Compact Utility Vehicles, more commonly labeled as “CUVs,” are becoming a viable option for car buyers. The MSRP on the average CUV is rather affordable, cargo space is sufficient, fuel economy is solid, and styling, depending on your tastes, it usually pretty sporty. The same can be said about hatchbacks, which have seen a resurgence lately with the likes of the Chevy Cruise and Honda Civic variants.
So why not have both? That’s what Hyundai is aiming for with the 2018 Elantra GT.
Exterior Styling & Interior Design
Hyundai’s “Fluidic Sculpture” elements are present in the cascading grille and LED lights of the 2018 Elantra GT. The side profile is complimented by standard 17-inch alloy wheels or 18-inch alloy wheels on the Sport trim. The liftgate has wraparound glass, while available LED taillights, rear spoiler, and dual exhaust make for nice touches. Inside, sitting atop the dashboard, is a standard 8-inch audio display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, plus a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines. The horizontally themed dash accomplishes what Hyundai dubs “negative space,” i.e. a feeling of openness with less clutter.
Those who experience geographic hot spells or cold fronts (both if you live in some parts of the country) will enjoy the Elantra GT’s heated and ventilated front seats. An Infinity premium audio system with seven speakers, a subwoofer, and Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology will keep driver’s rocking out all through the commute.
Hyundai isn’t shy about cargo space either, pointing out how the Elantra GT can hold more than the Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, Mazda3, Volkswagen Golf, and Toyota Corolla iM. With the rear seats folded down, there is more cargo capacity than the Toyota CH-R, Mazda CX-3, Chevy Trax, and Jeep Renegade.
Power & Performance
The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT is powered by a 2.0-liter GDI 4-cylinder engine, creating 161 horsepower when mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The Elantra GT Sport is a bit more robust with an enthusiast-inspired six-speed manual or seven-speed Dual Clutch Transmission with paddle shifters. The Sport’s 1.6-liter Turbo GDI packs 201 horsepower with peak torque (195 lb-ft.) being available at 1,500 rpm and sustained up to 4,500 rpm. Ultimately, Hyundai zeroed in on driving dynamics, engineering the 2018 Elantra GT according to consumer feedback and demand.
“Fun-to-drive is the most important purchase reason for compact hatchbacks and the two powertrains and chassis back this up nicely,” reads a statement from the automaker.
Body & Suspension
Given the benefits of high-strength steel, from occupant safety to enjoyable driving dynamics, it only seems fitting the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT is 53 percent advanced high-strength steel. When compared to the last generation, that’s nearly double. Although we have not driven the new Elantra GT, we would be willing to bet there is a noticeable difference between the two generations. In total, Hyundai utilized 367 feet of structural adhesives for an 18 percent increase in torsional rigidity.
Like the Elantra Sport sedan, the rear suspension in the Elantra GT Sport is a multi-link setup to enhance ride and handling while providing total body control. Finally, larger front and rear disc brake rotors compliment the Sport trim’s 18-inch alloy wheels and high performance all-season tires.
Pricing & Availability
The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT is available now and starts at $19,350; the Elantra GT Sport with a manual transmission starts at $23,250 by contrast.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.