We liked the 2011 Hyundai Elantra compact from the first moment we saw and drove it. It has the style of the ground breaking mid-size Sonata, but with a smaller price and 40 mpg fuel economy. If there was one drawback it’s that Elantra was sedan only; without a sporty coupe or versatile hatchback favored by younger buyers. Well, that shortcoming dissolved with the launch of the 2013 Elantra Coupe and this Elantra GT. So, let’s take them both for a spin!
Let’s start with 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe. This two-door takes the brand’s fluidic Sculpture design language to a whole new level. The lines look perfect on the coupe as they slice their way through the body sides into the severely wraparound tail lights. We dare to declare this car as beautiful and certainly not one that sells for under 20-grand.
And that theme continues inside; as when you get in, you really do feel like you’re in a high-end automobile. Everything from the long, but light doors… to the dash… info screens… and trim belies the low price point. There are still some hard plastics, but they’ve been cleverly disguised with bright accents and various shades of trim from graphite to piano black to silver.
The radio cranks out some decent tunes, there’s a good list of standard features, and we really like the manual shifter’s trigger style reverse lockout. The back seat is surprisingly roomy for a compact coupe, and access is good. The trunk area is neatly finished if, here, a bit cheaper looking, and there are trunk mounted releases for folding the 60/40 split seat backs.
Behind the wheel, the Elantra Coupe is a huge step up from the subcompact Accent, much closer to the mid-size Sonata. And, in this Coupe, road noise is improved over the previous Elantra sedan we tested. Instead we were greeted with a lovely engine sound and an overall performance oriented feel that made commuting fun!
At our test track, we also found the Coupe to be more entertaining than the Sedan, with an eagerness to turn in, thanks to a tweaked suspension and super-grippy tries. Despite an overall soft feel and some under-steer, it is very competent and capable. Both 0-60 and quarter-mile times were a bit quicker than the sedan at 8.1-seconds to 60 and 16.4 for the quarter mile, with a speed of 86 miles-per-hour. We chalk that up mostly to the 6-speed manual transmission, as at 2,687-pounds, the Coupe is not that much lighter than the sedan… and sends the same 148-horsepower and 131-lb-ft. of torque from the 1.8-liter I4 engine to the front wheels.
Now if you’re looking for a little more practicality in your Elantra, the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT sacrifices little when it comes to style or performance, yet offers lots more room for your stuff.
Though the design says that it is clearly part of the Elantra family, the GT is actually based on Hyundai’s i30 hatchback that’s popular in Europe and elsewhere.
So the interior, while it has the same overall theme, also has a few differences, like the center stack which features unique controls, a driver’s knee air bag, and of course a different rear seat and cargo compartment. Folding those rear seats does require the extra steps of lifting up the seat bottoms and removing the head rests, but the result is a nice flat load floor with a wagon-like room of 51.0 cubic-ft. Though not as dynamic looking as the Coupe, the GT is no slouch. Especially if you choose the Style Package, which adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, turn signal mirrors, leather seats with power for the driver, aluminum pedals, and unique suspension tuning.
Putting that suspension through its paces yields an entertaining and spirited ride. We wouldn’t quite put the GT up there with the Mazda3, but it’s close. Driver Selectable Steering Modes not only adjust the amount of assist, but also on-center feel, so you can match your “wheel feel” to your driving type or conditions. The GT also shares the Sedan and Coupe’s 148-horsepower 1.8-liter I4. So, power is adequate, but not much more.
As for Government Fuel Economy Ratings, the sleeker Coupe does just a little better at 29-City, 40-Highway, and 33-Combined. We never sniffed those claims of 40 miles-per-gallon, but did average 33.1 miles-per-gallon in mixed driving. GT numbers are 27-City, 39-Highway, and 31-Combined. The Coupe’s Energy Impact Score is very good, using just 10.0-barrels of oil per year while emitting 4.5-tons of CO2.
We think the Elantra Coupe, with its base price of just $18,220 is the true bargain of the two; GT pricing is also not bad, starting at $19,170, but there are other hatchbacks we would choose first. Hyundai warranties continue to be among the best ever. More choice is always a good thing. And by adding more Elantras to the line-up, Hyundai has made a smart choice even smarter. So whether it's performance or practicality you’re looking for, Hyundai now has an Elantra just for you.
2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe:
Engine: 1.8-liter I4
0-60 mph: 8.1-seconds
1/4 mile: 16.4 seconds @ 86 mph
EPA: 29 mpg city/ 40 mpg Highway
Energy Impact: 10.0 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 4.5 tons/yr
2013 Hyundai Elantra GT:
Engine: 1.8-liter I4
EPA: 27 mpg city/ 39 mpg highway