By on February 9, 2017

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT driving shot, Image: Hyundai

Hyundai lifted the veil on the next-generation Elantra GT today at the Chicago Auto Show, revealing a compact hatch that dispenses with the “cute little car” template.

For 2018, the Elantra GT grows in all the proportions that matter, putting forward a more mature design that — Hyundai hopes — looks more expensive than its sticker price. It also offers up more power, if you’re willing to dole out a little more.

Longer, lower and wider than the outgoing model, the 2018 version adopts an upright corporate grille more closely aligned with its sedan cousin, a longer hood, and an uninterrupted character line running the length of the body. Gone are the Mazda 2-like front fender bulges.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT rear 3/4, Image: Hyundai

Like before, the GT is based on the European-market Hyundai i30. The third generation of that model arrived for the 2017 model year, boasting a greater measure of high-strength steel and structural adhesive to quell any gripes about body stiffness. Hyundai claims a 22-percent increase in rigidity in the new model thanks to a doubling (to 53 percent) of the amount of high-strength steel in the body structure.

Stripped down, the new GT shaves 61 pounds off the weight compared to its predecessor. Despite the vehicle’s upright stance, the new model retains the same 0.30 coefficient of drag as the outgoing model.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT driving shot, red, Image: Hyundai

On the base GT, power from the standard direct-injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder has fallen from 173 hp on 2017 models to 162 hp for 2018. That suggests Hyundai has tinkered around with the mill’s efficiency. Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.

However, to make the GT’s name ring more true, Hyundai has seen fit to add a Sport variant endowed with the turbocharged 1.6-liter four found in the Elantra Sport. In GT Sport guise, the hatch generates the same 201 hp and 195 lb-ft as its four-door sibling, and is available with the same six-speed manual or seven-speed dual clutch transmission.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT interior, Image: Hyundai

Ticking the Sport box also adds a fully independent multilink rear suspension, 18-inch wheels, and larger brake rotors for and aft. Drivers of vanilla GTs benefit from a rear torsion beam suspension tune and standard 17-inch wheels.

Because buyers tend to choose hatchbacks for a reason, the GT’s cargo capacity has expanded for 2018, though its passenger volume has only budged upwards by half a cubic foot. Cargo capacity grows from 23 cubic feet to 25, while capacity with the rear seat folded down expands from 51 cu. ft. to 55.1. Hyundai expects a large car classification from the EPA for its new hatch.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT with trunk open on beach, Image: Hyundai

To boost its value proposition, the GT sees more technology than ever before. A long list of driver assist features are available, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, high beam assist and rear cross-traffic alert. Hyundai’s Smart Cruise Control adopts a start/stop system. Drivers can also choose from the full gamut of smartphone connectivity options.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT instrument cluster, Image: Hyundai

In a nod to convenience, Hyundai has bundled rear window and side mirror defrost functions into its Blue Link Remote Start feature, allowing drivers to melt the ice, literally, via a smartphone app while relaxing in the cozy confines of their home.

On all GTs, the upgraded AVN 5.0 infotainment unit sees its display screen grow by one inch, while a bird’s-eye view has been added to the navigation system. That screen now rises from the reworked dash, rather than sitting in the middle of the center stack.

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT and GT Sport go on sale this summer.

[Images: Hyundai Motor America]

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53 Comments on “Chicago 2017: 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Drops the Cute Act...”


  • avatar
    cgjeep

    Looks like a copy of the Mazda 3, down to the red stitching on the seat.

    • 0 avatar
      xflowgolf

      that was my first thought as well. Not that it’s a bad thing… the new 3 is sharp looking.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I actually see “mini CUV” in this car’s styling, versus Mazda 3…

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        “I actually see “mini CUV””

        You’re part of the problem, man! Kia’s calling the FWD-only Niro a CUV -because people allow it-.

        Take back utility!

        • 0 avatar
          John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

          Agreed. Its bad enough that CUVs are just AWD available wagons, but making one 2wd ONLY and still trying to group it under the same umbrella? Nope.

          Kia just needs an AWD Soul and that fixes their “no small CUVs” supposed problem.

          This is for Adam if he stops by (or any N body fan) https://stlouis.craigslist.org/cto/5974795879.html

      • 0 avatar
        Menloguy

        Agreed; that rear load lip (top of the rear bumper) seems inconveniently high for loading large, heavy items into the cargo area.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Hyundai will probably sell more Elantra GTs than Mazda will 3s.

    • 0 avatar
      Yuppie

      Mazda 3 plus Audi grill plus GTI rear hatch.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      So Mazda came up with red stitching on seats? Didn’t know that.

      And the new i30/Elantra GT is basically a revised rehash of the previous i30/Elantra GT with the basic elements of the front-fascia remaining the same.

      Maybe it’ll look better in the flesh, but the new i30 just looks a bit awkward at the front (in particular, this particular rendition of the hexa-grill and shape of the headlights).

      Usually prefer the hatch/Euro design over a sedan/NA design, but at least based on pics, the Elantra is the better looking of the 2.

      What the i30 has going for it over the Elantra is a higher-grade interior.

  • avatar
    Timothy Cain

    Very handsome. And then they thought, “But how do we make this touchscreen part of the vent controls?”

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Personally, I like the older model better…

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    Paging Brettc to check out amber blinkers and styling.

