With more versatility than the new Elantra sedan, the GT is here to take on the Golf and Civic.

Hyundai is expanding the appeal and versatility of its Elantra with the introduction of the 2018 Elantra GT. As before, those last two letters signify that it’s a hatchback derivative – in this case, based on the Hyundai i30 that was already revealed overseas. It debuts at the Chicago Auto Show and goes on sale this summer.

Visually, the Elantra GT looks very similar to the existing i30 and Elantra sedan, with what Hyundai calls “European flair.” Notable styling cues include a sharp crease that runs from the front fender to the taillights, and an unusual convex-concave profile for the rear end. Thanks to extensive use of high-strength steels, Hyundai says the Elantra GT’s body-in-white is 61 pounds (28 kilograms) lighter than before, yet 22 percent stiffer.

That new hatchback body provides a hugely spacious cargo area, with 24.9 cubic feet (705 litres) of storage or 55.1 cubic feet (1,560 litres) with the back seats lowered. That’s far more than in an Elantra sedan (14.4  cubic feet,408 litres), and also more than the Elantra GT’s competitors. With the seats up, it’s got more space than a Volkswagen Golf, Mazda3, or Chevy Cruze hatchback. With them down, it even has more storage than the roomy Honda Civic Hatchback.

Base Elantra GT models use a 2.0-litre inline-four engine good for 162 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque, mated to manual or automatic transmissions with six forward speeds. That’s beefier than the Elantra sedan’s 2.0-litre, which generates only 147 hp. The Elantra GT Sport, like its sedan cousin, has a 1.6-litre turbo engine good for 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. It has a seven-speed dual-clutch available alongside the six-speed manual. And the GT Sport also has wider 18-inch wheels versus the standard 17s, larger brake discs, and independent rear suspension instead of the base model’s torsion beam.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT
2018 Hyundai Elantra GT

Hyundai says it tested the Elantra GT at the Nürburgring to improve its sportiness without affecting handling. We’ll have to get behind the wheel to see how well that objective was met.

The inside of the Elantra GT is familiar, too, with nice appointments and a logical control layout. One big departure from the sedan is the new 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which comes standard. It perches atop the dash in a parallelogram-shaped, tablet-like stand. It offers navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and more.

Other features include optional LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, wireless phone charging, and Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system. Active-safety options include pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, and lane-keep assist.

While we don’t yet know how much the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT will cost or what fuel economy figures it will return, the new hatch looks to be a competitive entry into the compact-hatchback class.

Source: Hyundai

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