Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Review: 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport - front
Photo by Mercedes Lilienthal
I generally feel I’m aware of the latest automotive offerings as they hit the market, or even before they come out--whether they’re not small cars. However, while at the Portland International Auto Show this winter, my friend, Tuan, pointed out the latest iteration of the Hyundai Elantra GT. We drove the previous version of Hyundai’s GT hatchback back in 2013, and despite the GT moniker, we found it less than sporty.

I was really impressed with the 2018 Elantra GT’s shape. It had a European look to it that reminded me of a sporty Volvo crossed with a VW GTI. There was a handsome twin-tipped exhaust, good looking 18” wheels/tires, and an athletic stance that really did look “GT,” especially compared to the previous version.

The EGT, as I’ll call it, is powered by Hyundai’s 1.6-liter turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder engine making a healthy 201 hp and 195 lbs/ft of twist hooked up to a quick-shifting twin-clutch automatic. Well, to my luck, this exact vehicle was in the press fleet, so I was able to get a week’s worth of seat time with this sporty hatch.


Hyundai Elantra GT interior

Climb inside the EGT and you’ll find a modern, sporty interior. Its minimal styling is attractive and contemporary with red accents and stitching throughout. The HVAC and infotainment is displayed on a dash-mounted screen, like many other modern cars. The seats have good bolstering and hold you in place well, and there’s usable legroom in the back, too. This was the first vehicle I’d driven featuring wireless phone charging, as well, which worked very well with my LG G6 as well as Mercedes’ Samsung Note 8, which wears a very bulky Pelican case.

The interior is comfortable, sporty, and quite enjoyable. We also really liked the all-glass roof which does open up for additional fresh air and light.

Elantra GT's cargo area
Photo by Mercedes Lilienthal
One thing we love about hatchbacks of nearly every type is their versatility, and the EGT has plenty of it. The cargo area behind the rear seat is also very ample and able to swallow up plenty of gear.


Hyundais 1.6-liter T-GDI turbocharged and direct-injected engineAs mentioned, the EGT is powered by a gusty turbo four-banger. Throttle is generous and acceleration is definitely in the entertaining realm. The dual-clutch transmission works well, but frankly, could be a touch faster with the up- and down-shifts; it’s not quite as sporting as I’d like. If you were unsure, the EGT is front-wheel drive, putting it in the same class as the VW GTI, Ford Focus ST, maybe even the little Fiat 500 Abarth, and other hot compact hatchbacks.

The engine is responsive and smooth, and the exhaust produces a nice growl for a stock system.

The whole works comes together quite well; certainly better than the last non-boosted Elantra GT.


One of our biggest complaints with the EGT of yore was its non-GT like handling. It was simply more of a tourer than a ... uh ... grand tourer. However, this has all been addressed with the new EGT. I’ve criticized Hyundai for suspension tuning that just misses the mark in the past, but that’s not the case here. The ride is very reminiscent of the VW GTI: firm but supple, but not too stiff. The EGT is a competent handler in the corners with very well controlled roll and quick turn-in. Being we were only on the street, I was never able to truly push it, but on the backroads outside of Portland, the EGT was fun to pilot.

Most hot hatchbacks are generally pretty frugal at the pump, and the EGT isn’t an exception. Fuel economy is rated at 26 city, 32 highway, and 28 combined on 87 minimum fuel.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport - Rear
Photo by Mercedes Lilienthal
It’s not as expensive at a GTI, however. Pricing starts at $19,350 for a base manual (yes, you can get a manual!), and goes up from there. Our loaded GT Sport with the automatic stickered at $29,210. Of course, you get Hyundai’s well-known warranty with that, too. But you really do get a lot of car for the cash with this and—bonus—a manual transmission option. And, to be frank, I think the Elantra GT Sport looks great. It's a great blend of modern, sophisticated styling, and sporty good looks. This could be my favorite styled Hyundai to date, actually.

I’m glad Tuan showed me the Elantra GT at the Portland Autoshow. It was a lot of fun, looks great, and is practical. If I were in the market for a new, fun-to-drive, sporty hatchback, the Elantra GT would definitely be on my shopping list.

THE BASICS: 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport
MSRP As Tested: $29,210
Engine: 1.6L turbocharged, direct-injection four-cylinder
Transmission: Six-speed dual clutch
Horsepower: 201
Torque: 195 lb/ft
Curb Weight: 3,155 lbs.
Wheelbase: 104.3"
Overall Length: 170.9"
Suspension: F: MacPhearson strut
R: Independent Multilink
Brakes: F: 12" Disc w/ABS
R: 11.2" Disc w/ABS
Wheels: 18" alloys
Tires: 225/40/18
Fuel Economy (MPG): 26 city, 28 combined, 32 highway
Fuel Type: 87 octane gas
Final Point of Assembly:Ulsan, Korea

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