2013 Elantra New Car Test Drive
One of the best compact cars on the market, the 2013 Hyundai Elantra continues to be a winning combination of compelling styling, able performance and interior comfort. For 2013, there are more variants to love.
The 2013 Elantra Coupe two-door and 2013 Elantra GT five-door hatchback join the Elantra sedan four-door. With unique styling cues and driving characteristics, the Elantra Coupe and Elantra GT are positioned as sporty alternatives to the traditional sedan.
The Elantra Coupe is fun yet practical, and fits between the Elantra sedan and the more enthusiast-oriented Genesis Coupe. The Elantra GT replaces the old Elantra Touring model. The GT offers versatility and plenty of cargo space with European-inspired features and styling.
In addition to differences in dimensions and styling, the new Elantra Coupe and GT use unique suspension components for a stiffer ride. A V-beam rear suspension, instead of the torsion beam found on the sedan, gives the coupe and GT a firmer, more planted feel, and helps to reduce body roll around corners. Suspensions are tuned differently between models with standard 16-inch and optional 17-inch wheels, with the larger wheels receiving an even sportier treatment. The GT also offers three selectable steering modes, which offer heavier or lighter steering feel depending on preference.
Meanwhile, trims and pricing have been restructured slightly for the 2013 Hyundai Elantra sedan. Although the base 2013 Elantra GLS model starts at more than $1,000 over the 2012 model, it gets more standard features including air conditioning, a telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, and 16-inch (instead of 15-inch) wheels. On GLS models equipped with the automatic transmission, heated front seats are included with the optional Preferred Package.
We found all Elantra variants enjoyable to drive. The sedan's smooth ride and responsive handling make for a plush, but not numb, driving experience. The Coupe and GT models feel more connected to the road, without sacrificing road-trip comfort.
Inside, the Elantra sedan is roomy all around, especially by compact standards, with interior measurements comparable to those of a small midsize car. The coupe and GT, however, suffer from a lack of rear headroom due to the steeper rake of their rooflines. All Elantras offer top-of-the-class cargo space.
All models are powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque with a choice of 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Like most compacts, Elantra is front-wheel drive. Using lighter materials such as aluminum and plastic on engine parts helps to keep the Elantra family relatively lightweight, around 2,700 pound for the Coupe and a bit more for the GT. The sedan weighs in at around 2,900 pounds, which is good for a compact sedan. These lower curb weights help Elantra achieve solid performance and excellent fuel economy.
EPA ratings for all Elantra variants are some of the most competitive in the industry. Sedans are rated at 28/38 mpg City/Highway with both manual and automatic transmissions. That's better than the Ford Focus (26/36 mpg), Chevrolet Cruze (26/36 mpg), or Honda Civic (28/36 mpg). The Elantra Coupe is EPA-rated at 29/40 mpg with the manual and 28/39 mpg City/Highway with the automatic. The Elantra GT gets 27/39 mpg with the manual and 28/39 mpg with the automatic.
The Elantra four-door competes in the crowded compact sedan segment against the Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic, and Mazda3 sedans. The Elantra Coupe takes on the Honda Civic coupe and the Kia Forte Koup, along with larger, more expensive two-doors such as the Honda Accord. The five-door Elantra GT goes up against popular hatchbacks such as the Mazda3, Ford Focus and Toyota Matrix, as well as the Subaru Impreza hatch and Volkswagen Golf.
The 2013 Hyundai Elantra comes in three body styles: Elantra sedan four-door, Elantra Coupe two-door, and Elantra GT five-door hatchback. All are powered by the same 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with a choice of 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. All seat five.
Elantra GLS sedan ($16,695) comes standard with the 6-speed manual transmission, cloth upholstery, six-way manual driver's seat, manually operated air conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, six-speaker audio system with CD player, satellite radio capability and iPod/USB port; 60/40-split folding rear seat, power windows, locks and heated mirrors, tilt steering wheel, keyless entry, anti-theft system, trip computer, and 16-inch steel wheels. The automatic transmission ($1,000) is optional. A Preferred Package ($750) is available on GLS models equipped with the 6-speed automatic transmission that includes heated front seats, cloth inserts on the door trim, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, sliding center armrest, Bluetooth hands-free phone system with voice recognition, additional interior lighting, fog lights and alloy wheels.
Elantra Limited sedan ($20,945) comes only with the automatic transmission and includes leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, leather-wrapped wheel and shift knob, air conditioning, minor cabin upgrades, power sunroof, fog lights, mirror-imbedded turn signals, black chrome grille, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The Limited Technology Package ($2,350) adds pushbutton start, dual automatic climate control, navigation with 7-inch screen, rearview camera, 360-watt premium audio system and automatic headlights.
Elantra Coupe GS ($17,445) includes heated front seats, air conditioning, power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, steering-wheel mounted controls, sliding center arm rest, 60/40 split folding rear seats, a 6-speaker audio system with CD player, satellite radio capability, auxiliary jack and an iPod/USB port; fog lights and 16-inch alloy wheels. The automatic transmission is optional ($1,000).
Elantra Coupe SE ($19,745) adds leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a one-touch-up driver's window, aluminum pedals, sport-tuned suspension, power sunroof, a hood insulator, side mirrors with integrated turn signals, a rear spoiler and 17-inch alloy wheels. The Elantra Coupe SE can also be equipped with the Technology Package ($23,095) which includes the automatic transmission and everything found on the SE trim plus dual automatic climate control, navigation with 7-inch screen, upgraded 360-watt audio system, rearview camera and automatic headlights.
Elantra GT five-door ($18,395) comes standard with manual gearbox, air conditioning, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated front seats, cooled glove compartment, power accessories, cruise control, steering-wheel-mounted controls, 60/40 split folding rear seats, Bluetooth handsfree phone connectivity, a 6-speaker audio system with CD player, satellite radio capability, auxiliary jack and iPod/USB port; Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system, front fog lights, rear window wiper, rear spoiler, hood insulator and 16-inch alloy wheels. Elantra GT models equipped with the Style Package ($21,145) get leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a power driver's seat with power lumbar, aluminum pedals, a driver's side auto-up window, panoramic sunroof, sport-tuned suspension, side mirrors with integrated turn signals and 17-inch alloy wheels. The Elantra GT with the Tech Package ($23,495) includes navigation, dual automatic climate control, pushbutton start, a rearview camera and automatic headlights.
Safety features on all models include front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, and electronic stability control with Vehicle Stability Control, antilock brakes, brake assist, and traction control. GT models get a standard driver's knee airbag. The optional rearview camera improves safety by helping the driver spot children and pedestrians when backing up.