The thriving performance five-door hatchback segment — with the likes of the Ford Focus GT, Mazda3 Sport, and VW Golf — just got some more competition from the all-new, Euro-styled 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT.

CONS:

  • Styling cues a little more radical than competitors = not for everyone
  • The ‘Hyundai’ nameplate still not given fair chance by many consumers

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT ReviewThe 411

Based on the new-generation European-market Hyundai i30 model, the all-new 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT arrived to North America last year joining it’s Elantra Coupe and Elantra Sedan siblings. Born in Asia, bred and styled in Europe, the Elantra GT truly has every thing going for it — sleek ‘fluidic sculpture’ styling coupled with a smart and spacious cabin, this GT offers tremendous ‘sport’ at a sub-$30K price-point. Hyundai (and Kia) are killing it these days, truly offering consumers what they need and desire (and eventually, will begin to expect) at incredible price-points packed with loads of standards, often rivalling the pricier competitors…and in my opinion, often exceeding
them.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT ReviewWhat’s New for 2013

The 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT finds a stellar list of features, including some Hyundai ‘firsts,’ including a hidden rear-view camera located behind the mechanized Hyundai badge in the truck lid, and the Driver Selectable Steering Mode system (DSSM) with 3 drive modes (Comfort, Normal, Sport). Notable new high-tech features include a standard Bluetooth hands-free phone system with voice recognition; optional 7-inch touch-screen navigation system; and optional proximity keyless entry with push-botton. The Elantra GT also offers more cabin space/volume than the Focus, Mazda3, Matrix and Golf. Hyundai has done an excellent job ‘creating space’ in the cabin; utilizing dead-space with little pockets of storage space (i.e. centre console pass-through space below infotainment controls).

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT ReviewDriving Dynamics

The European-tuned suspension is evident once you throw the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT into the corners. This hatch sticks to the road, and the 1.8-litre inline four-cyclinder engine with 148-hp and 131 lb-ft of torque provided ample power. Paired to a dual continuously variable valve timing (D-CVVT) provides even better power, efficiency, and refinement. Unlike the Elantra sedan, the Elantra GT isn’t built for solely for comfort, but rather handling performance and overall responsiveness. Hence, stiffer rear spring rates and twist beam along with improved dampers for better motion control body roll. While the DSSM system provides Comfort, Normal, and Sport modes, I opted for the latter, opening up this little hatch on the highway where dynamic steering response on the twisty parts and the on-centre stability during higher speeds were evident and impressive. Again, for under $30K, the 2013 Elantra GT, much like the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, offers unexpected and impressive on-road performance and handling.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT ReviewThe Cost

Available in 6 trims (GL, GLS, and SE variations) and all sharing the same 1.8-litre, 16-valve DOHC engine, the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT GL starts at $19,149 CAD MSRP with 6-speed manual transmission standard, and $20,349 with the optional 6-speed Automatic. The top-of-the-line Elantra GT SE with Tech Package is priced at $26,349. My tester here is the 2nd-highest trim 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT SE priced at $24,349.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT Photo Gallery