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CleanMPG Reviews the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

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CleanMPG Reviews the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT
CleanMPG Reviews the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT
Can a Modern Automobile Reach 4X’s Its EPA? Apparently a Hyundai Just Did…
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CleanMPG Reviews the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

The all-new 2013 Elantra GT has proven itself cross country and now at its limits, creates a place it can call its own in the thin air.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Aug 17, 2012

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT with a remarkably smooth 6-speed stick at the Julian Pie Company in Julian, CA - $18,395 to start and a 27/39/31 mpgUS city/highway/combined rating. I bolded the combined number for a reason

When Hyundai revealed this little beauty at the Chicago Auto Show this past February, I knew it was going to be good. I just did not know how good?

The Review

Following on the heels of its stable mate, the 2012 North American Car of the Year winning Elantra sedan, the GT’s DNA was derived from “good stock”. The companies design language, Fluidic Sculpture, is not only modern and attractive but functional. By functional I am speaking about aerodynamically efficient without having to rely on a delta dart shaped exterior profile, complete under body covers, guide fins, strakes, tire dams and various shaped and oversized spoilers.

In the Hyundai’s Elantra Spells “Continuous Improvement” write-up, the GT has proven itself to be an even better Elantra than the award winning Sedan from which it is derived. And it did so while maintaining the same smaller mid-size 96 cu. ft. of passenger volume and adding a bit more cargo volume at 23 cu. ft. (seats up) albeit more upright than prone.

The following provides a comparison of the Elantra GT with its direct 5-door hatch competitors in the US.

C-Segment Hatch Competitive Size Comparison

YearMakeModelPassenger Vol. (cu. ft.)Cargo Vol. (cu. ft.)Max Cargo Cap w/ Rear Seats down (cu. ft.)Total Interior Vol. (cu. ft.)
2013HyundaiElantra GT962351119
2012FordFocus 5-door912445110
2012VWGolf 9315NA108

2013 Elantra GT Maximum rear cargo area with the rear seats down.

The GTs wheelbase has been decreased by 2 in. while still allowing almost identical legroom of 42.0/34.6 in. front/rear respectively by comparison to the sedan at 43.6/33.1 in. front/rear respectively.

2013 Hyundai Elantra Specifications

The 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT is available in just one trim level with two available option packages, the Style (as driven) and the Tech package including NAVI and a backup camera. Complete specifications, pricing, standard, and optional equipment for the GT can be found within the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT specifications page.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT’s Exterior Design – New look of Fluidic Sculpture

From the front, the Elantra GT has progressed from the Elantra sedans hexagonal opening with small opening up top and large opening below separated by a body colored fascia piece to a large hexagonal grille opening with a twist. It now includes an attractive wider 2-bar chrome grille rising from the center to the top outside edges of the hood vs. the non-distinct 2-bar black grille work on the sedan. The hoods deep side creases are an extension of the profiles character line with the projector lamps and wraparounds lenses adding a modern approach to the C-Segment known more for bland proportions than cutting edge design.

The 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT in Monument Valley, UT last month.

From the profile, the all-new GT is provided with Hyundai’s deeply creased character line beginning at the front wheel arch, running through both door handles and continuing smoothly under the wrap around rear lenses before disappearing into the rear bumper fascia. A chrome beltline accentuates the window sill and vehicles overall upscale appearance. The lower rocker panel crease and small but functional rear spoiler off the top of the rear hatch adds a futuristic appearance to the cars overall looks. In addition, the Style Package’s 17 in alloy wheels with chrome inserts are the best looking wheels I have seen on an automobile no matter the segment or cost.

From the rear, the GT continues to provide a unique presence with a deeply creased character line running across the top of the rear taillights. The large rear Hyundai emblem is not just a badge but pivots to reveal a rear view camera when shifting to reverse gear on GTs equipped with the top of the line Tech Package.

