Hyundai just took the wraps off its latest addition to the Elantra line with its new GT hatchback. Lower, wider, and longer than the outgoing Elantra GT, Hyundai promises the stiffer platform and a suspension tuned for tautness will deliver a more engaging driving experience and more interior versatility than the Elantra sedan.

Standard equipment is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which Hyundai estimates will produce around 162 hp—a noticeable boost from the sedan’s standard 147 hp. It can be hooked up to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Kick it up a notch to the GT Sport version, however, and you’re treated to a 201-hp, 1.6-liter turbocharged four cylinder. This Volkswagen GTI challenger gives you the choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

Based on the company’s European i30, Hyundai claims that the new GT’s suspension was developed to feel “taut yet comfortable.” Buyers looking to the GT Sport will get an independent multilink rear suspension, standard 18-inch wheels, and more powerful brakes. We’re hopeful that Hyundai has actually made this new version sporty, since our last tested Elantra sedan’s handling was rather ordinary and not in the same league as competing models such as the Ford Focus, Mazda3, and Volkswagen Jetta.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT interior

Inside, the new GT offers leather seats, alloy pedals, and a dual-zone climate control. The infotainment system gets an eight-inch screen and offers navigation, an upgraded Infinity sound system, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Other technological goodies include Hyundai’s Blue Link system, which can remotely start your car, as well as run the rear defroster and heat the side mirrors. The system is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa, which allows you to ask an Alexa-enabled device, like an Amazon Echo or Dot, to start the car.

On the safety front, the GT is available with adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, and blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert.

Hyundai can be credited for steadily improving its model line over the years. Its cars and SUVs have been competitive in CR’s testing, and predicted reliability for the entire line is at least average or better in our subscriber surveys. While the Elantra sedan isn’t as quiet or smooth riding as the Chevrolet Cruze, nor as nimble as a Mazda3, it returned a stellar 33 mpg overall in our testing and has among the easiest controls in the business.

Clearly, more power and more thorough suspension development can’t hurt, but we’ll wait until we drive the GT to see if it’s a true Volkswagen GTI fighter.

Pricing and on-sale dates haven’t been officially released, but we expect the GT to start in the low $20,000 and reach dealers in the fall.

Read our complete Hyundai Elantra sedan road test. 

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT rear