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The Elantra GT is a new 5-door compact hatchback model, and a new body style, that's very closely based on the Hyundai Elantra sedan. But compared to the sedan, it emphasizes a sportier look and sportier driving experience, with a somewhat higher price but also more standard features. It's also the first Elantra model, and the first model in the Hyundai lineup, to allow the driver to select steering firmness.
The new 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT comes in one 5-door hatchback body style that looks much like the Elantra sedan in the front, but quite different from behind. With a completely different roofline, as well as crisp lines that wrap around the back of the car, as well as a prominent rear spoiler, this model carries itself with the sophistication--and more upright look--of a European hatchback.
The Elantra GT is about nine inches shorter than the sedan, while it's slightly taller and its wheelbase is about two inches shorter, which means that there's slightly less rear legroom compared to the sedan. With seating for up to five, the Elantra GT has a rear seatback that folds flat for more cargo space and is split 60/40. Additional storage includes a cooled glove compartment, a sliding armrest, a front storage tray and a space under the cargo floor--all in addition to cup/bottle holders and door pockets.
A 148-horsepower, 1.8L 4-cylinder engine powers the front-wheel-drive Elantra GT, and there's a choice between a 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmissions--both of which get reasonably strong acceleration from the engine while also optimizing efficiency. Fuel economy ratings for the GT, at 26 mpg city, 37 highway with the manual or 27/37 with the automatic, are almost as good as those of the Elantra sedan. All models include an ActiveEco function that helps smooth driver and powertrain responses to improve fuel economy in real-world driving.
Ride quality is a step firmer in the GT than that of the sedan, but the reward of the firmer sport suspension and special V-beam rear suspension with integral rollbar is handling response that's more confident and capable. In addition, three driver-selectable modes for the electric power steering system--comfort, sport and normal--allow you to compensate for different kinds of driving, and different expectations.
There's essentially one trim level for the 2013 Elantra GT. Standard equipment includes heated front seats, a Bluetooth hands-free interface with voice recognition, a trip computer, keyless entry and steering-wheel audio controls. A 172-watt, 6-speaker sound system with iPod connectivity, USB input, and Bluetooth streaming audio is also included, while an optional unit with a navigation system adds SiriusXM Satellite Radio and incorporates traffic and data information, plus weather, sports and stock info.
Hyundai Blue Link, a system that combined infotainment features, smart-phone connectivity and safety services, is also included in all Elantra GT models.
Options for the GT are limited to two packages. A Style Package brings an even sportier suspension tune, along with a lower-profile 17-inch wheel-and-tire combination, plus a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, leather trim, a power driver's seat and aluminum pedals. The Tech Package separately adds the navigation system, dual-zone climate control, proximity-key entry and push-button start.