While some of its competitor have a particular side or angle that provides an attractive appearance, none can say they “look” great from all directions and any angle like the Elantra GT can.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT’s Interior Design

The attractive exterior continues into the interior. The most conspicuous aspect appears vibrantly after the sun goes down. Most of the Elantra GT’s excellent tactile feeling driver controlled switches and dials are back lit in hues of red, blue and white making them easy to locate when it gets dark. In addition, the color scheme at night creates a youthful presence unlike anything in its class. The only control that detracts is the center mounted E-flasher triangle above the radio display. It’s “Red” and it is “Large” which stands out disproportionately as it probably should.

Soft and high quality interior plastics abound. A class-above leatherette stitched hood over the instrument pod is standard equipment. Bright pewter colored accents borders the entire center stack, front vents and surrounds the door controls up to the sills.

Looking closer, even the vent directional’s have a bright insert inlaid into them. The radio and ventilation control dials and manual shifter includes chrome like plastic surrounds adding to the Elantra’s appeal. The radio control knobs are a touch to small diameter for easy manipulation.

Few of the well thought out additions are standard fare in competitors C-Segment offerings let alone at this price!

2013 Elantra GT with the 6-speed AT interior shown.

The control stalks appear to be designed with intent and match up well with the best in the business Honda and Toyota pieces. The wheel controls are logically placed and mostly effortless to manipulate although the lower phone controls on the left and steering mode, trip and reset buttons on the right are cumbersome to operate due to their low wheel placement.

The headliner is a rich looking fabric on foam backing vs. others in its class that appear shod with mouse fir on egg cartons. Even the sunshades with extensions have the same appearance and texture although it is obvious they are made from a plastic substitute.

Speaking of sun visors, the map lights under the sun visors have switches that automatically shut off when you stow the visor in its flipped up position. You have heard me explain the virtues of this in previous write-ups on the Sonata, Sonata Hybrid and Accent before but I am doing it again because it is a fantastic design and should be emulated by everyone.

While the aluminum overly on the accelerator, brake and dead pedals are nice looking, I found them to be a bit hard on the feet when driving without shoes as I normally do.

The leather wrapped wheel and shift knob are to die for. Good diameter wheel and the leather is a smooth type without texture which I prefer over rougher textured leather most are equipped with.

Storage? It is loaded! An honest to goodness sunglass holder at the top next to the sunroof controls, deep front and rear door map pockets, deep open tray beneath the center console, dual cupholders in the front central transom and fold down rear armrest, “A/C cooled” large glovebox, armrest storage box that the cover slides to accommodate both larger and smaller persons, front seatback pocket(s) and a hidden storage area beneath the rear hatch floor. Drop the 60/40 rear seatbacks and you can fit quite a bit of stuff you would not normally be able to carry in a sedan from any segment let alone any C-segment offering.

Seating is possibly the most important attribute and is also a plus. At first I thought the seat back bolsters were a bit confining compared to the regular lightly bolstered Elantra sedan but after 2,000 + miles, I now prefer them. The lower cushions are long enough for most and the foam material is firm enough to prevent sagging yet soft enough to be comfortable over the long haul. Both the upper and lower seating surfaces are also heated for colder winter mornings some of us experience in the northern reaches.

A 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat including power lumbar is available with the Style package and is another feature I suspect you cannot purchase from a competitor within the mainstream C-segment class.

Finally there is the Style package’s panoramic sunroof. It’s HUGE when open! While I am not a fan of direct sunlight while behind the wheel, those that are will enjoy this class-exclusive feature even if the entire package’s content at $2,750 may seem a bit steep.

Let the sun shine in.

