Up until now, Hyundai’s Elantra was available only in a popular four-door sedan configuration. Seemingly never content with the status quo, Hyundai elected to expand the Elantra lineup with an all-new Coupe version along with a GT model that appears in a 5-door model hatch format. Now there’s something for everybody in the Elantra stable. Okay, there’s no Turbocharged engine yet for the GT and Coupe vehicles, but we’d bet that it’s not far off.
Both the Coupe and GT Elantras feature the same basic mechanicals, but the Coupe’s wheelbase and overall length is surprisingly longer than that of the GT, while the GT stands a little taller and is a bit wider and heavier. The Coupe is also a little slipperier through the atmosphere with a CD of 0.28 compared to the 0.30 CD of the GT.
The Elantra GT will be available in one level of trim, but with option packages for customization and personalization. The Elantra Coupe will come in two trim levels or models: GS and SE. Both the Coupe and 5-Door GT will draw their motive power from a 1.8-liter, DOHC D–CVVT four-cylinder engine with electronic fuel injection that puts out 148 horsepower (ULEV) or 145 (PZEV) and 131 pound feet of torque and 130 (ULEV and PZEV respectively). Both position their engines in an East/West orientation up front, driving the front wheels with power geared through either a 6-speed manual gearbox with an EcoShift indicator, or an electronically controlled 6-speed automatic with overdrive lockup torque converter and gate-type electronic shift lock system with SHIFTRONIC™ manual shift mode.
Each new Elantra plays a distinct role in the Hyundai lineup – the Coupe provides an expressive and sporty alternative to the more mainstream, high-volume compact sedan. The GT, on the other hand represents a “styled for the next generation” 5-door hatch – still sporty, but with added versatility and functionality for active lifestyle types, whether single, a couple or family. The GT was actually developed for the European marketplace and shares several parts with the Elantra sedan.
In terms of physical appearance, the Coupe and GT are quite different on overall form, but share several styling cues and elements such as the basic hexagonal grille and front fascia shape, along with the pronounced wheel-well arches and side character lines. The wraparound headlamp assemblies are also quite similar. Obviously the roofline differs most dramatically, with the Coupe’s roof arched and sloping rearward into the abbreviated deck. The Coupe rolls on specifically designed alloy wheels, different from those of the GT. The Coupe also sports right side dual exhaust tips, while the GT’s exhaust is rather obscure. The rear fascias are different as well between the two. There are some similarities, as both feature the same wraparound taillamp assemblies and fundamental dead-on shape, but the Coupe naturally has a trunk lid with an integrated spoiler, while the GT sports a top-hinged hatch with an integrated spoiler lip. The GT provides four side doors in addition to its rear hatch (the 5th door), while the Coupe in true fashion only comes with two doors.
Moving to the inside, the center stacks of the Coupe and GT models receive a slightly different treatment, while both offer ergonomic and user-friendly switchgear. The GT provides a badge concealed rear camera and an optional panoramic sunroof. The GT’s rear seat features 60/40 split fold-down seatbacks and front seatback pockets.
The GS Coupe’s pricing starts at $17,445 for the GS trim with Manual transmission and progresses to $23,095 for the SE trim model with automatic transmission and Technology Package. The GT begins pricing at $18,395 with a manual gearbox and tops at $24,495 when equipped with the automatic transmission and Tech Package. (A Style Package is also available). The Elantra GT also features a compact segment first – a Driver Selectable Steering Mode with Comfort, Normal and Sport settings.
I was able to pilot several versions of the 2013 production Elantra Coupe and GT models: an SE Coupe with a manual transmission and both an automatic and manual GT. The Coupe sported a Blue Sky metallic exterior finish with a Black on Black interior Priced at $20,615 as tested. My automatic GT test vehicle wore a Shimmering Silver metallic exterior, with the interior executed in Black with Blue trim. It went out the door at $23,015. Add 775 Inland Freight and Handling for both.
Both the Elantra Coupe and the Elantra GT for 2013 represent a remarkable value, considering the impressive equipment and feature content for the price. The Coupe was a little lighter and thereby seemed more somewhat nimble, while the GT provided more functionality, while still delivering a level of driving fun – especially on two different autocross courses that were set up to test both driver skill and vehicle capability.
Both Elantra models are most attractive and both handled with pleasing stability and ride compliance. The 1.8-liter four bangers that provided power, delivered more than adequate acceleration except in extreme scenarios, such as passing on a steep incline. In other words, the little engine that could, would benefit from turbocharging for more enthusiastic drivers. For everday commuting or around town use, the normally aspirated engine is just fine.
In the final analysis, the selection or choice between the Coupe and GT is purely one of personal preference. My pick would be the GT, for its added versatility and convenience, and I also prefer its looks over the Coupe. Factor in Hyundai’s outstanding warranty, and the new Elantra models outshine many competitors.