but they WILL regret it.
        KnowYourHerb
        • 1 Year Ago
        @tiguan2.0
        Beetle/GTI don't have the cargo room or the accessibility of 4 doors. The Golf has less cargo room, and a used Audi is a reliability nightmare. The brand new car with more room and a full warranty seems like a better deal here.
          bonehead
          • 1 Year Ago
          @KnowYourHerb
          Honestly when comparing econo cars that i dont really care about but im looking for cheap/reliable/practical. NOTHING beats the scion xB. New for $17k, 156hp ancient but reliable motor. 69cuft of cargo space with fold flat seats. Crazy high resale, and perhaps one of the most reliable cars on the road. Sure there is lots to hate but there is also lots to love. Im sad to see that car go instead of being re-designed with an eye toward the old model. Also sad to see the matrix/vibe go since they were another similar type car. The fit is trying to be these cars but it is just so much smaller and more expensive.
          Dayv
          • 1 Year Ago
          @KnowYourHerb
          Golf/GTI have 46 cubic feet with the seats down, and the GTI is available with 4 doors. The Elantra's fold-flat seats definitely help the cargo capacity, but if they're anything like those in a Honda Fit, the comfort level takes a real hit from building in that much mobility. Elantra GT and VW Golf are totally worth comparing against each other if someone is looking in the hatchback market and doesn't have an established preference. The GTI is in a totally separate class until Hyundai decides to make a sporty version of this hatch (which they totally should). I completely cede the point on used vs. new arguments, though. That's a dishonest way to try to make any new car look overpriced.
      dovegraybird
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Hyundai fanboys can tout all the quality awards they want to, I am not ready to trust again. I had the misfortune of owning two of these, both POS. The second was so bad it made my ex wife's Chevy Citation look like a quality product. Yes everything was under warranty, but I'd rather have the car in my garage than the shop.
        owenrec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @dovegraybird
        What years were they? Obviously the Hyundai of today has nothing in common with the rattletrap Excels that I remember from High School.
          carnut0913
          • 1 Year Ago
          @owenrec
          I had a 2011 Genesis Coupe- with quality problems the duration of owning it. substantial leather peel on 2 steering wheels in less than 25000 miles, leather wear on the seats that was more consistent with 5 or 6 year old vehicle, electric start problems, AC compressor and alternator problems. It was a fun car. I enjoyed the 3.8 but lasting quality is not a term I will use on a Hyundai for a while. And I had to fight tooth and nail on anything that wasnt a safety issue with the warranty.
          Luke Scrase
          • 1 Year Ago
          @owenrec
          The only reason I do not own a Genesis Coupe is because of the quality of the car. It came about before the Hyundai revolution so poor materials are still used. That will completely change when the new model comes about next year, and so will whats in my driveway.
        Awhattup
        • 1 Year Ago
        @dovegraybird
        welcome to 21st century lmao
          dovegraybird
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Awhattup
          Last time I checked 2002 and 2005 were in the 21st century
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      I might take some heat for this, but seriously, like most Hyundai's, I can only see this being piloted by a 26 year old woman who thinks the car is "pretty and didn't cost too much". I feel like most of the drivers of Elantra, Accent, Sonata and especially Veloster are mostly women. Any man with a sense of taste and eye for cars would probably steer clear of something like this.
        brandobean
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        I think your letting your own personal tastes bias your answer. Research shows women tend to buy: 1) smaller cars 2) imports 3) reliable cars 4) less flashy cars. Men buy 1) domestic and Germany cars 2) fast, flashy or brawny cars. So by that rough demographic, sure this car probably skews female but the difference between cars that skew female and male is usually only about 10% (give or take a Jeep or ford f150 etc). So in summary, sure maybe 10 percent (at most) more women might buy this than men, I don't think that supports your statement.
          D.N.