All told, the GT is stylish and futuristic both inside and out. And it should scare the bejesus out of the C-segment competitors as most do not provide a total package like Hyundai has with the new Elantra GT.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT Drivetrain

The 2013 Elantra offers a single drivetrain consisting of the award winning 148 HP MPFI 1.8L out of the current Elantra mated to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. I am sure some will want a more powerful mill for this “Hot Hatch” and when questioned about the addition, John Krafcik, President and CEO of Hyundai Motor America responded with the following:
“We are considering it.”
The 1.8L engines internals are what make it noteworthy as it is loaded with the very latest fuel efficiency and performance enhancements. These include:
  • Atkinsonized Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-CVVT) intake and exhaust valve control
  • Offset Crankshaft
  • 2-stage variable intake manifold
  • Electronic “Drive-by-Wire” throttle control
  • Roller swing arm and hydraulic lash valve adjusters
In "clean car states", the Elantra GT is offered in a PZEV format with an unnoticeable loss of 3 HP and only 1 lb-ft. of torque.

The 1.8L MPFI Elantra mill.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT Ride and Handling

The all-new 2013 Elantra GT is equipped with a sport tuned McPherson strut front end and lightweight V-beam with integrated 22 mm stabilizer bars that provide a handling solution superior to any Elantra that has come before it. Shod with lower rolling resistance Hankook Optimo H426s, the GT can best be described as “throwable” thanks to not only the new suspension and steering tune but its very light weight by comparison to other C-segment hatches. It reminds me of the Mazda3’s superb handling traits up to about 90% of its limits with predictable understeer after tire adhesion has been surpassed with no ill-handling or steering surprises on any number of road surfaces driven.

Steering feel and linearity in particular is finally first rate with an all new driver selectable steering mode adding to the accolades. Coming out of the mountains with higher speed turns, I found Sport mode suited my needs best. Standard higher speed highway driving and Normal and Comfort modes felt best. Around town, Comfort mode made lower speed parking lot maneuvers thoughtless. Hyundai has really improved this area from previous Elantra sedans and I can only hope their future sedans will incorporate the new steering feel and user selectable mode hardware.

Hard braking is both progressive and quick thanks to large discs on all four corners besting its main competitors 60 to 0 mph stopping distances by multiple car lengths according to Hyundai in-house test results.

All in, the all-new Elantra GT feels “sporty” albeit ride comfort has been reduced by comparison to the sedan. Over rougher pavement stretches with pronounced expansion joints you will pay a small price for the superior handling. Over sharp angled curbs or really rough roads, the suspension will bottom out hard; regain composure and then top out with a lot of harshness and noise intrusion into the cabin. It is probably the only area that Hyundai should improve upon their strut front end and torsion beam equipped rear end as driven.

2013 Hyundai Elantra Safety

Active Safety features include Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with 4-wheel discs, Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Electronic Stability Control System (ESC) with Traction Control System (TCS), Brake Assist (BA) and a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

Passive Safety includes a passenger safety cell and body structure made of 57% high-tensile and ultra high-tensile strength steels plus front and rear door reinforcements. In addition, the airbag count has increased by one over the current Elantra sedan and coupe with front, side and side plus a driver’s knee airbag. Front seatbelt pretensioners and LATCH are also standard.

The 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT has not yet been tested by the IIHS but the 2012 Elantra sedan earned a “Top Safety Pick”. I suspect the 2013 Elantra GT will earn the same. This does not include the new “small overlap front test results” for either the 2013 Elantra sedan or GT hatch.

2012 Hyundai Elantra Sedan IIHS “Top Safety Pick”

The 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT earned “5-stars” on the tougher 2011 NHTSA crash tests.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT Fuel Economy Results

The first measured tank occurred on the All-American Road Trip described in excruciating detail in the link below.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT on an All-American Road Trip

First measured top off to top off fill: 918 miles on 12.741 gal = 72.051 mpg.

While the average driver will never achieve these results, the Elantra GT with its 6-speed stick is capable of taking out a Gen-III Prius on an all-highway drive at the limits which for an affordable hot hatch is pretty damn impressive.

