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Driving the eye-catching 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT on our track

Consumer Reports News: June 25, 2012 12:08 PM

It's been interesting to watch the evolution of Hyundai as it increases its market share. Most previous-generation Hyundais were nice cars with somewhat unimaginative styling. But the current crop of redesigns, starting with the Elantra and Sonata, bring much more dynamic and eye-catching styling. Same goes for the Elantra GT.

The Elantra GT hatchback replaces one of the frumpiest designs in the Hyundai lineup, the Elantra Touring wagon. That's not to say that the Touring wasn't a very practical design; its squared-off rear window helped maximize cargo volume. The Elantra GT may be more stylish, but it has less space inside than the car it replaces.

Despite the name, the Elantra GT isn't just a hatchback version of the high-scoring Elantra sedan. Instead, it's essentially the same car sold in Europe and other markets as the well-regarded Hyundai i30. It does share its 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with the Elantra sedan, though. High-level options, such as power leather seats, a panoramic sunroof, and navigation, aren't exactly commonplace in this hatchback class.

First impressions are that the Elantra GT offers a lot of features in an easy-to-live-with package. While the Elantra GT deigns to be sporty to drive, it falls short of the sophisticated ride and handling balance of class-leaders like the Volkswagen Golf, Mazda3, or Ford Focus.

Tom Mutchler

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