Saturday Road Test – Hyundai Elantra GT

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Hyundai Elantra GT

DRIVE ONE!!!

By Ron Amadon

UNION BRIDGE, MD – There are some cars that you truly are sorry to see go away at the end of a test period, and the GT Elantra was one of them.

Long term readers will know that I favor cars that offer a nice balance of power, handling, style, classy interiors and value for the dollar. The GT got straight A’s in all those categories.

For 2016 the GT received a redesigned grille with horizontal chrome and argent slats that to my eyes gave it a slightly more aggressive look. And there were more than a few tech additions that will allow the owner to make the GT do everything but roll over and beg through the Apple Siri integration and expanded Hyundai Blue Link capability.

There are also newly styled 17-inch alloy wheels, and ventilated front seats that were most welcome on an early hot humid day in these parts.

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Propelling this slick looking hatch is a 2.0-liter four with 173 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 154 lb-ft of torque at 4,700 rpm. That is 28 horses more than the base 1.8-liter four and more torque on the high end of the rev counter.

For the technically inclined, it has direct injection whereby fuel is injected by a camshaft-driven, high pressure pump that operates at pressures up to 2,176 psi. It utilizes a higher than normal 11.5:1 compression ratio for increased power.

The test car had the six speed automatic that can also be shifted manually but there were no paddle shifts. A six speed manual is available as standard equipment. While the automatic did a good job, the manual would liven this this hatch up still further.

Fuel economy wise the EPA rated the GT at 24-33 mpg for a combined 27. During a week’s testing I came out shy of those figures at 21.3 mpg.

It slips through the wind thanks to a .30 coefficient of drag. This results in a surprisingly quiet ride on the interstates – the most serene interior that I have experienced on any Hyundai on the lower end of that brand’s food chain.

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The GT weighs less than many of its rivals, at 2,904 pounds for the tested automatic model, some 119 pounds lighter than the Volks Golf 5-door.

Inside there were easy to read instruments with the favored white numerals on a black background. The driver’s chair was powered with lumbar adjustments and it was easy to remain comfortable on a long day’s drive. To the rear, there is room for two adults with ample headroom thanks to the hatchback design and just enough leg and knee room with a six foot tall driver up front. The rear seats can fold flat by first folding the lower seat cushion upward. Cargo volume is on a par with competitors at 51 cubic feet with back row seats folded.

Closing the doors resulted in a very solid sounding thunk. Materials, fit and finish were excellent.

Handling was better than expected with the usual MacPherson strut front suspension and a front stabilizer bar that actually does limit body lean while exercising the GT on favorite country roads. There are also higher rear spring rates, a stiffer twist bean and Sachs damper for improved body motion control. The result is better than expected handling with a more than acceptable ride over pock marked roads, even with the Style Package’s sportier suspension calibration optimized for the lower profile P215/45R tires.

The test car came with a $3,950 “Tech Package” that included a larger than expected sunroof, ventilated front seats, navi with a 7-inch touchscreen, expanded Blue Link, Siri Eyes Free voice control, Google destination search, Pandora, dual zone climate control, rear view camera and automatic headlights.

A $1,975 “Style Package” which is a must to get the “Tech Package,” brought alloy wheels, fog lights, aluminum pedals, under floor storage, and keyless entry among other items.

Add in $125 for floor mats and $825 for delivery and the test car’s MSRP came to $26,675. Of course that included Hyundai’s long list of standard equipment.

With the exception of the lower than expected gas mileage, the GT racked up high marks to rank as one of the best little hatchbacks that I have driven in more than a decade of testing cars, especially when bang for the buck is factored in.

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