Compact hatchbacks might be getting replaced by compact crossovers, but vehicles like the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT still have a lot to offer consumers that value cargo space and better driving dynamics.
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2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Overview
What's New for 2018
The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT is an all-new model, reflecting the brand’s current design language and following in the footsteps of the recently redesigned Elantra sedan. Updated technologies and expanded driver-assist safety features chart the changes.
Choosing Your Hyundai Elantra GT
Hyundai offers the front-wheel drive Elantra GT in base and Sport trims. Each trim has its own engine unique. Thanks to the five-door design, you’ll find 24.9 cubic feet of storage space or 55.1 cubic feet with the rear seat folded.
A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is standard, generating 161 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. This engine comes with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Elantra GT Sport models, like the Elantra Sport sedan, have a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Besides the six-speed manual gearbox, this engine may be paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The turbo engine is not just more powerful, but it is also the more efficient one of the two, delivering 26 mpg in the city, 32 mpg highway, and 28 mpg combined. Choose the standard engine and this model makes 24 mpg in the city, 32 mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined according to the EPA.
With manual transmission models, customers need only pick an interior and exterior color – there are no additional options.
Hyundai’s package options present a dilemma to stick-shift loving drivers. To get the good stuff, you need to opt for an automatic transmission. And, with the base model, the Tech Package builds on the Style Package. It'd be nice if we had a normal choice between the two.
2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Review
The redesigned 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT makes landfall in the US not long after the car its based on, the European market i30, debuted across the pond. Like previous Elantra GTs, this European heritage serves to distinguish it from not only the competition, but from its own four-door sibling, with handsome styling, a lovely interior, and a capable driving character.
Hyundai only offers the Elantra GT in two trims – the base model and the turbocharged, 201-horespower Sport. While these two vehicles look similar, their driving characters are so dramatically different that choosing a “best deal” a largely subjective affair. For most consumers, though, the standard Elantar GT and its 161-hp engine are just plenty. Whichever path you go down, we recommend the two-pedal layout – a six-speed automatic on the base model and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic on the GT Sport – which adds $1,000 to the price.
Despite the extra expense, an automatic is a prerequisite for the available packages. There are two the base model and one on the Sport, but all three are so loaded with worthwhile gear, they're difficult to ignore. With that in mind, here's our choice for the best value in the Elantra GT range.
- Model: 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT
- Engine: 2.0L four-cylinder
- Output: 161 hp / 150 lb-ft
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic
- MPG: 24 city / 32 highway
- Exterior color: Summit Gray
- Interior color:Black
- Options: Six-speed automatic transmission ($1,000), Style Package ($1,800, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, proximity entry with push-button start, 4.2-inch instrument cluster display, dual-zone climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, power driver's seat, and heated front seats), Tech Package ($4,300 and requires Style Package, LED headlights and taillights, leather upholstery with ventilated front seats, panoramic sunroof, navigation, BlueLink telematics, seven-speaker Infinity audio system, wireless charging pad, auto-dimming rear-view mirror)
- Base Price: $20,235 (including $885 destination charge)
- As Tested: $27,335
- Base engine is perfectly fine for everyday use
- Six-speed automatic times shifts well and executes them smoothly
- Ride is composed and relatively quiet for the class
- Turbocharged Sport is a riot of torque-steer and tire squealing acceleration
- Base 2.0-liter gets buzzy when exercised
- Six-speed manual requires sacrificing all optional extras
- Hard to drive Elantra GT Sport efficiently – it's too much fun
- Steering lacks feedback and precision
- Cabin feels nicer, more premium than Elantra Sedan
- Spacious second row
- Huge amount of cargo space, even with the second-row up
- Leather requires the top-of-the-line package
- That Tech Package is not cheap
- Base seats lack the comfort and support of the Elantra GT Sport's thrones
Our Favorite Thing
The Elantra GT is available with a very impressive suite of active safety systems that make this humble compact feel quite a bit more premium.
Our Least Favorite Thing
The best features require an automatic transmission – this might be understandable on the base model, but they're frustrating on the more premium GT Sport, a car whose performance-focused character is most enjoyable with the six-speed stick. Hey Hyundai, we'd like both the equipment and the manual transmission.
Active families that aren't interested in the crossovers that plague elementary school parking lots will love the Elantra GT's enjoyable driving dynamics and ample space.
Hyundai stopped deserving its reputation for “cheap” cars nearly a decade ago, and yet it still persists. Customers shouldn't let that stop them from buying an Elantra GT, but for some, the lack of a Honda, Ford, or Volkswagen badge is a disqualifying factor.
The Bottom Line
The Elantra GT ticks a lot of boxes, offering space, style, performance, and tech in equal measure. It's a stellar alternative to the Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen and compromised crossovers for owners willing to step outside their comfort zone.