By on August 13, 2020

This one’s a bit of a bummer, though it’s not surprising. The 2021 model year will bring a Hyundai model lineup bursting at the seams with crossovers, but there’s apparently no room for a lowly compact hatchback.

The sun in that photo is setting, not rising.

Offered since the early 2000s, the five-door version of the Elantra sedan (actually a wholly different car underneath) has met its end in the North American market.

Once offered as the Elantra Touring, the model regained its Elantra GT moniker for the 2013 model year, then gained a new body for 2018. Overseas, the model is known as the i30. Offering usable interior volume and an arguably attractive outward appearance, the last-generation GT was nothing more than a competent commuter in base guise, but things perked up when outfitted with the 1.6-liter turbo four found in the Elantra Sport.

That top-rung model gained an N Line designation for 2020 (which the new-generation Elantra sedan adopts for 2021). Now, the sedan version will have to satisfy buyers’ desire for a fun compact.

It seems only Honda’s enthusiastic about hatchbacks these days.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT, Image: Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars

In outlining its upcoming crop of vehicles, Hyundai said the Elantra GT was “discontinued from the lineup due to expanded SUV lineup that includes Venue and Kona.”

At least the Venue carries an entry price below that of the Elantra GT. For 2020, the Venue starts at $17,350 before destination, compared to the Elantra GT’s $20,650 sticker. Still, compared to the Venue, the GT was a muscle car. The Venue’s super-efficient 1.6-liter four-cylinder generates a meager 121 hp and 113 lb-ft of torque (and is good for 32 mpg combined in base form) versus the GT’s healthy 161 hp and 150 lb-ft.

Oh well, at least the Venue offers an extra 0.8 inches of ground clearance. It’s an SUV, you know.

[Images: Hyundai, Steph Willems/TTAC]

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29 Comments on “Hyundai: Why Have an Elantra GT When You Can Have a CUV?...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    At least you can still get the Veloster.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Q: “Why Have an Elantra GT When You Can Have a CUV?”

    A: Because you can get the Kia Niro.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    I would have bought this car if they shoved the legit N stuff in here instead of the incredibly useless Veloster.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Yeah that was kind of the “ding” against the GT.

      I like the Veloster except for when I might try to throw my clubs in there and head to the golf course.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      They have over in Europe where it sells pretty well – more than 12k i30Ns sold last year.

      • 0 avatar
        amwhalbi

        I was in Europe for river cruises in both 2018 and 2019, which included some day bus trips to smaller towns, and a bit of Autobahn cruising. Saw many more hatchbacks and wagons than SUV’s, including a fair number of i30’s. Didn’t see a ton of smaller CUV’s at that time either. Maybe my experience was atypical, but the smaller streets of some of the older towns seemed better suited for a vehicle with a smaller footprint than most of the SUV’s have. I suppose that with the wider open spaces in the US, SUV’s can work better here. But I would still much prefer a hatchback or wagon for a utility/cargo vehicle.

  • avatar
    Mike

    It has very little to do with that 0.8 inches extra of ground clearance for most potential customers with the Venue over the Elantra hatchback. Its more about the close to 4 inches MORE total height. Like it or not, more customers want the higher seating position, the ease of getting in and out, and better forward visibility. Nice try with that ground clearance quip though.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Let’s see, I could’ve had a Euro designed hatchback based on the Elantra chassis, or, for MORE MONEY, I can get a smaller CUV based on the Accent chassis, with worse ride and handling, worse interior quality, and worse gas mileage.

  • avatar
    amwhalbi

    One of my sons bought a never-titled 2018 Elantra GT dealership demo this summer. He was debating about waiting to order a 2021, but the ’18 was fully loaded and he got a great deal, so he went for it. Now he is extra glad he didn’t wait. He absolutely loves it. Drove a Venue, Kona, Veloster, and a Mazda 3, but the GT was far and away his favorite. It’s unfortunate that there seemingly isn’t room for hatchbacks anymore in the market, because they offer a great option for people not infected with SUV fever. But I guess declining sales will force any automaker’s hand, and Hyundai is apparently no different.

    • 0 avatar
      amwhalbi

      By the way, another reason the GT didn’t sell might be because salespeople didn’t push it. When my son test drove the GT, he clearly knew more about it than the Hyundai salesperson, who said several times, “Oh, I guess it is bigger than the Kona,” or “Hey, this is pretty nice.” My son said that the salesperson told him it was the first time he had actually ridden in a GT. Not pushing a particular product is one thing; not knowing virtually anything about it is something else.

      • 0 avatar
        Moparmann

        To me, that is what constitutes a bad salesperson! How can you be effective in selling a product, if you don’t know anything about it? I, too, have had the experience of looking to purchase a vehicle, and had to deal with clueless salespeople. Then, while attempting to disguise their lack of knowledge, displayed even more ignorance by attempting to convince me that I was in error!

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    I got one of these as a rental and was very impressed. Base model, not N-Line was still quick enough. Just a pleasant and easy car to drive. It would be top of the list if I had a son or daughter who needed a first car. Sad that it does not fit most American sensibilities.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      This past weekend, I had a ride in a 2019 or 2020 variant of this. Not a bad little car. My buddy had it as an insurance rental while his 2007 Civic was in the body shop after he got bumped in a parking lot.

