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2018 Hyundai Elantra GT GLS

2.Zero-liter inline-four, DOHC (162 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm; 150 lb-ft @ four,700 rpm)

Six-speed computerized, front-wheel drive

24 metropolis / 32 freeway / 27 mixed (EPA Score, MPG)

9.four metropolis / 7.2 freeway / eight.four mixed (NRCan Score, L/100km)

30.5 mpg [7.7 L/100 km] (Noticed)

Base Value: $20,235 (U.S) / $22,281.50 (Canada)

As Examined: $22,035 (U.S.) / $25,931.50 (Canada)

Costs embody $885 vacation spot cost in the USA and $1,832.50 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, due to cross-border tools variations, can’t be straight in contrast.

Again in late June, Hyundai’s Canadian division bundled myself and a gaggle of fellow journalists right into a Quebec lodge, then proceeded to clarify how crossovers are consuming the compact automobile’s lunch.

The 2018 Elantra GT, the corporate’s representatives stated, nearly didn’t occur due to the unstoppable recognition of high-riding, cavernous utility automobiles. Hyundai’s U.S. crew apparently wanted convincing that the next-generation GT was even definitely worth the hassle. Basically simply an overseas-market i30 with a reputation change, the brand new GT’s North American salvation got here from the very fact few consumers opted for an Elantra-badged hatchback in recent times. Much more consumers take dwelling a Ford Focus or Mazda Three with 5 doorways.

And so, having been assured much-improved GT — a hatchback with extra cargo room, extra obtainable energy, higher dealing with and sporting prowess, and cohesive, flirting-with-premium seems — would increase general Elantra gross sales, we’ve come to this. An Elantra GT, now with extra GT.

In GT Sport trim, the vastly reshaped, fourth-generation compact hatch dons the turbocharged 2.Zero-liter four-cylinder from the Elantra Sport, calls dibs on its athletic cousin’s sporty transmissions, and goes to city delivering value-packed driving pleasure for the commuter who likes taking the lengthy (and twisty) approach dwelling. This tester, nevertheless, isn’t any Elantra GT Sport. Nope. It’s the plain ol’ Elantra GT — the Elantra GT you’ll see much more usually than the throaty, scrappy Sport, most likely whereas its proprietor performs the mundane cargo-hauling duties Hyundai so desperately needs its consumers to aim.

Even in base type, Hyundai hopes the Elantra GT’s sporting skills and beneficiant cargo quantity whispers a siren track would-be subcompact crossover consumers merely can’t ignore. Is it a convincing come-on?

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT, Image: Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars

“Fortunately” for me (most journalists would certainly regard my plight with pity), I used to be ready to search out out. This tester embodied the volume-model persona to a “T.” Whereas U.S. Elantra GTs arrive in two trims — GT and GT Sport — these chilly creatures throughout the border see every U.S. trim damaged down into two extra: GL and GLS, plus Sport and Sport Final. This tester was a GT GLS, primarily an entry-level mannequin outfitted with fashionable choices and 17-inch wheels.

The large information for 2018, at the least to any observer, is design, design, design. The GT’s top-down re-do seems mature, leaning in direction of the Germanic, with straight strains and an extended nostril fronted with air-curtain vents and a big grille. A conventional two-box form. None of this clashing angles or bland oval crap.

Total size is up 1.6 inches, with width rising by Zero.6 inches. A barely decrease experience top and extra upright rear glass provides as much as an impression of higher size.

Associates incapable of giving reward to a Korean hatchback for any purpose stayed silent on the tester’s seems. For what it’s price, those that could be available in the market for a compact within the foreseeable future have been immediate converts —my father, proprietor of two small crossovers, amongst them. This information little question offers hope to nervous Hyundai execs.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT, Image: Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars

Below the hood sits one other perk: a direct-injection 2.Zero-liter four-cylinder pumping out considerably higher oomph than a base Elantra sedan — 162 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque. (That’s really down from final 12 months’s sole providing: a 173-horse, 154 lb-ft 2.Zero-liter.)

Naturally, marshaling that base energy to the entrance wheels is a six-speed computerized, solely becoming for a quantity mannequin. There’s a six-speed handbook obtainable, one thing I craved each second of my week spent on this car. Not as a result of the bottom GT is a slug, or that it could actually’t sustain with the duties of a contemporary compact — somewhat, it’s as a result of a stick-shift would solely improve the GT’s lengthy listing of positives.

Hyundai’s German engineering braintrust endowed the i30 fourth-gen GT’s physique with 53 p.c high-strength metal (up from 27 p.c), further structural adhesive and sound insulation, whereas reducing the variety of physique elements from 418 to 314. All of it interprets into a much more inflexible construction than earlier than. Appreciation grew with each pavement crack and chopped-up curve, with the GT emitting zero rattles or squeaks, even with that liftgate out again. Preserving its composure in examine is a refined-feeling suspension — agency however forgiving — which softens jolts small and huge with out feeling like a skateboard.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT, Image: Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars

The GT Sport examined in June checked quite a few sizzling(ter) hatch packing containers, however highway imperfections got here calling by means of the firmer suspension. Tossing the factor across the hills (and one parking-lot dealing with course) revealed much less physique roll greater than the already regular GT — kudos to a rear anti-roll bar and unbiased multi-link suspension — however each fashions can solely take a nook with a lot gusto earlier than the entrance finish washes out.

