Hyundai's compact Elantra lineup gets its second all-new model in as many years with the introduction of a redesigned GT hatchback to go with the sedan that bowed in 2017.
While there are some styling similarities between sedan and hatchback, the GT is significantly different underneath, riding on a chassis designed and engineered for Europe, where the Elantra GT is known as the i30.
Hyundai says the new GT's longer, wider and lower body houses more cargo space, while a body structure composed of 53 per cent more high-strength steel than the outgoing car promises better noise insulation and crash safety.
As before, the Elantra GT starts out with a 2.0L four-cylinder engine, but it's a new design that generates 161 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque, down from last year's 173 hp and 154 lb-ft. New this year is a 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder good for 201 hp and 195 lb-ft for a new performance-oriented Sport trim. Both engines come standard with a six-speed manual transmission; the 2.0L can be optioned with a six-speed automatic, while the 1.6L gets a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox as its automatic upgrade.
The Sport is also differentiated by 18-inch wheels (lesser models get 16- and 17-inch rims), larger brakes and a more sophisticated multi-link rear suspension to replace the standard car's torsion beam axle.
While the standard Elantra GT is very handsome, it remains one of many choices for buyers in the compact hatch class. However, the Sport model cracks open the door to a new market for Hyundai, where it might conceivably find itself competitive with a Mini Cooper S Clubman and the quirky Nissan Juke. It's more likely, however, the GT Sport will be cross-shopped with more mainstream models like the Honda Civic hatchback, another recently introduced small hatch available in a Sport trim and with a small turbocharged engine paired with a manual transmission.
In its base GL trim, Elantra GT comes with heated front seats and steering wheel, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert, backup camera, six-way manual front seats, six-speaker stereo, air conditioning, and an eight-inch infotainment screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration.
GLS trim adds a panoramic sunroof, 17-inch wheels, passive keyless entry and dual-zone automatic climate control.
In Sport form, the GT gets 18-inch wheels, dual exhaust tips, an eight-way power driver's seat with lumbar, leather seats and LED headlights.
A Sport Ultimate model comes exclusively with the dual-clutch transmission and adds navigation, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, seven-speaker stereo, BlueLink telematics, driver attention assist, automatic high beams and a 4.2-inch colour LCD cluster display.
Fuel consumption estimates are 9.8/7.3 for the 2.0L with manual transmission, and 9.4/7.2 with the automatic. Sport models are rated 10.7/8.1 with stickshift, and 9.2/7.1 with the dual-clutch gearbox.