  • avatar
    whynot

    That odd bulge in the upper rear bumper ruins the entire design. It looks like the bottom half of the rear belongs to an entirely different car than the top half.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    I really liked the first gen Elantra Touring, almost got one. The second gen not so much. Had this been around this summer wife might have gotten this instead of her Golf Wagon. She was trading in a Sonata as was a happy Hyundai customer.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    not bad looking outside of the touchscreen but really does every car need 18 in rims and tires? This is a fairly cheap hatch, I think but no price is mentioned in the article ( WTF) tires are gonna be pricey for it.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Hyundai seems to be very good at producing 4 door hatches. The Hyundai Elantra Touring which in much of the world was viewed as a valid competitor with the Golf Wagon.

    The current Elantra GT, which a co-worker has (with a stick) and which he both greatly enjoys and has exceeded his expectations regarding build quality and reliability.

    Now this vehicle. Unfortunately that particular segment is not a high volume one in the USA.

    My major quibble with Hyundai, based on my own personal experience is that their paint is too thin. Compared to the 2005 Buick and 2005 Montana SV6 which still show little in they way of paint chips or scratches, the 2011 Sonata is pockmarked.

  • avatar
    Mike N.

    That rear 3/4 view looks like they squished a Golf, especially the tail lights.

  • avatar
    RHD

    Aren’t they supposed to paint the car BEFORE they put the license plates on?

    • 0 avatar
      Orangecar Blackheart

      Pretty much every car ad does this. If they took off the plate (it’s probably post-processed to that color) then the car would look really weird. If they leave it there, it clashes with the design they’re showing off. A quick search shows people asking about this for the last 15 years.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    If the price is right and Hyundai is able to dial in the handling, I could see myself looking at one of these in a couple years. Yay for 3 pedals!

  • avatar
    lzaffuto

    Has anyone seen a really involved review of this 7 speed dual clutch yet? Does it have the same drivability issues as the Focus?

    • 0 avatar
      xtoyota

      7 speed had software issues but updates seem to solve early production …
      now very few complaints
      Dual clutch drive differently then automatics so people complain

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        3 software updates have not fixed my issues. 36,000 miles and still issues with shuddering, rev hang, not willing to shift down into 1st unless stopped for several seconds (ie: no California stops), and too much time between putting the pedal down on the highway to finally getting some power to the wheels. It’s also stupidly sluggish; I’ve had several conventional automatics that have switched gears faster than this pile of crap.

        The motor and the car itself is completely fine. The DCT is point blank GARBAGE.

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        Wet clutch DCTs seem to be smoother than the dry clutch ones used in economy cars too.

  • avatar
    319583076

    I think this is a really, really good looking car. The specs on the GT Sport are compelling, if Hyundai has sorted out their handling, I’d consider replacing my current sedan with this.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Is there a VW borrowed rear on this car?

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    This feels a bit “retro” for Hyundai, copy a bit of car company A, copy car company B, a little bit of C and just cram it all into one thing with minimal styling unity.

    I do like the idea of a Mazda with German rustproofing

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Hyundai still doesn’t know what to do with hatchback C-pillars. Blech. Pick of the litter is still the Golf. GTI remains king.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Doesn’t look bad at all. Could be a contender to replace my Sportwagen. Very excited that they finally added a turbo engine option to it so it can come close to competing with the GTI.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    This is nice looking, as others have mentioned, looks like a little VW/Audi.

    If they had Albert Biermann on the suspension tuning, this could be the VW Golf I’ve always wanted, but with a 100K mile powertrain warranty.

  • avatar
    syncro87

    I like most of what I see here, but 18″ wheels would probably be a deal breaker for me. I’d pay more for the upgraded engine, but the large wheels and low profile tires are not practical in my area with our roads. Also, I’d not want to shell out that kind of money for replacement tires on an econocar.

    Unfortunately, Mazda saddles you with an impractical wheel/tire combo on higher trims.

    I’ll be happy when two trends go away. First, the one where cars are becoming pillboxes with high belt lines and gun slit windows. Second, ridiculously large wheels with thin forklift tires. Not that any is likely to depart the scene soon.

  • avatar
    Raevox

    To be fair, the Elantra GT/Touring has had it’s own distinctive look for a few generations, now. But I was kind of hoping in a way that the sheetmetal would be brought more in line with the sedan version.

    I’ve never cared for the looks of the i30, and liked the Elantra Touring marginally better. -And my car shopping preference this time around was for a hatchback. Which I ended up buying a sedan anyhow, because current hatches are either not to my taste, or are outside of my intended budget.

    It looks unique, and I was anxious to see it because I think the current Elantra GT is “Okay”, but this makes me feel confident still, that my purchase of a ’17 sedan was the right one. It’s still the more handsome car IMHO.

    Just wish it had the GDI as a “tweener” engine, with the 6 speed transmission. Much like the Kia Forte does with the EX model, before getting to the 1.6T SX. The DCT is the reason why I didn’t spring for the Sport, though the 2.0 Nu engine and 6 speed auto are VERY smooth operators.

  • avatar
    greatpaper

    My regret is not buying a new Elantra touring w/ a stick. I test drove one ,liked it ,but when I returned it had been sold. Dealer never got another stick one. I won’t order a car- i gotta sit in it and smell it. I think the new one may be my next car. Any idea when they hit the lots?

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