Sure, the expertise of throwing this quantity GT into a good flip — manumatic locked into 2nd gear, after all (*sigh*) — quickly elicits reminiscences of the 1970s cop flicks you watched as a baby. Is there a Dodge Polara close by? No wait, that’s you. Embarrassing front-tire squeal from even cautious makes an attempt at corner-carving reveals this competent commuter, shod with upgraded 225/45 R17 tires in GLS trim, wants stickier rubber earlier than enjoying the position of worth performer.

Nonetheless, the potential’s there. Even the properly weighted steering offers a shocking quantity of suggestions.

That low-drag rubber additionally retains issues moderately quiet at velocity, although wind noise wasn’t helped by the elective panoramic sunroof. Who buys a compact hatch with considered one of these, actually? Have we hit peak glass? It’s a transparent promoting level for Hyundai, and I’ll admit to creating ample use of it. It additionally brightens up the roomy, two-tone cabin (sorry, monochrome motifs solely within the GT Sport, although colourful accents abound).

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT, Image: Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars

Nevertheless, the actual story, as Hyundai would inform it, stays the inside quantity. Horsepower’s good, and experience high quality, too, however cargo house is king on North American roads. As such, the GT’s crossover-fighting cargo space is the very first thing talked about in Hyundai advertising and marketing supplies. With 24.9 cubic toes behind the rear seats and 55.1 cubes with backseat folded, there’s nearly sufficient room on the almost flat floor to lie down and take a nap (I attempted, however alas…too tall). There’s even a 12-volt plug again there, presumably for wild and loopy liftgate events.

Quantity-wise, the Elantra GT smokes the Chevrolet Cruze hatch, Volkswagen Golf, Mazda Three, Toyota Corolla iM and Ford Focus five-door. Rating one for Hyundai. It’s additionally extra cargo room than you’ll discover, seats up or down, within the Chevrolet Trax, Mazda CX-Three, Jeep Renegade and Toyota CH-R. Honda’s subcompact HR-V falls behind the GT in rear cargo quantity, however beats the GT by just below four cubes with seats folded.

Clearly, the GT doesn’t present the perk of accessible all-wheel drive or a lifted experience top, although you received’t discover AWD on a C-HR or Kia Niro (or Soul) possibility listing, both.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT, Image: Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars

All GTs arrive with an eight.Zero-inch touchscreen rising from the centre stack, every geared up with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. A number of driver’s aids fall into the “obtainable” class. This uplevel tester boasted the 2 nannies drivers need above all else: blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Whereas it excels in lots of areas, every week within the GT wasn’t with out gripes. The entrance seats, whereas not uncomfortable, stay on the flat aspect. The engine, easy and quiet at velocity, doesn’t precisely emit a knee-weakening word underneath laborious acceleration, and the elective computerized is merely okay. Rear-seat passengers will discover their knees threatened by laborious plastic seat backs that look plucked from the 1990s. As nicely, very tall back-seat passengers endure the identical lack of headroom discovered wherever panoramic sunroofs roam (although six-footers needn’t fear). Navigation, at all times a perk, stays reserved for consumers with deeper pockets.

With a pre-delivery entry value of $19,350 within the U.S. and $20,449 in Canada, the Elantra GT reveals Hyundai hasn’t misplaced its head and forgotten the corporate’s conventional worth proposition. In base trim, a Elantra GT retails for $350 lower than the much less capacious Honda Civic hatch. In GT Sport guise, the little Hyundai undercuts the worth of a Volkswagen Golf GTI by greater than $2,000. (In the meantime, Honda’s Civic Si isn’t obtainable in a five-door bodystyle.)

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT

Sadly, sweeping variations in trim and tools between Canada and U.S. Hyundai fashions makes for a tough pricing scenario. This GLS tester retailed for $25,931.50 after supply, taxes and costs, geared up with all choices discovered within the $1,800 U.S. GT A/T Fashion Package deal, plus the $1,000 computerized transmission. Nevertheless, within the U.S., panoramic sunroof availability (commonplace on a Canuck GLS) requires the acquisition of the $four,300 Tech Package deal.

With that package deal, you’ll acquire LED headlamps and taillights, leather-based, a bunch of creature comforts (together with upgraded audio), and Hyundai’s Blue Hyperlink related automobile system.

It’s a tricky world for any new compact automobile. You realize it, we all know it, and Hyundai is aware of it. Nonetheless, with its four-generation Elantra GT, the Korean automaker has produced a formidable car in a section as soon as recognized for yawns, not lust. The supply of a really sporting powertrain solely makes the brand new GT extra fascinating.

To some, focusing on the GT’s advertising and marketing at would-be crossover customers would possibly look like desperation. Nevertheless, if even a small fraction of these individuals are value-conscious and able to appreciating driving dynamics, it might be a sensible transfer. Possibly shopping for a automobile isn’t a foolish factor to do in spite of everything, they’ll assume.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT

[Images: © Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars]

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