2018 Hyundai Elantra GT: A Korean Compact Hatch With European Flair














The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT is a breath of fresh air in today’s automotive market. It is a compact five-door hatchback in an ocean of SUVs. But it is a unique alternative if you want a vehicle with a small footprint, plenty of space inside, European style and driving dynamics, and superlative reliability.

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT is a completely different vehicle from the Elantra four-door sedan that is common in the US, and which is strongly favored by Uber drivers. In the rest of the world, the Elantra GT is known as the Hyundai i30.

Some Elantra GT History

The Hyundai i30 has been around since 2007. It was Hyundai’s attempt to penetrate the mass market that exists in Europe for this type of car. The i30 was conceived at Hyundai’s Design and Technical Center in Germany. It was designed to compete with the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, and others in the compact hatchback class. The i30 has won many awards worldwide.

The first version to come to the US was in 2009, when a long-wheelbase version called the Elantra Touring was introduced here. In 2010, the Elantra Touring was named by Kelley Blue Book as one of the Top 10 Family Cars in the United States.

The second generation of the i30 debuted as a 2013 model in the US, and was sold here as the Elantra GT. It was also designed and engineered in Germany. This Elantra GT came here as a five-door hatchback, and was available through the 2017 model year.

An All-New Elantra GT For 2018

The 2018 Elantra GT is all new. It has ditched the second generation’s decidedly Asian exterior styling for a strongly European look. This is the result of Hyundai’s new Chief Designer, Peter Schreyer, who had previously worked at Volkswagen and Audi. The original Audi TT and the Volkswagen New Beetle were his designs.

The 2018 Elantra GT looks very Germanic, much like a current Audi or Volkswagen compact hatch. The front end’s “Cascading Grille” is a signature element that will be seen on all new Hyundai models going forward.

The 2018 Elantra GT Is Spacious Inside

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT benefits inside from its squared-off styling outside. There is 24.9 cubic feet of storage space behind the rear seats, and 55.1 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded flat. This a lot of space for a compact hatchback, and is more than Civic, Cruze, Mazda3, Focus or Golf offers.

Two Trim Levels And Two Engines

The 2018 Elantra GT is available in two trim levels, each with its own engine: Elantra GT, and Elantra GT Sport. The standard engine on Elantra GT is a 2.0L four-cylinder with 161 horsepower. The Elantra GT Sport adds a little spice with a 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder with 201 horsepower.

Transmission choices include a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic on the Elantra GT, while the Elantra GT Sport offers the option of a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DCT automatic. All Elantra GT trims are front-wheel drive.

Another interesting difference between the two trims is that they have different rear suspensions: the Elantra GT gets a simple torsion beam axle, and the Elantra GT Sport is fitted with a more sophisticated multi-link independent rear suspension. The Elantra GT Sport also gets larger brakes and wheels.

This is a major step forward in the handling department for Hyundai, and has a lot to do with their addition of Albert Biermann as Head of High Performance Development. Biermann was formerly the Chief Engineer of BMW’s high-performance M Division, so it should be no surprise that the Elantra GT was extensively tested on Germany’s famous Nurburgring race track!

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Is The Best Of Both Worlds

If you are a driving enthusiast who has dreamed of a car that combines German performance and driving dynamics with legendary Asian levels of reliability, then get yourself behind the wheel of the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT.

About The Author

Stephen Fogel

Stephen follows the global automotive industry on a daily basis, including new model announcements, new technologies, sales trends, and the latest in "green" cars.