      The cloth seats actually felt like the material was a little more substantial than the cloth in most cars of Japanese origin of late. Only real demerit was that the six-speed automatic is geared so high that at an 80mph cruise, the thing had to drop a gear to maintain the set speed up the slightest incline. Decent visibility, and reasonably quiet until being given the spurs; at least the car seemed to more than adequately get out of its own way.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    N line Venue & N line Kona ?

  • avatar
    tallguy130

    My wife drives the previous-gen GT and its been a great little car. Six years on absolutely no issues. The current GT Sport interested me so I drove one during my last oil change. Interior was way more plastic heavy then I expect out of Hyundai at this point but was otherwise nice.

    I have never understood why the market hates hatchbacks so much. Always felt like the best of both worlds to me. This car will be missed.

  • avatar

    This crossover fad needs to die….and soon

    This is indeed sad news. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Elantra GT, having owned a 2000 Elantra wagon and the first gen 2002 Elantra GT years ago. Both were practical alternatives to the already competent Elantra.

    I’ve rented the last gen Elantra GT and this current bodystyle more recently, and even considered purchasing one (but finding a manual transmission was impossible). I really liked the Euro look and driving feel of the later versions.

    A CUV, like a Venue or Kona, doesn’t have the same pinned down feel and it’s the sad reality that consumers are willing to pay thousands more for an extra two inches of ground clearance and some body cladding.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    I have a Veloster N. I find it to be a practical hot hatch, so maybe Hyundai figured the Veloster would capture the buyers who Really wanted a smaller hatch, while the CUV things would capture everyone else.

    My car holds everything I need to carry, including my road bike without removing the front tire. Unlike my ’15 Accord where my bike would eventually fit into the trunk with the seats down but I had to take off the front tire and wrestle with it a bit. With the Veloster, I can put it in and pull it out with ease.

    For all intents and purposes, it’s a small hatchback to me, like my 2011 GTI was. The 3-door thing is a little annoying. Not terrible, and better than just 2 doors. But after owning it a little while now I find myself thinking that it would be just as cool, and a little more useful, if it had a fourth rear door on the drivers’ side like on the passenger side.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I’ve been watching Veloster N reviews and thinking – just put another door on the other side. Oh and make them clam-shell style while your at it. No B-pillar.

      I loved that quirky feature of the RX-8 but the Veloster would actually have enough power to get out of its own way.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        It’s a wonderful car. It really is. And I have owned said GTI, an RSX Type S, and still own an E36 M3 and it may be the best of them. Surprisingly quick acceleration, great brakes that’ll rip your face off, and it handles like it’s on rails. I also love the way it looks. Aggressive but without being obnoxious like a Civic Type-R. I would recommend it to anybody who loves driving.

        I have no issue with the 3 door thing really but, again, just take the right side and just move it over to the left too. If you want the gimmick just call it a sport coupe due to the sloping roofline.

  • avatar

    I’m a hatchback guy. I use mine to haul lots of things, from tree branches to garbage cans to car parts. In May, 2019, I was due for a new one, so I test drove an Elantra GT N-line hatch with the turbo engine. It was comfortable, quick, handled well and roomy. The only problem with the demonstrator car was that it was battleship gray and had an automatic instead of a stick. So, the sales lady and her boss searched and searched for one with a stick and a better color. The nearest one was about a 1,000 miles away. They offered me the option to order one from Korea; it might arrive in six months. I ended up buying a Corolla XSE hatchback instead.

  • avatar
    grandestmarquis

    I bought an Elantra GT N-Line 6MT right before the pandemic. Had been looking at the base GTI and Civic Si, and the Elantra just hit the sweet spot between performance, practicality and value, with an incredible warranty to boot. Five months later, I love it – a better stick than the Si, great chassis, comfortable, the cabin feels more upscale than the price point (killer seats, pedals and steering wheel in particular) and significantly better gas mileage than the EPA ratings. Sad to see it be discontinued, but it’s easy to understand why – there seems to have been no effort to market it or even make it available in reasonable numbers (When I bought mine, it was the only one for sale in New England).

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Went to my Hyundai dealership years ago when I learned they had an Elantra Touring demo for sale. Ended up with a Sonata MT instead.

    The Elantra Touring (i30) was touted as a competitor of the Golf in Europe. But over here it lacked the modern ‘safety features’ (at least in the demo), and ordering one that had the required features actually priced it above the transaction price for my Sonata.

    A business acquaintance has the previous generation GT and quite likes it. But then he is European.

    I really like the Kia Niro. Nice size/dimensions and packaging. However the price point is a little too high for my liking.

  • avatar
    Santino Vaccariello.

    As someone who bought a ’18 Elantra Gt Sport. This saddens me deeply. I was waiting in hopes of a Elantra GT N. This car is the perfect size. The Veloster is too small for Traveling/Camping. And the CUV have terrible feel and interior to the Elantra GT. Wtf Hyundai!

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