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Old Name, New Shape

The 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

Years ago (11, to be exact), we bought a brand new Hyundai Elantra. Didn’t know much about Hyundai except for the fact that they were offering a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty on their new cars. Good enough for me. Took the Elantra out for a test drive, talked price, bought the car. It was economical, roomy enough for the four of us, and its styling was…well, we didn’t hate it.

Fast forward to now. The famed warranty is still there. Pricing is still decent. And people are actually buying Hyundais now because they look pretty darn good. This week’s test car, the Elantra GT, is just one of many models now available. (I think there were two in 2001 when we bought ours.) From the very economical Accent (starting in the $14,000 range) to the super luxurious Equus (which starts at over $59,000) there’s something for everyone.

If you’re familiar at all with past Elantras, you’re probably wondering where the new GT fits in. Yeas ago there was a GT, which was a five-door version of the sedan. That went away and was replaced by a station wagon-like model, the Elantra Touring, which also has now gone away, replaced in the line by the GT, which is, you guessed it, pretty much a five-door version of the sedan. Styling is similar from the front doors on forward, but whereas the previous GT was pretty much a hatchback version of the sedan, the new GT is a whole different car in the aft section. And it’s pretty much the shape of many new cars out there, some which are still called cars, and others which like to call themselves crossovers. Hyundai avoids any controversy by referring to the GT as a “sporty five-door,” or, and I like this one, “Elantra with a twist.”

The GT is a model that’s been available in Europe, and is just now hitting North America. It has more cargo capacity and a bigger price than the sedan (and the new Elantra Coupe), but it also has a lot more stuff. Standard on the Elantra GT you’ll find such niceties as a cooled glove compartment (does anyone really put gloves in there anymore?); driver-selectable steering mode (comfort, normal, or sport); heated outside mirrors and front seats; remote keyless entry; fog lights; 16-inch alloy wheels; AM/FM/SiriusXM/CD/MP3 audio system with 6 speakers, USB and auxiliary input jacks; and rear window wiper and spoiler. There are two option packages to choose from: Style (17-inch wheels, sport-tuned suspension, sunroof, leather, and power driver’s seat among other things) and Tech (nav, rearview camera, automatic headlights, dual automatic temperature control, and pushbutton start).

I picked up my Black Noir Pearl test car at Northtown Hyundai, where salesman Mike Stepien acquainted me with the car. It had no option package (nor did I feel it needed one), and listed for $20,290, freight included. It had the six-speed automatic transmission, carpeted floor mats, and a first aid kit listed as options. (Be aware that if you go to Hyundai’s website, their pricing info doesn’t match up with the window sticker of the test car.) Standard transmission is a six-speed manual. Either will be connected to a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine which is EPA-rated at 28/39 miles per gallon city/highway.

Interior space and layout in the GT is excellent. There are steering wheel controls for the audio system, cruise, and Bluetooth. Everything you need is close at hand, and although it’s maybe not quite a true GT, the Elantra GT is nonetheless fun to drive.

If you’re in the market for a good-looking car that’s not boring, the Elantra GT is definitely worth looking at. The warranty, these days, is just gravy.

More info at

Read more of Jim Corbran's You Auto Know every other week in Artvoice, and more frequently on Artvoice Daily.

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