With the non-American oil producing countries going hog-wild on oil prices and the way oil companies seem to have no reserve on their raising of gasoline prices, more and more car buyers are looking toward compact cars for a bit of relief.
That is why we have seen a proliferation of compact offerings from nearly all the car companies. Hyundai continues to see an increase in popularity with their entire model lineup, but particularly the Elantra compact series. I have been enthusiastic at recommending the Elantra sedan to friends and family. Not only does it provide sharp styling inside and out, it also offers a great deal of features for a great value.
Though buyers want economical features on their cars they do not want to give up the excitement and fun that more adventurous and sporty vehicles offer. In that light, manufacturers are rushing to bring sporty and fun to drive compact offerings to market.
With the introduction of the Elantra GT Hyundai is broadening the scope and reach of the Elantra line up. The Elantra GT is also targeting a younger buyer to bring attention to the Hyundai brand. The great thing about the Elantra GT is it will also attract plenty of older buyers who want a compact car that also offers a spirited driving experience.
With the huge success the Elantra sedan is experiencing it seemed quite reasonable for Hyundai designers to retain the basic styling while adding individual characteristics for the GT. The biggest and most noticeable is the addition of the five-door configuration. More European in style the Five-door offers a versatility that isn’t found on four-door models.
Giving the GT a more individualistic and sportier look Hyundai added a differentiating grille insert, as well as a more aggressive lower valence which incorporates driving lights. But, the mere fact that the GT is a hatchback body design gives a more Euro appearance and feel.
Powered by the same 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine as the sedan may seem short sided, but in actuality it performs quite well. This engine shares the 148 horsepower and 131 lb-ft. of torque that feels a bit more responsive here than it does in the sedan. More a perception than a reality. The high note across the Elantra line including here with the GT is the satisfying 37 miles per gallon fuel economy achieved.
I am also quite happy that Hyundai has chosen to equip the Elantra GT with a real, genuine automatic transmission. Not a CVT! Woo-hoo. This is attention other auto companies should pay their compacts. Increased fuel mileage can be achieved without that rubber band feel and without sacrificing emotion.
The base Elantra GT is equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission, which offers up smooth and quick shifting between gears. The ratio spread between gears is a good combination for responsiveness and fuel economy. The 6-speed automatic that is optional is equipped with Hyundai’s Shiftronic manual shifting mode that allows the driver to shift gears manually. Both modes offer up a sporty driving experience.
Elantra GT uses high-strength steel in many areas that provides 37 percent increase in body stiffness. This in turn allows a lower body weight helping in increasing fuel economy while increasing body safety. According to Hyundai, weighing in at 2,784 pounds the Elantra GT equipped with automatic transmission is the lightest of the competitor compacts.
The ability of providing a suspension system that capable of providing excellent ride comfort while also increasing handing abilities is an offshoot of this rigid platform structure. The Elantra GT is equipped with MacPherson struts with gas shocks in the front and a torsion beam in the rear. The suspension is tuned for a high level of responsiveness.
Hyundai has given the Elantra GT a number of standard features one might not expect, such as cooled glove compartment and heated front seats. Couple the compilation of features, performance and economy with a starting price of $18,545 makes the Elantra GT an attractive entry to the compact market.