The second OEM average Fuel Consumption Display (aFCD) calibration drive was completed using basic and intermediate techniques in the following: Hyundai’s Elantra Spells “Continuous Improvement”

Final measured top off to top off fill: 72.5 miles on 1.182 gallons = 61.33 mpgUS.

From the first full measured tank when throwing the book at it on an almost 100% all-highway drive and the calibration drive loop using just the basics, we have a final 990.5 actual miles on 13.923 gallons = 71.14 mpgUS.

For ScanGauge-II calibration, if you are driving advanced input a – 5.3% offset for calibration which includes the mileage offset. For basic and intermediate hypermiling techniques, you do not need to change the fuel offset but will need to change the speed/distance offset by 1.7%.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT – Maximum Effort Drive

I have never experienced higher than triple digit mpgUS in a non-hybrid/non-diesel automobile. I have however experienced the following:
  • 220 mpgUS on a RT loop in a Honda Insight-I
  • 138 mpgUS in a Honda Civic turbo diesel
  • 136 mpgUS on a RT loop in a Prius-II
  • 126 mpgUS on a RT loop in a Prius c
  • 115 mpgUS on a RT loop in a Honda CR-Z
  • 105 mpgUS on a RT loop in a Honda Civic Hybrid-II
  • 100 mpgUS on a RT loop in a Prius-III
And beyond triple digits for entire tanks in any number of Insight-I’s and Prius-II’s. I have reached 80 to a high of 99 mpg in Sonics, Accents, Rio’s, FFH’s, TCHs, HSH’s, Prius v's and even my old Ranger P/U truck. What has escaped me however are triple digits in a conventionally powered modern day automobile. Until now.

The following drive was completed in the 2013 Elantra GT on a 2.25 mile RT loop that I circumnavigated 11 times over the period of about an hour and five minutes. The start and finish point were at the lowest point of the route and within 15 ft. of each other. This route has a number of quick hit alternates and paved maintenance lanes so in case of traffic; I could and did cut that drive loop short and turn around or pull over in a reverse pass. Conditions were absolutely perfect. Temperatures ranged from 73 to 79 degrees, there was no perceptible wind from any direction and traffic was extremely light.

Because this is an advanced all-out drive, the 2013 Elantra GT’s aFCD does not record FAS mpg and stops at 99.9 mpg so I had to use a calibrated ScanGauge-II. Trip A/B and Odometer accumulate so I could use those for distance although they will record short by over 5% at this level of application.

Drive start and finish location at 128 mpgUS and probably a little more given the shortage of miles recorded.

The Insight-I was a hybrid thoroughbred that has not been matched in terms of maximum range (2,254.4 miles on a RT single tank loop) or maximum MPGs at four times its EPA when it achieved 220_mpgUS on a RT drive loop. The Elantra GT will not come close to that range or actual mpg of course but it is the first modern day automobile that has surpassed its EPA by over four times its combined rating of 31 mpgUS. And it did so while ladened with the latest features and amenities plus is a blast to drive.

2013 Hyundai Elantra Conclusions

The Elantra sedan has been chided by the uninformed and those looking to make a quick buck for its lack of fuel economy prowess. The above results reveal something entirely different. As of this writing, I do not know if an all-out maximum effort drive in a conventionally powered North American automobile of any type available from any manufacturer can top what the Elantra GT achieved.

Even on the all-highway drive I can only think of two other manufacturers B or C-Segment non-hybrid/non-diesel automobiles that “may possibly” best the Elantra GT. And this is Hyundai’s least efficient Elantra model!

The improved steering, improved handling, improved throttle tip in response, improved NAVI, improved clutch and shifting action of the manual, additional features and amenities over the current 2012 North American Car of the Year was surprising. Think about it. Last year the 2012 Hyundai Elantra sedan was named NACOTY and today Hyundai offers the Elantra GT that is improved in a number of significant ways.

I forgot to mention the GT is quieter than most of its competitors. My only issue is that this GT needs a headlight adjustment as they are set to low for good lighting of the road ahead during the overnight hours.

