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For the 2013 model year, Hyundai expands its model lineup of its bestselling Elantra line by adding a GT hatchback to enhance its versatility and functionality. This new model should increase its sales capability by giving consumers more of what they want in a compact five door hatchback sedan. I tested and photographed the new car and enjoyed the ride, it interior accruements and its new versatility and functionality. It has stiff competition in the hot-selling compact five-door hatchback niche from the Toyota Matrix, Mazda3, Ford Focus, Subaru Impreza and VW Golf. This new model should stand out from the rest with its fresh new looks, its adequate power and excellent fuel efficiency, its sport-tuned suspension, with a finely crafted and versatile interior plus a long list of safety systems.
The styling of the new Elantra GT is sleek and aggressive utilizing Hyundai’s ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ DNA. Up front is Hyundai’s signature hexagonal grille with chrome accents that flows into the hood, and its lower air-intake with L-shaped foglamps. The side shows steeply raked A-pillars, a chrome beltline molding, aero-styled sideview mirrors, a character line that runs from the flared front up, through the pull-out door handles, and over the rear fenders. The deep side extensions lowers the look for a more aggressive stance. The rear features large, wraparound triangular lamp clusters, a spoiler set atop the wide hatchback and a flat bumper with a black contrasting diffuser. My Elantra GT came equipped with the optional 17X7 inch aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with 215/45R17 inch low-profile performance tires that filled the fenders wells. The Elantra GT slips through the air with a low 0.30 co-efficient of drag that increases fuel economy and lessons wind noise.
The use of high-strength steel provides a 37% increase body stiffness and the roof in my Elantra GT features a panoramic sunroof so it is completely made of glass which lightens the curb weight even more. High strength steel allows the suspension to work optimally and at 2,784 pounds with the six-speed automatic the Elantra GT is lighter than its competitors while offering more interior room than Focus, Mazda3, Golf and Matrix. This weight-efficient unibody structure enables the Elantra GT to achieve and estimated 37mpg/highway rating.
The new Elantra GT is powered by a 1.8 liter Nu four-cylinder engine generating 148 hp at 6,500rpm and 131lb.ft. of torque at 4,700rpm. The Nu engine features an aluminum cylinder head, crank and block with a cast iron liner. The engine also features dual continuously variable valve timing (D-CVVT) camshafts and hydraulic engine mounts for optimum power, efficiency and refinement. Using D-CVVT on both camshafts has several advantages when compared with using it just on the intake camshaft. With D-CVVT, there is a 2% improvement in performance (increased volumetric efficiency), a 2% improvement in fuel economy (reducing pumping loss) and a 30% reduction in hydrocarbon emissions-according to Hyundai. In the valvetrain, roller swing arms and hydraulic lash adjusters reduce valve driven friction to improve fuel economy by 1%, compared with direct valve driving. The engine also features an offset crankshaft design that reduces friction between the piston and cylinder wall for a 1% improvement in fuel economy. The Nu engine also features a maintenance-free silent timing chain system to minimize noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). The use of a composite resin two-stage variable intake system (VIS) versus aluminum, enables switching between long and short intake manifolds, resulting in a 4% improvement in performance, a 15% reduction in cost and a 30% reduction in weight. When you push the start/stop button to fire up the engine it is super quiet, smooth and high-revving. Finally, the Nu engine features an electronic throttle for faster responding electronics and accurately controlling air intake and engine torque, improving drivability, response and fuel economy. This potent small engine gives you all the power you would need in the real world while giving back excellent fuel economy.
It is mated to either a six-speed manual transmission providing short, crisp shifts with triple-cone synchronizers for 1st. and 2nd gears, plus double-cone for 3rd. gear and single-cone for 4th, 5th, and 6th gears for precise gearing and quick shifts. My Elantra GT came equipped with the six-speed automatic transaxle with SHIFTRONIC manual control. While I had fun using the SHIFTONIC manual control to hold each gear as I wanted, the transmission in automatic mode had a tall 4.40 1st. gear ratio that gave me fast getaways from stop lights and stop signs. This smooth shifting automatic gave me the best of both worlds as I achieved a combined city/highway fuel economy rating of 31.6 mpg after my test drive. That was divided by driving in slow city traffic and at 70 mph+ on the highway.
My Elantra GT came with a sport-tuned MacPherson strut front setup with coil springs, twin-tube gas-charged shocks and a 22mm stabilizer bar which helped reduce body roll when cornering at high speeds onto or off of highway cloverleafs. The rear setup is a torsion beam with coil springs and gas-charged shocks. The sport-tuned suspension includes higher rate rear springs, a stiffer twist beam and Sachs shocks for improved body motion control. The suspension gave me a more dynamic driving experience both sporty and comfortable when driving on poorly paved roads. The transition from one type of surface to another was imperceptible. The GT’s sport-tuned suspension has a sportier calibration that is optimized for its lower-profile 215/45R17 inch tires.
