Overview

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Overview (Final Score: B)

How do you describe the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport?

You can't describe it as a red-blooded hot hatch, as it lacks the attention-grabbing exterior tweaks and noticeable performance increases. But the Sport can't be described as a standard hatchback either because it does provide a bit more power than the base Elantra GT and a revised suspension setup. There has to be a new classification for the Elantra GT Sport: a warm hatchback offering a bit more power and handling ability over the standard model, while costing slightly less than a hot hatch.

What We Love About the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT:


  • Spacious cargo hold

  • Sport model is fun to drive

  • Loads of standard equipment


 

What We Don't Love About the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT:


  • Back seat isn't as spacious as competitors

  • Programming of the dual-clutch automatic is problematic

  • Road noise is very noticeable


 

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Exterior View (9/10)

Hyundai's designers were clearly inspired by the Volkswagen Golf when working on the new Elantra GT. You will not find the latest design fad or anything polarizing on this vehicle. There are some sporting touches, such as a mesh grille insert, deep cuts in the front bumper for the daytime running lights and faux brake vents, and a unique design for the tailgate with a crease in the sheet metal. Our Sport tester got a couple of visual upgrades in the form of 18-inch alloy wheels with black caps and a dual exhaust system.

You'll either find the Elantra GT to be quite handsome or a bit boring. We find ourselves in the former group.

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Interior Comfort, Quality and Ease of Use (8/10)

Hyundai has made the Elantra GT's interior more interesting to the eyes than the Elantra sedan. This is evident by the dashboard featuring some sculpting to provide some visual differentiation and the infotainment system mounted on the dash like a small table. Sport models get red accent trim to help brighten up the interior. The standard Elantra GT goes with a combination of black and gray. Material quality is excellent with soft-touch materials on the dash and in places where you place your arms. There are some hard plastics, but in the places that make sense like the lower parts of the dash and door panels.

The seats in our Sport tester came upholstered in black leather with red accent stitching. Those sitting up front will find the seats provide adequate comfort for long trips. Front-seat passengers will also find the controls for the various functions to be within easy reach.

It's a different story when it comes to the back seat. Taller passengers will find the Elantra GT's backseat to be a tight fit with limited legroom. I'm 5'8" and I almost had my knees touching the back of the driver's seat. There is plenty of headroom for passengers of all sizes.

Cargo space is impressive with the Elantra GT with 24.9 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 55.1 cubic feet when folded. This puts the Elantra GT ahead of the likes of the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback, Mazda MAZDA3 hatchback and Volkswagen Golf. However, a tall liftover height will make loading heavy items somewhat difficult.

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Technology (10/10)

All Elantra GTs come with an 8-inch touchscreen and the latest version of Hyundai's BlueLink infotainment system. Navigation can be added via a tech package for either model. Hyundai's BlueLink system is a prime example of user friendliness. The 8-inch screen is vibrant and quick to respond to various inputs. Moving around the system is easy thanks to a logical interface and physical shortcut buttons to some of the most-used functions. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is standard.

Fuel Economy (9/10)

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport is rated at 26 City/32 Highway/28 Combined when equipped with the dual-clutch automatic. Our average for the week landed around 27 mpg, with a mix of 60 percent city and 40 percent highway.

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Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (7/10)

Consumer Reports predicts the 2018 Elantra GT will be above average in terms of reliability. J.D. Power doesn't have anything ratings for reliability or initial quality for the Elantra GT at the time of this review. Hyundai as a whole has an average rating for initial quality according to J.D. Power.

Safety (9/10)

All Elantra GTs come with seven airbags, traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, and tire pressure monitoring. The Sport adds blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert and lane change assist. These two features are available on the base GT through the Style Package. Adaptive cruise control with stop/start capability, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, high beam assist and driver attention alert can be optioned on the Sport via the Tech Package.

The Elantra GT has a four-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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Performance (7/10)

The standard Elantra GT makes do with a 2.0L four-cylinder with 161 horsepower and 160 pound-feet of torque. This can be paired with a six-speed manual or automatic. The Sport uses a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder producing 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Available transmissions include a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. We had the Sport with the dual-clutch for our weeklong test.

