Car Reviews

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT First Look

Sport model adds 1.6-liter engine

Sport model adds 1.6-liter engine

A new Hyundai Elantra GT arrives at dealerships this spring, just in time to compete with the Chevrolet Cruze hatch and the Honda Civic hatch. The model features updated powertrains and a new look that distinguishes it from other entries in the Hyundai lineup.

Based on the next-generation Hyundai i30, the Elantra GT was designed with European styling in mind, Hyundai says. The new model eschews the horizontal-slatted grille of the previous model and adopts a brand-new cascading grille design. Slender new lights complement a sleek, long hood and a short rear overhang. The automaker says the Elantra GT is lower, wider, and longer than the previous generation.

Once again, the Elantra GT will offer a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. But this unit, which previously produced 173 hp, now makes an estimated 162 hp. A six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmission are available.

Elantra GT Sport models receive a new 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder good for 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. This engine comes paired to either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual clutch. In this model, a fully independent multilink suspension replaces the standard rear torsion beam setup, and 18-inch alloy wheels replace standard 17-inchers. The Sport model also receives larger front and rear brake rotors.

For improved driving dynamics, the structure of the Elantra GT uses almost double the amount of high-strength steel. Hyundai says the new model is 22 percent more rigid and weighs 61 pounds (28 kg) less in the body-in-white form.

Inside the Elantra GT, look for a brand-new infotainment system that Hyundai says is more responsive than before. The screen is no longer embedded into the dashboard but sits up front and center as a stand-alone unit. The new 8.0-inch screen, replacing the previous 7.0-inch unit, supports the model’s new navigation system with maps and traffic data.

Other features include standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as available wireless smartphone charging and dual-zone climate control. Buyers also have access to a host of safety features, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control with stop/start capability. Hyundai has enhanced the remote start with climate control feature so drivers can now activate the rear defroster and heated side mirrors before they ever step into the car. Drivers can command Alexa, a personal assistant available on the Amazon Echo or Dot, to set the car’s temperature ahead of time.

Hyundai says passenger space should reach 96.5 cubic feet and cargo volume should come in at almost 25 cubic feet. Although the model competes with compact hatchbacks, Hyundai expects the EPA to classify the Elantra GT as a large car because of the interior space it affords.

Earlier this year, Hyundai said that it would expand its i30 range to include a wagon, a high-performance N model, and a fastback. Time will tell if Hyundai will also bring these variants to the American market Elantra GT. But for now, all we know is that the Elantra GT has matured with the rest of the segment quite nicely.