The Elantra is just one step up from Hyundai’s most affordable model, the Accent and as a trim level, the Elantra GT five-door hatchback is one step up from the Elantra sedan. Refreshed for 2016, the Elantra GT sports a new grille and restyled 17-inch alloy wheels.
Upon entering the test model, I immediately noticed the panoramic sunroof. At this price point, that’s the kind of feature reserved for much more expensive models. It comes as part of the Tech Package ($3,950) that also includes leather seats, navigation, a rearview camera, dual-zone air conditioning that includes a CleanAir Ionizer, and the Hyundai Blue Link telematics system, among other features.
While heated seats are standard, the test model also had ventilated (cooled) seats, another unexpected feature, constituting a segment first. Not without gadgets, the Elantra GT also included a cooled glove compartment.
Offering the versatility of a hatchback with 51 cubic feet of cargo room once the 60/40 split rear seats are folded flat, the GT is powered by the 2.0-liter gasoline direct injected four-cylinder engine. Producing 173 horsepower and 154 lb.–ft. of torque, it has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 24 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. I averaged 29.1 mpg. There’s also an Active Eco button to enhance fuel economy but once engaged, it does produce a noticeable engine lag.
Standard technology includes the Driver Selectable Steering Mode that allows drivers to choose among Sport, Comfort, and Normal modes to improve driving performance. Bluetooth, an AM/FM/SiriusXM Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system with six-speakers and iPod/USB/auxiliary input jacks, and remote keyless entry, are also standard.
One of my favorite new tech discoveries was the SoundHound app. Some audio systems can ID songs on the radio, but not for all stations, especially local independent ones, of which Austin has many. SoundHound can name any tune, even classical music! It’s a free app that you can also download onto your phone.
Stepping up to the GT also brings a blind spot mirror (instead of a monitor) on the driver’s side and steering wheel mounted stereo and cruise controls.
Some may put a premium on a car’s performance, but for the Latino car buyer, it’s all about bang for the buck. Hyundai’s made a habit of packaging vehicles with standard features that other brands consider optional.
Pricing for the Elantra GT starts at $19,625. The as-tested price came to $26,675.
Sí: Great packaging plus SoundHound app rocks!
No: The engine lacks punch and the rearview camera should be standard.