When the first Hyundai Elantra GT debuted in 2002, many saw the sporty five-door hatchback as sort of a ‘poor man’s’ Saab 9-3. The handsome, versatile, sport-tuned Hyundai was well-equipped and raised the eyebrow of many critics. The Elantra GT disappeared with the arrival of the fourth generation Elantra in 2007. However, in the spring of 2009 North America was introduced to the Elantra Touring, a four door station wagon based on the European-market Hyundai i30. For 2013, Hyundai is coming full circle, as the i30 Will now be a 5-door hatchback, and the Elantra GT is being resurrected.
Just recently introduced at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show, the Elantra GT will be powered by a 1.8L four cylinder rated at 148hp, with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. In keeping with its European focus, the Elantra GT will retain a sporty ride, and will even offer driver-selectable steering settings for comfort or sport. Additionally, the Elantra GT boasts class-leading fuel economy, interior volume and aerodynamics.
In the tradition of the last Elantra GT, the 2013 model is laden with a bevy of premium standard features, including a rear view camera, two-zone auto climate control, a CleanAir Ionizer, Bluetooth, SiriusXM Radio, panoramic moonroof, cooled glove box, heated leather seats, and a power driver’s seat. The notion of heavily equipped small car is hardly new in Europe, but is definitely gaining traction in the US and Canada. Whether the Elantra GT remains a niche car for Hyundai we cannot say, but we welcome the return of a sporty alternative hatchback on our shores. The 2013 Hyundai Elantra will be available in the summer of 2012.