When Hyundai introduced the I30 hatchback to the European market last year, we suspected that we’d be getting a version to replace the aging Elantra Touring. That car debuts at this week’s Chicago Auto Show, and it’s called the Hyundai Elantra GT.
If you like the new Elantra’s styling, you’ll like the looks of the Elantra GT. Hyundai’s “Fluidic Sculpture” design returns, incorporating familiar styling elements like the hexagonal grille, the swept-back headlights, tastefully flared fenders, a strong character line atop the doors and sculpted rocker panels.
The windshield retains the steep rake used on other Elantra models, and the high beltline and low roof combine to give the Elantra GT a near concept-car appearance. It’s a more modern design than many of its competitors (like the Toyota Matrix and the Volkswagen Golf), and that will be enough to draw some buyers into Hyundai showrooms.
Inside, the Elantra GT gives buyers more interior volume than the Matrix, Golf, Mazda3 or Ford Focus. Since the rear seat cushions tilt upward, the rear seat backs can fold flat, giving the Elantra GT more cargo room than a Nissan Juke. Split rear seats allow owners to haul a variety of passengers, cargo or both.
The Elantra GT ups the interior content level over other Elantra models, too. Standard features include a cooled glove box, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel audio controls, a six-speaker, 172-watt audio system with USB and auxiliary input jacks and Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system.
Options available on the Elantra GT include a navigation system with a seven-inch touchscreen, leather upholstery, dual zone climate control with Clean Air ionizer, automatic headlights, side mirrors with integrated turn signals, a panoramic sunroof and a proximity key with a push-button start.
Power comes from the same 1.8-liter, 148-horsepower four-cylinder engine used throughout the Elantra product line. Mated to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, the Nu engine will deliver up to 28 mpg city and 39 mpg highway, aided by the Elantra GT’s light weight and slippery aerodynamic profile.
The Elantra GT is tuned for a sportier ride than the Elantra sedan, and comes with higher rear spring rates, a stiffer twist beam and premium dampers to reduce body roll in corners. It also benefits from Hyundai’s new Selectable Steering Mode, which gives drivers a choice of Comfort, Normal and Sport steering feel.
Safety is a big selling point for Hyundai these days, and the Elantra GT includes standard features like Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Traction Control System and Antilock Brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution. The GT comes with seven airbags, including a driver knee airbag.
Look for the Elantra GT to go on sale this summer, with pricing to come at a later date.
Want more coverage of the Chicago Auto Show? You’ll find it on our dedicated show page.