The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT is all-new this year, offering a more refined look and better performance in a stronger, quieter and more efficient package. As with all Hyundai products, the Elantra GT is about giving consumers loads of features and value at an impressively low price. In the case of the Elantra GT, buyers will find a sporty and stylish 5-door hatchback with more interior room than most rivals and even some compact crossovers like the Chevrolet Trax and Mazda CX-3. The Elantra GT offers a choice of two engines, manual or automatic transmission and loads of equipment including an available Infinity sound system, a panoramic glass sunroof and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Is the 2018 Elantra GT a bona fide VW GTI killer? No, not quite. But for those shopping the Mazda3, Ford Focus or Chevrolet Cruze hatchback, Hyundai’s newest arrival is certainly in the same league, and none of its competitors can match Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
What’s New for 2018?
The Elantra GT has been completely redesigned for 2018. Riding on the same platform as the European Hyundai i30, the Elantra GT gets a big boost in features, rigidity, performance and quality, all while retaining its low price and excellent standard warranty.
What We Like
Solid build; high-quality interior; powerful turbocharged engine; excellent infotainment setup; great warranty
What We Don’t
Driver-assist features only offered on most expensive trim; GT Sport not up to the performance standards set by the VW GTI or Ford Focus ST
The 2018 Elantra GT is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 161 horsepower, while the Elantra GT Sport is powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine good for 201 hp. Both trims come standard with a 6-speed manual transmission, but, whereas the base GT offers an optional 6-speed automatic, the GT Sport ups the ante with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Fuel economy figures for the GT are a respectable 23 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway with the manual, and 24 mpg city/34 mpg hwy with the 6-speed automatic. The GT Sport with the manual transmission attains 22 mpg city/29 mpg hwy, while the 7-speed automatic posts 26 mpg city/32 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
Hyundai’s hatchback Elantra GT comes in two trims: GT and GT Sport.
The Elantra GT ($20,235) comes with a 2.0-liter engine, 6-speed manual transmission, a torsion beam rear axle, 17-inch alloy wheels, a driver’ s blind-spot mirror, hill-start assist and a rearview camera. Also standard are dual heated power outside mirrors, automatic headlights, air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry, a tilt-telescopic steering column and cruise control, plus 8-in audio display featuring SiriusXM, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and HD Radio. A 6-speed automatic transmission adds an additional $1,000 to the bottom line.
The GT offers two option packages, both of which are only offered on cars with the automatic transmission. The Style package adds blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, lane-change assist, proximity key with push-button start, a 4.2-in information display, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power driver’s seat with lumbar support, heated front seats and a driver’s auto up/down window.
The Tech package brings full LED headlights, leather seats, a panoramic sunroof, LED taillights, an electronic parking brake, larger rear disc brakes, 8-in navigation radio, Blue Link, Infinity premium audio, a Qi wireless charging pad, ventilated seats and Homelink.
The Elantra GT Sport ($24,135) adds a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine, a multi-link independent rear suspension, 18-in alloy wheels, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-change assist, proximity key and push-button start, LED headlights and taillights, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seating surfaces, heated front seats and an electronic parking brake. The 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission costs an additional $1,100.
The Sport Tech package requires the 7-speed automatic and brings a panoramic sunroof, 8-in navigation radio, Blue Link, ventilated front seats, a power driver’s seat with lumbar support, Infinity premium audio, a Qi wireless charging pad, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning, lane-keep assist, high-beam assist, attention assist and Homelink.
The Elantra GT comes with a number of advanced standard safety systems including electronic traction and stability control, hill-start assist, display for individual tire pressure and six airbags including front, front side-impact and front and rear side-curtain airbags.
In crash testing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the Elantra GT four out of five stars, with a safety concern noted for rear-seat passengers experiencing elevated thoracic and rib deflections during side-impact testing. However, the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) saw no such issue, giving the Elantra GT its highest score of Good in every crash test and a Superior in the crash mitigation and avoidance test when equipped with the optional collision-mitigation systems. The IIHS also named the Elantra GT a Top Safety Pick.
Behind the Wheel
Russ Heaps spent a day behind the wheel of the new 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT. Here are some of his impressions:
At the Charleston media launch, we were able to drive the Elantra GT on a variety of roads, as well as on dry and wet pavement. Hyundai set its sights on the Volkswagen Golf when planning the i30. Although it may not have quite hit the bulls-eye, it came close. It feels stable and well planted in the turns, and the turbo in the GT Sport is responsive, with almost no hint of turbo lag when goosing the throttle. Although the entry-level GT is a bit sedate, it performs efficiently and without drama.
Inside, the cabin is roomy and quite comfy. Rear-seat legroom would be a bit tight for taller folks, but that’s about the only nit to pick. The cars we drove in and around Charleston, South Carolina at the GT’s southeast regional media debut were well-constructed inside and out. The most striking interior change is the new infotainment system. Anchoring the new system is a larger 8-in touchscreen, now occupying its own standalone space in the center of the dashboard.
Standard on every Elantra GT are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other standard goodies inside the GT include full power accessories, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with redundant audio controls, an audio system with satellite radio capability, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, seven airbags and remote keyless entry. Hill-start assist is also standard.
Ponying up the extra money for the GT Sport adds features like lane-keep assist, LED headlights and taillights, automatic dual climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, leather seating and heated front seats. Optional on both the entry-level GT and the GT Sport is a panoramic sunroof.
You probably can’t tell by looking at the Elantra GT, but it’s sufficiently roomy inside to be categorized as a large car by the EPA. Not only does this mean plenty of elbow room for up to five people, but its nearly 25 cu ft. of cargo-carrying capacity behind the rear seats can accommodate almost twice as much stuff as the cargo hold of a Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan.
Against segment competitors, the Elantra GT can hold more gear than the Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, Mazda3 and Volkswagen Golf. But it gets even more impressive. With its back seats folded, this Hyundai hatchback outcarries some small crossovers, such as the Chevy Trax, Toyota C-HR, Jeep Renegade and Mazda CX-3.
In the Elantra GT and GT Sport, Hyundai found the sweet spot between function and fun. This is particularly true of the GT Sport. Good looks, ample cargo capacity, a comfortable ride and excellent road manners make the 2018 Elantra GT a serious competitor in the sporty hatchback segment.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 Volkswagen Golf — The Golf offers a more upscale interior, a standard turbocharged engine and more communicative feedback. There’s also a high-performance GTI trim and an all-electric model from which to choose. But, the Elantra GT offers more options, more cargo space and a better warranty.
2018 Mazda3 — The Mazda3 is a superior driver’s car, with more trim options, better fuel economy and a standard low-speed collision-mitigation system. We like the Elantra GT’s infotainment system much better, however, both for its ease of use and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
2018 Ford Focus — The Focus rides on an older platform, but it still offers excellent handling, great fuel economy, lots of room and high-tech features like parallel-parking assist. Regrettably, the Focus doesn’t offer collision-mitigation technology, and its resale value is not as good as the Elantra GT’s.
Used VW GTI — A 2014-2017 VW GTI gives you the same people and cargo-hauling versatility, but with a much sportier ride, better handling, a more powerful turbocharged engine and a very upscale interior.
Seriously, if you can live without the advanced driver-assist features offered only on the Sport, we think the base Elantra GT with the automatic transmission and Style package get you a very nicely equipped car with a few additional driver-safety assists for well under $24,000.