When leaving a stop, the Elantra GT Sport hesitates and doesn't deliver the rush of power you would expect from a turbo engine. Once above 20 to 25 mph, the engine unleashes its full potential. At first we though the 1.6T had a bad case of turbo lag, but soon discovered it was the programming of the driving modes. The standard driving mode is focused on maximizing fuel economy which dulls the throttle response and the transmission programming is tuned to upshift quickly. Putting the vehicle into the Sport mode frees up both and makes the vehicle much more lively with torque being available at a low 1,500 rpm. We hope Hyundai will add an Eco mode for those who want to maximize fuel economy and provide a standard driving mode that provides a balance of eco and sport.

The Elantra GT Sport has to Hyundai's best effort at enginnering a fun to drive model. Compared to the standard GT, the Sport swaps the torsion beam rear suspension for a sport-tuned multilink setup. The Elantra GT feels confident in the corners with minimal body roll and decent weight for the steering. The ride is compliant with a few more bumps coming inside. This is due to the larger wheels fitted to the Sport. A fair amount of road noise comes inside, but wind noise is kept to very acceptable levels.

Pricing and Value (10/10)

The 2018 Elantra GT lineup begins at $19,350 for the base model with the manual transmission. The Elantra GT Sport starts at $23,250 for the manual transmission. The automatics will add $1,000 for the GT and $1,100 for the Sport. Our test Elantra GT Sport came with an as-tested price of $29,210 with the  optional dual-clutch transmission and Tech Package. Considering that the tech package includes navigation, a large amount of active safety equipment, and an improved audio system, it is quite a steal. Add on Hyundai's 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and you have a hatchback that stands tall in the value arena.

We recommend either model, but would make sure to order the Style package for the Elantra GT and Tech package on the Sport.

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Total Score and Competitive Comparison (69/80, 86%)

The Elantra GT Sport exists in a weird vacuum. It provides more punch than what you'll find in a standard hatchback, but doesn't fully match up with hot-blooded sport hatchbacks. The closest competitors we can put up against the Elantra GT Sport are the Mazda3 with the 2.5 and Volkswagen Golf.

The Mazda3 is considered by many to be best handling model in the class, as it has little body roll and excellent steering. The 3 also features some of the sharpest styling, with flowing lines and a bold front end. Where the Mazda3 falls is the 2.5L needing to be revved when merging onto a freeway or making a pass due to its torque being slightly higher in the rpm band. The Mazda3 cannot match the Elantra GT's spacious cargo area. The hatchback only offers 20.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 47.1 cubic feet when folded.

The Golf underwent a refresh for 2018, with minor trim and lighting changes for the exterior, touchscreen infotainment systems becoming standard on all models, and more active safety features. The Golf is slightly more boring to look at than the Elantra GT. Volkswagen has tuned the Golf's ride to be just as sporty as the Elantra GT Sport, but also deliver a smooth and quiet ride.

Hyundai deserves a round of applause for the Elantra GT Sport. It may not be the most stylish or spacious for rear passengers. But the model does deliver in terms of driving fun, cargo space and value for money. We hope Hyundai does some tweaking with the driving modes and dual-clutch transmission for the Sport.

Think of the Hyundai Elantra GT Sport as being the baby bear's porridge from Goldilocks and the Three Bears: It's just right.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Hatchback - FWD
Manual 4 Cylinder FWD 19350
Auto 4 Cylinder FWD 20350
Sport Sport Manual 4 Cylinder FWD 23250
Sport Sport Auto 4 Cylinder FWD 24350

Comparison of 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT with Similar Cars

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT MSRP Invoice
2018 Hyundai Elantra GT $19,350 $18,603
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2018 Honda Civic $18,940 $17,610 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT VS 2018 Honda Civic
2018 Ford Focus $17,950 $17,323 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT VS 2018 Ford Focus
2018 Chevrolet Cruze $16,975 $16,890 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT VS 2018 Chevrolet Cruze
2018 Mazda Mazda3 $18,095 $17,319 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT VS 2018 Mazda Mazda3
2018 Chevrolet Sonic $15,295 $14,683 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT VS 2018 Chevrolet Sonic

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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