          • 11 Months Ago
          @brandobean
          Wow brandobean... you are kinda geeky. :-)
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      I truly hated my experience in the Veloster Turbo and Veloster base model, so I can't even imagine liking this one. So before anybody drops $25k on this consider the following. Focus ST- $23,700 Subaru WRX - $25,795 Honda Fit (fully loaded) - $22,000 Mini Clubman- $21,400 Mini Countryman S $26,000 Mazda 3 5door $20,000 Of course these are just some similarly priced much more stylish vehicles to consider before you run out and put down 25 large on this Hyundai.
        Luke Scrase
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        I think you're missing the point. This is not a performance car. It was never meant to be one, it will never be one. This is a nicely sized, well refined, well optioned family hatchback. Not a single vehicle you listed can compete in regard to equipment, refinement, economy and reliability at that price point. Rock hard suspension and going fast isn't for everyone. With that said, Hyundai do offer performance based cars at that price point, the Genesis Coupe 2.0T and Sonata SE 2.0T(sans WRX(maybe)) will outrun any car on your list. And the Sonata will do it in more comfort with more features delivering better fuel economy, superior reliability and resale.
          foxtrot685
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Luke Scrase
          Plus all of the cars he listed are base prices. Start loading any of them up like the Hyundai, ESPECIALLY the Minis, and watch the prices climb. I love how people will compare a fully loaded price to a base model price just to try to make somewhat of a point.
          IBx27
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Luke Scrase
          Longer warranty =/= "superior reliability."
          Luke Scrase
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Luke Scrase
          Trailbike. The Subaru is spartan compared to the Hyundai in this circumstance. The WRX does not come with nav at that price, it is an available option. The equipment on a base WRX is equivalent a mid level accent for $17,000. The Elantra has power, leather, heated seats, panoramic roof, Bluelink Telematics System, Driver selectable steering and many, many more features. The WRX cannot compete in that arena. I'm not a Hyundai or Subaru fan boy, I have owned models from both companies (05 LGT LTD WGN 5SP) (12 Sonata 2.0T) I'm just saying, when you compare apples, use apples.
          TRAILbrake
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Luke Scrase
          The Sonata 2.0T and twin Optima 2.0T are hardly performance cars outside of straight line acceleration; you might as well lump the Camry SE V6 with those spec' sheet warriors. A base WRX and Focus ST come with many standard features. A base WRX comes with bluetooth, usb/ipod connectivity, voice activated GPS, climate control, steering wheel HVAC controls, etc. Hardly the spartan tombs that most people associate with the "base model" label.
          Scooter
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Luke Scrase
          Which is why I only named hatch backs with similar cargo space, most have more functionality for the same or tiny bit more.
          Bryan Pizzuti
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Luke Scrase
          If they don't want it to be considered a performance car then they shouldn't be using "GT" to label it.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Luke Scrase
          [blocked]
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        [blocked]
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        [blocked]
          Scooter
          • 1 Year Ago
          Cost the same as fully loaded Elantra GT, 'cept many of the models I named are far more powerful, much more fun to drive, and many of them of worlds apart in overall value/material quality. This car should cost at best, around $19,500 but the economics of the auto industry greatly inflate the value of even the most basic of cars.
        Sanchez
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        Base price for this car is under $20K.
      scion_tc
      • 1 Year Ago
      Add to the list of much better cars for the price. Cars I'd pick over a krappy Korean Kar. Subaru XV Crossteck $21K Subaru Impreza 5-door $18K
      Scr
      • 1 Year Ago
      I had the original Elantra GT back in 2001.5 and loved it. I actually miss that car at times. However, I\'m waiting for this Elantra\'s cousin, the 2014 Kia Forte 5 Door SX. It wlll come equipped with a 201-HP/195 lb.ft Turbochaged GDI 4 banger with a 6 speed manual available and loaded with stuff, including the UVO system. Plus, I think both the interior and exterior looks better.
        Bryan Pizzuti
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scr
        If only they'd release the thing already...they just keep saying "Summer" or "Q3."
          KnowYourHerb
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bryan Pizzuti
          Well since Q3 starts in July and ends in September, they still have time to meet the deadline.
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