The all-new 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT is versatile and fun

The 2018 Elantra GT offers the convenience of a hatchback along with smart styling and an attractive starting price.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT
The all-new 2018 Elantra GT –Hyundai

The all-new 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT gives the sporty little hatchback a thorough update. Instead of being a mild-mannered car that blends in with the crowd, the Elantra GT boasts a fresh face with attractive European-inspired styling. It also offers two engine choices and a slew of safety and convenience features.

The base Elantra GT is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 161 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. This is paired to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Our test car featured the automatic, which shifted smoothly and quietly, making good use of the engine’s power.

Although that horsepower number isn’t high, this car isn’t big. It’s a hatchback and the engine is more than capable of getting the Elantra GT up to speed without a fuss. Whether you’re simply driving through town or accelerating hard in highway traffic, it’s a responsive car.

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The handling is downright impressive as well. This isn’t an expensive, flashy, hot hatchback, but the Elantra GT works hard to convince otherwise. Steering is crisp and responsive, and the car stays firmly planted to the road with no body roll. Tight corners aren’t a challenge and instead become part of the fun.

The Elantra GT Sport has a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque paired to either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission. The automatic transmission is a fine ride, but the manual is simply fantastic.

Seating is comfortable throughout with room for five passengers, but the rear seats are best reserved for two except on shorter drives. There’s good head and legroom so even those on the tall side won’t feel cramped. Seating is six-way adjustable for front passengers with the option for a power driver’s seat with lumbar support.

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One of the reasons people love hatchbacks is their versatility in switching from people to cargo. The Elantra GT has 24.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. Those 60/40 split-folding seats create 55.1 cubic feet of space. There’s a wide hatch opening and a low load floor, which make bulky, heavy objects easier to stow.

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Standard infotainment includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as an 8-inch high resolution touchscreen. You don’t have to upgrade and blow your budget simply to avoid the too-small screen so often found on today’s base models. Also standard is AM/FM/HD Radio/SIRIUS XM, and USB and AUX connectivity.

Options include navigation and an Infinity premium audio system as well as Hyundai’s Blue Link connected car system and wireless charging pad so your devices stay charged without a tangle of wires. Hyundai enhanced Blue Link’s remote start with climate control to include turning on the rear defroster and heated side mirrors — something to appreciate during the depths of February.

On the safety front, the 2018 Elantra GT is a Top Safety Pick+, which is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s highest possible rating. This includes top scores for crash tests and the availability of front crash prevention technologies. Standard safety features include LED daytime running lights, hill start assist, and brake assist. Advanced technologies, including lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, are optional only on the top GT Sport trim.

The base Elantra GT with a manual transmission starts at only $19,350 making it a truly affordable car. At the top of the lineup, the Elantra GT sport with an automatic transmission still comes in with modest pricing of $24,350. Option packages run between $1,800 and $3,850, which still keeps pricing under $30,000.