The 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT at the Field of Dreams home in Dyersville, IA. It is indeed a dream… or was it
By Ophbalance on 08-17-2012, 07:16 AM
Re: Can a Modern Automobile Reach 4X’s Its EPA? Apparently a Hyundai Just Did…

Maybe, someday, I can hope to buy one of these with Hyundai's hybrid drive in it? Well, I can dream at least. My Prius isn't going anywhere for a for years anyway .
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By killer6795 on 08-17-2012, 08:52 AM
Re: Can a Modern Automobile Reach 4X’s Its EPA? Apparently a Hyundai Just Did…

Nice write-up Wayne. Argh, I keep going back and forth between the Elantra GT and the Mazda3 5-door SkyActiv.......

Hopefully my current Mazda will live for many more years, but it's fun to dream.
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By CRT1 on 08-17-2012, 09:12 AM
Re: Can a Modern Automobile Reach 4X’s Its EPA? Apparently a Hyundai Just Did…

Wait for the CMax. Wayne is going to crush some numbers with that ride.
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By ALS on 08-17-2012, 09:30 AM
Re: Can a Modern Automobile Reach 4X’s Its EPA? Apparently a Hyundai Just Did…

Hi Wayne,


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By PaleMelanesian on 08-17-2012, 09:39 AM
Re: Can a Modern Automobile Reach 4X’s Its EPA? Apparently a Hyundai Just Did…

128 mpg? Holy .... !!! I expect you're driving in a similar manner to what I do daily, so I might be able to top 100 for a tank?

How's the rear suspension handle mid-corner bumps? Does it skip sideways? It's too bad they didn't use the i30's independent multi-link setup.

I know you haven't done a full assault in the Mazda in good weather, or the Honda, but I'd really like to know how those stack up, both in handling and mileage.
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By seftonm on 08-17-2012, 10:11 AM
Re: Can a Modern Automobile Reach 4X’s Its EPA? Apparently a Hyundai Just Did…

128mpg is crazy!!

One thing though, the Golf's cargo area is plus/minus an inch or two of the Elantra's. The Golf's measurements must be with the cargo cover in place because I can't see plus/minus an inch making for 53% more space. Having that as a standard feature when some others do not seems to be a detriment on the spec sheet. I wonder if the 3 is the same way because its measurement looks pretty low as well. And at least from the EPA, the Golf's cabin is 94 ft^3.

Also I have all those fancy chrome-like plastic bits too
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By PaleMelanesian on 08-17-2012, 10:52 AM
Re: Can a Modern Automobile Reach 4X’s Its EPA? Apparently a Hyundai Just Did…

I think you're right about the seats-up cargo spec. The numbers are too far off for such similar-sized vehicles.
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By PaleMelanesian on 08-17-2012, 11:53 AM
Re: Can a Modern Automobile Reach 4X’s Its EPA? Apparently a Hyundai Just Did…

My car is rated a similar 31 mpg combined. I've topped 100 mpg round trip commute only twice. At my estimated 92 mpg average at the end of this tank is 92% of max, thanks to daily driving challenges.

This car at 92% of max gives 117 mpg. With its 14 gallon tank that's ... 1638 miles! Even if it "only" comes in at 100 mpg average that's still 1400 miles (plus whatever extra the tank can hold ).
Last edited by PaleMelanesian : 08-17-2012 at 12:06 PM.
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By 2RR2NV on 08-17-2012, 12:43 PM
Re: Can a Modern Automobile Reach 4X’s Its EPA? Apparently a Hyundai Just Did…

hmmm, is it even worth it to trade in LRE for that grey goose???? i know i wouldn't be getting the MT, but's better in almost every way. showed the wife, she was quite smitten with it. she wanted a hatchback, but didn't like the looks of the Elantra touring... but the GT, a whole new ball game. her only gripe was the rims.... no likey. but big whoop.

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