Hyundai Elantra GT Sport is a value-packed hatchback with a
new Sport model powered by a standard 1.6-liter turbo
four-cylinder engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission
powering the front wheels. Pictured outside Arlington Park, in
Arlington Heights, Ill., on Nov. 21, 2017.
With the 2018
Elantra GT Sport, Hyundai is following in the treads of the Honda
Civic with a compelling redesign that offers some five-door fun
under the shadow of its taller, duller cousin, the compact
second-generation hatchback rebadged from Touring to GT gets a Sport
variant for the first time that has a value-to-fun proposition like
the Civic Si if the Si came as a hatchback.
The GT Sport
is lower, wider and longer than the outgoing Touring model, but
shorter than the spacious Civic Hatch. Itís a lot more modest,
too, for those who donít want the attention of a wing, spoiler,
and cosmetic rear vents. The front overhang juts out a bit more than
competitors, and the face features a broad honeycomb grille spanning
a pronounced splitter and side vents with vertical fog lights.
The GT Sport
gets 18-inch wheels instead of 17-inch rollers on the GT, and the
low-profile rubber contributes to a grippier though louder ride
stitching on the seats and around the vents, center controls and
gear stick make for a sleek visual connection to the rpm gauge. That
attention to detail is usually overlooked at this price point.
Itís fun to
drive, with modest but sufficient power coming from the
201-horsepower 1.6-liter turbo engine (the base model has a 2-liter
four-cylinder). Max torque of 195 pound-feet comes at just 1,500
rpm, and there is little turbo lag with the smooth rowing six-speed
front wheels, the standard manual has well-defined gates to avoid
slipping a shift. The clutch pedal is nicely balanced so itís not
annoying to drive in traffic, and springy enough for spirited
driving. Same goes for the seats, snug without being tight, comfy
without inducing a nap, even with the heated seats standard on the
GT Sport. Handling is Civic-solid, thanks to a multilink rear
suspension in the GT Sport that lets each wheel behave
is where the Civic Hatchback might have an edge. Rear legroom is
tight in the GT Sport, and while we were able to fit the hockey bag
and a few grocery bags in back, we had to fold down the 60 part of
the 60/40 folding seats to schlep around two kids worth of weekend
activities. Yet I prefer the dual climate zones, controls, and
functionality of the GT Sport, even if the kids mocked me for how
long it took to find the door lock button in the center controls.
The Civicís touch screen is also better integrated than the GT
Sportís jutting-from-the-dash display.
edge for the GT Sport over the Civic Hatchback Touring is about
$3,000 when similarly equipped. Sure, the Civic has a lot better
fuel economy (33 mpg combined, compared with 25 mpg) and a more
daring design, but GT Sport upholds Elantraís pedigree of a
value-packed compact with a sporting edge.
Elantra GT Sport
$23,375 (excluding $885 delivery)
EPA Mpg: 22
city, 29 highway
1.6-liter turbo GDI four-cylinder