Capsule Review: 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

Good Grief. I wrote this three weeks ago, and never posted it.

My folks have had some Car trouble recently, and while @dogandgarden and myself may benefit from it in a round about way, really this is about them.

Ok, it’s about me being able to do something I really enjoy. Test-driving cars.

In this case, the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT, known elsewhere in the world as the Hyundai i30.

I had the day off last Friday, and took full advantage. Went down to one of my two favoured dealerships, and asked for a test drive. Full disclosure to the sales guy: He wasn’t going to sell me a car that day: I was doing research for my folks purchase. I would suggest to them that they may get additional discounts were they to come up to Ottawa to make their purchase, but, otherwise, it was going to be a long time coming for a sale. He took me out anyway. Good guy.

And, I kept the drive to a minimum. I didn’t want to chew up all his time, but at the same time, what I really wanted was driving impressions of the car.

So, fifteen minutes of wheel-time gets me the following:

1] It’s very quick on its feet. Not fast-like-the-engine, but quick. The steering is really light (that’s the electric steering, rather than hydraulic) and while it’s got a very different feel to it that I’m not a hundred percent about it, I adjusted really quickly to it. Also, with the shorter (2″ shorter than the sedan) wheel base, and 9″ less total length, it turns in QUICK. I pulled a full U-turn without hitting the shoulder. No drama, no BS. It just turned around like I asked it to.

2] The engine is… adequate. with 148hp and 131 lb.ft of torque, it’s not going to win any races. But it’s enough that you can get your foot down and go, and merge pretty seamlessly. I think there’s probably a market for an “Elantra GT R-spec” optioned with the turbo GDI from the Veloster, but maybe that’d step on the Veloster’s toes in terms of sales.

3] The transmission is great. They’ve finally got the auto/semi-automatic thing working. Not much in the way of noticable lag between manual shifts, and soft, progressive shifts when it’s in “D”.

4] The suspension… well, see 1]. It’s no sports car, but it doesn’t list like the Titanic in agressive corners, and it handles transitions very, very well. It’s still, and this is a Hyundai problem still, equating ‘stiff and juddery’ with ‘performance and handling’. My own Genesis Coupe has the same problem. There is a middle ground where you can have good handling and comfort, and Hyundai’s approaching it, but they’re not there yet. I’d also be (personal preference here) have them put winter tires on the stock wheels immediately (in stock 205/55R16 size), let them keep the stock all-season tires, and go buy a set of affordable aftermarket wheels with dedicated summer tires. That’s just how I roll though.

5] The seats seem great, for the fifteen minutes I was in ’em. Obviously, not as … encompassing… as my GenCoupe seats, but still, firm, comfortable, and relatively well bolstered for a compact economy car. The seat itself was maybe a little short for my liking, but definitely not bad. And it was easy to adjust the seat to find a position that was comfortable for me.

6] Space. The passenger compartment is huge. It is, basically, the same as the sedan. Plenty of room in the back for two adults, and as is typical for a compact car, pushing it for three on the back seat. The trunk/hatch area is good for the class, but definitely NOT as spacious as the car it replaces, the 2012 Elantra Touring.

I didn’t really get a chance to see, but the fuel economy, on paper, is stellar. That’d drop a little with my preference in tire set-ups, but I realize that for a lot of people, all-seasons are fine. I disagree. Whole-heartedly. But you can’t change everyone’s mind over night.

All in all, it’s a really, really good little car. But I think the emphasis is on ‘little’. As it’s dramatically smaller than the sedan, it’s not a lot bigger than the Accent 5-door. I kinda wish Hyundai had left the wheel-base and length alone, and migrated this styling onto a longer platform.

What I really hope is that, because they didn’t, we’re actually going to get the i40/Sonata Wagon in North America, soon.


3 Responses to Capsule Review: 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

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