2018 Elantra GT review

Hyundai Elantra GT
Not to be confused with the Elantra sedan, the GT was designed and engineered in Europe where it is sold as the I 30. The GT is 230-mm shorter than the sedan, and rides on a 50-mm shorter wheelbase.
Canadians, especially Quebecers, like hatchbacks.

Sales of compact cars in general have been in decline, as consumers switch to utility vehicles. However, compacts remain the third largest segment in this country. This led Hyundai Canada to fight for a five-door version of the popular Elantra. It knew one was available – the I 30, as it is known in Europe where it was developed and is sold. Hyundai Canada pushed for making it available here, complete with a manual transmission. The Americans, uninterested at first, begrudgingly bought into the notion, except for the manual gearbox.

The 2018 Elantra GT introduced the new face of Hyundai. The cascading grill will become common with the introduction of each succeeding vehicle. Everything aft of the long hood is unique to the GT. This new Elantra is more wagon than utility vehicle. The interior also differs from the Elantra sedan and hatchback. The instrument panel has a horizontal theme and a pair of analogue gauges flanking a configurable display. 

The GT offers more space than larger competitors

With crowded streets, and smaller parking spaces, the Europeans have become experts at maximizing useable space. The Elantra GT has a spacious interior relative to the shadow it casts. The utility of the hatchback design becomes evident the minute you open the rear hatch. Despite being shorter than the sedan, the GT boasts 705 litres of cargo space behind the rear seats. This is more than larger utility vehicles like the Honda HR-V, Nissan Qashqai, Range Rover Evoque and even the Audi Q5. More than the Audi and Range Rover with their second row seats folded down! With the second row seats up or down, it tops the Cruze, Focus, Golf and Mazda3. 

A large (20-cm) screen atop the center stack handles infotainment duties including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Heated seats and steering wheel are standard.

The first impression when driving the new Elantra GT is how quiet it is, the second is how well it handles rough surfaces. Hyundai has utilized its position as the only manufacturer to make its own steel. The Elantra GT is comprised of 53% advanced high strength steel, up from 27% in the outgoing model. The resulting structure and an independent rear suspension play key roles in the composed ride and handling. Another factor in the increased refinement, and quiet ride is a reduction in body parts and connection points. The outgoing Elantra GTl had 418 body parts, the new one 314. A good example is the front door panel. The old one was made up of five parts, the new one is a single stamping.

NVH is also addressed with thicker insulation, additional reinforcement of critical body and chassis areas and improved materials beneath the floor and in the wheel wells.

Hyundai’s relentless pursuit of improvement continues unabated.

The base engine is Hyundai’s 2.0-litre normally aspirated GDI four-cylinder, producing 161-horsepower and 195 lb.ft. of torque. That is 14 horsepower more than the same engine in the Elantra sedan. The Sport and Sport Ultimate models get a turbocharged 1.6- litre four with 201 ponies in the corral and 195 lb.ft. of twist. The 2.0 comes with a choice of six-speed transmissions, manual or automatic. The turbocharged engine is paired with a seven-speed, dual clutch automatic. The manual gearbox is available in the Sport trim level.

The base engine is impressive, able to climb steep grades effortlessly, and get up to speed quickly. Needless to say, the turbo version was even more impressive!

The GT has two different suspension setups. The GL and GLS come with a twist beam rear axle, while the Sport model get an independent set up in the rear. Having driven both at the car’s introduction, I can advise that the difference is only noticeable when driven extremely hard on twisty roads.

The GT hits all the safety bases

Standard equipment includes blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert is standard across the board. Other safety features available or standard on upper trim grades, include adaptive cruise with stop – and – go ability, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, high beam assist and lane keep assist.

The Elantra GT introduces Hyundai’s embedded BlueLink system that will appear on other Hyundai products going forward, starting with the 2018 Sonata. The system allows you to do a number of things from an app on your smart phone. These include remote start including setting the climate control, front and rear defrost and the heated steering wheel. You can lock or unlock the doors, flash the lights and sound the horn. You can check the status of everything from the internal temperature to the fuel level. Can’t find the car – you can see your GT on a map and follow direction to it.

The feature also includes automatic collision notification, voice-activated point of interest information and various diagnostics.

BlueLink duplicates services and features available from others and adds a number of new ones. But, it stands apart – because it is FREE! Hyundai is offering a five-year free trial. Similar systems from other manufacturers cost anywhere from $90 to $400 a year.T

Thank you Hyundai Canada for assuring we don’t meekly follow American market requirements

Click here for my thoughts on the Elantra Sport https://youautoknow.net/692-2/

The specs

Model: 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT

Engines: 2.0-litre four-cylinder, 162 horsepower, 150 lb.-ft. of torque, regular fuel

Transmission: six-speed automatic

NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 9.4 / 7.2

Length: 4,340 mm

Width: 1,795 mm

Wheelbase: 2,650 mm

Weight: 1,379 kg

Price: $22,799 base and as tested, plus freight and taxes.

Competition: Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Kia Forte5, Mazda3 Sport, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla iM, VW Golf

Standard equipment: air conditioning, 17-in alloy wheels, heated power mirrors, front seats and steering wheel; rear view camera, 10-cm LCD instrument cluster, 20-cm colour touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple Car Play, remote keyless entry, power windows and locks, cruise control, tilt/telescope steering wheel.

The Elantra GT is proof of the company’s global resources and the ability to tailor vehicles to markets. Thank you Hyundai Canada for assuring we don’t meekly follow American market requirements

About Richard 165 Articles
At the age of five I was already obsessed with all things automotive being able to identify the make and model of car by just the sound of its engine going down the street in front of our house in the small town on the south shore of Nova Scotia. Although I have been covering and writing about the automotive scene for more than 40 years and the light still grows brightly.