By on February 8, 2012

The last time we got an Elantra GT was in the early 2000s, when Hyundai brought over a quirky five-door that resembled the Mazda6 hatchback more than the re-badged Hyundai i30 you see here. Now dubbed the Elantra GT (rather than the Elantra Touring of the previous i30), the Mazda3 and Subaru Impreza just got a new challenger in the 5-door compact segment.

The 148 horsepower 1.8L 4-cylinder makes 148 horsepower and returns 28/39 mpg for a 32 mpg combined average. This beats the Impreza and matches the Mazda3 SkyActiv (though a forthcoming review will show that while Jack Baruth managed to match the Elantra’s EPA figures, my Mazda3 didn’t hit its mark). Of the two sedans, the Mazda3 is the better driving car, but the i30’s European roots will hopefully translate into solid driving dynamics.

The Hyundai takes the cake for styling, and will probably have a nicer interior. In addition to the usual Elantra content, there’s a refrigerated glovebox, a feature also seen on the Dodge Caliber.

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31 Comments on “2013 Hyundai Elantra GT Is Our i30: 2012 Chicago Auto Show...”

  • avatar

    Could the front get any more ugly?

  • avatar

    And, when you adjust the tilt steering wheel, it doesn’t go klunk. The Germans are furious.

  • avatar

    Baruth matching EPA mpg figures? Was he stoned or something?

  • avatar

    Am I the only one who hates these stupid, gaping black grilles? There’s no way these won’t look extremely dated in a few years or so.

  • avatar

    I wanted a newer wagon to replace the Touring. If Hyundai is no longer offering a wagon, expect a run on the last of the 2012 Tourings.

    • 0 avatar
      Rental Man

      Why was the new Focus wagon not allowed on the boat with it’s siblings?
      Maybe Kia will bring the Cee’d wagon or Hyundai called it GT because a Touring Wagon needed for the Euro market is next to hatch.

    • 0 avatar

      No i40 wagon planned for North America. I heard this straight from a former client who heads up one of the Hyundai businesses. This Elantra is what they are giving us instead.

      Shame, really.

  • avatar

    That looks damn nice. Hopefully the ride and handling will improve to the point where Hyundai doesn’t have to pay every magazine QUITE as much for first place in comparison tests. Keep the hookers, ditch the coke.

  • avatar

    Any word on price?

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    The more hot-hatches, the merrier!

  • avatar

    I just now realized that I saw one of these on the freeway in Charlotte about a month ago. I saw the hatchback and the tail lights weren’t familiar (it was night time) so I sped up to take a closer look. Saw it was a Hyundai and thought, “I didn’t know they made an Elantra hatch. I’ll have to go look at their website,” and then promptly forgot the whole thing. I coulda got some spy shots and been rich and famous.

    But yes, I’d seriously consider this car. I’ll be curious to read the reviews and maybe go test drive one.

    • 0 avatar

      You might have seen the Accent hatch.. same rear-end styling.

      We have the current Elantra Touring (a true station wagon), and we love it. It couldn’t be more unlike the rest of the Elantra lineup.

      Based on that the new (Grand) Touring is on my list to test drive.

  • avatar

    As a Hyundai salesman, I am very excited about this car. The Elantra Touring is a great package, but the gas mileage turns people off, especially compared to the sedan. Hopefully the utility won’t be too compromised by the new styling – I can already see that the rear seat now requires you to flip the seat bottom forward, which the current Touring does not….

  • avatar

    “The 148 horsepower 1.8L 4-cylinder makes 148 horsepower”

    You don’t say?

  • avatar

    I’d have said the old Elantra GL looked more like the GM2800-based Saab 900/9-3 than it did the Mazda6. The only reason I’d say it resembled the 6 is that they’re both five-door hatchbacks, but other than that they’re not much alike at all; the 6’s rear window ended a bit before the deck lid, and it could be easily mistaken for the sedan.

    And my “more like” I should say “directly ripped from”. The 7-shared dash of the GT was strikingly similar to my 9-3, and the side profile was pretty similar, too.

    Not that I’m complaining, I like five-door hatches and I liked my Saab.

  • avatar

    Nice looking car – I think the new Hyundai design language lends itself better to a 5-door hatch than a 4-door sedan.

    I wonder if it will have the same beefy 3000+ pound tow rating of the last Elantra GT.

  • avatar

    I really don’t like Hyundia’s new direction in styling. I wasn’t a fan of the Sonata when it came out. Not crazy about the way it looks. This has gotten worse.

  • avatar

    I hope that a domestic manufacturer can match this before the Koreans get more of my money. I had high hopes for a Cruze wagon, but the gas mileage is not good for the sedan, so that means the wagon won’t be too hot, either.
    Oh, well, I can wait – it’s not like my ’08 Elantra is giving me any trouble – but when my gout flares up, that clutch pedal is a bee-atch.

  • avatar

    Though the GT was initially only available as a hatch, Hyundai later added a sedan variant (along with a non-GT hatch IIRC). I drove one of the early hatches and concluded that “GT must be Korean for standard leather,” as the suspension was not remotely worthy of a GT badge.

  • avatar

    I like the look of this. I also like that there is another player in the compact hatch game. The Mazda3 will probably drive better but for those who like in-car gadgetry the Elantra GT should be a hit. I can imagine someone cross-shopping the GT and a Focus. If it can match the driving feel of the Focus, I think the GT represents a more refined and mature looking option.

    Hopefully the GT will provide the fit, finish, and surprising interior quality of the Veloster in more conventional sheet metal.

    • 0 avatar

      If it is anything like the current Elantra Touring, this car will probably handle far better than the regular Elantra – possibly better than the whole rest of the line up, Genesis Coupe included.

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