Guiding the new Elantra GT through its paces is unique. The rack & pinion steering is assisted with Hyundai’s Motor Driven Power Steering system with a Driver Selectable Steering Mode. With three operating modes to select-Comfort/Normal/Sport by pushing a button on the steering wheel and selecting which one on the center of the cluster, this innovative system allows you to adapt Elantra GT steering characteristics to varying driving preferences and road conditions any time you choose. Comfort level offers the greatest ease of steering and is ideal for city and parking times. Sport is optimized for higher-speed highways or winding roads, while Normal is ideal for a mix of driving conditions. The driver selectable steering mode not only adjusts power assistance levels in each mode, but also on-center buildup and steering buildup curves throughout the steering range for a very nature, progressive feel. Steering damping characteristics, active return gain, and high frequency friction levels have also been optimized for Elantra GT. I kept the steering selection in the Sport mode and really enjoyed the car’s accurate handling response.
Quickly and safely slowing the new Elantra GT down from speed are power-assisted, four-wheel disc brakes. Up front are 11 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 10.3 inch solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear. Increasing the braking performance and control are standard ABS, BA, EBD and electronic stability control all working together to keep you in control during all driving situations. I don’t know how Hyundai does it but all of the mechanical systems worked so well together that driving the car was fun and very enjoyable in all manners and situations.
The interior matches the mechanicals with comfort, space, attention to detail, quality materials, versatility, contemporary auto and personal infotainment and safety systems. The dual-cockpit layout is excellent with a sporty steering wheel coming standard in the GT with its soft, grippy leather and tilt and telescoping function to achieve the perfect angle and reach for optimum comfort and control.
Straight ahead is the rallye style gauges trimmed in metallic as is the center stack, air vents, center console and door trim. The dual cupholder are also ringed in metallic trim. Attention to detail is seen with the tight tolerances all around especially where the windshield meets the headliner so nicely tucked in. All of the cabin refinements are inspired by the high standards of the entire Hyundai lineup. Located in the center of the stack is the optional navigation system that is displayed via a seven-inch touch screen and incorporates the rearview camera screen. This camera is like no other in that it is hidden behind the Hyundai flying H badge on the rear hatch and only appears when needed. Dual-zone climate controls are easy to use and the optional panoramic sunroof with electric operating curtain provides natural light inside. The dual climate controls also incorporate an automatic defogging system which detects humidity levels using a sensor and removes it from the windshield. Another premium feature is a CleanAir ionizer that automatically cleans the air when the heater or A/C is turned on. The GT comes standard with a 172-watt AM-FM-Satellite radio/CD/MP3 audio system with six-speakers and iPod/USB/auxiliary input jacks. A Bluetooth interface is also standard. The sound system plays compact discs, accesses digital music files via Bluetooth streaming audio or allows you and your passengers to access their personal listening devices through the iPod/USB/auxiliary inputs. The Sirius satellite radio interface is also integrated into the navigation unit and features channel logos, real-time NavTraffic and Data services such as NavWeather, Stock Ticker and Sports Ticker. You can even upload personal pictures from a USB rather than a CD to be displayed on the system’s home screen. More standard features not mentioned above incudes standard cooled glove box, standard heated front seats, 10-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, clean air ionizer, leather seating surfaces, alloy foot pedals, dual map lamps, sunglass holder, leather wrapped shift knob, dual lighted vanity mirrors, deep and wide storage box with a padded armrest, automatic headlights, standard steering wheel mounted audio and cruise control buttons, grab handles above each passenger door, storage pockets in each door, and in front of the center console, remote keyless entry, power windows/door locks with driver-side express up/down, 60/40 split folding rear seat with pull-down dual cupholder/armrest, front/rear door map pockets and variable speed wipers/washers and rear wiper/washer.
Maximizing interior volume and delighting customers with various seating layouts is what this new Elantra GT does. It features seating layouts that can comfortable seat five people or accommodate four passengers plus long items like golf clubs or snowboards. Fold down two seats, to seat three people and hold larger packages or fold all of the back seats to get CUV-sized cargo space. This is enabled by the fold-flat rear seats and rear seat cushions that can be flipped upward. There is also a cargo area under-floor storage to extra security and a 12-volt outlet for using portable electronic devices. My GT also came with a cargo cover to further ensure security of cargo and thick front/rear floor mats.
Standard safety features include driver knee/front/side impact airbags, side-curtain airbags, three-point safety belts for all seating positions with front pretensioners/load limiters, tire pressure monitoring system, trip computer with readouts between the gauge cluster, LATCH system for child seats, front/rear crumple zones and steel beams in each door.
This new 2013 Elantra GT has it all to keep young active singles, couples and families coming into Hyundai showrooms to check out one of the best in this fast growing niche segment of the compact sedan market. It has also carries a low base price starting at $19,395.00. My loaded model was priced at $25,365.00 including destination charges.
COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ
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