Most car companies have dropped the hatchback body style because our neighbours to the south avoid five-doors like the plague. Thankfully, Quebecers are hot for hatches.
This led Hyundai Canada to successfully fight for a five-door version of the Elantra.
Known as the I30 in Europe, where it was designed and developed, the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT shares the Elantra name and front-end styling with its four-door sibling, but it is a different car. The GT is 230 mm shorter than the sedan and rides on a 50 mm shorter wheelbase.
Visually, the GT is clearly a fourth-generation Elantra, starting at the front, dominated by the new cascading corporate grill.
Designed by Peter Schreyer’s team, the GT differs from the attractive new Elantra sedan from the a-pillars rearward.
The tapered roofline and very short rear overhang give it a more purposeful look than the four-door Elantra
The interior also differs from the sedan. There is a horizontal theme to the instrument panel stretching from door to door. A pair of round analogue gauges flanks a small, configurable LED screen. A 20-cm colour touchscreen handles infotainment duties, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility.
The utility of this design becomes evident the minute you open the rear hatch. Despite being shorter than the sedan, the GT boasts 705 litres of cargo space behind the rear seats. The rear seats do not fold exactly flat, but they form a level cargo area when the two-position cargo floor is set in its upper position.
The GT crosses the pond in GL, GLS, Sport and Sport Ultimate trim levels with a pair of four-cylinder engines and two different automatic transmissions.
The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT starts at $22,799 for the base model. (RICHARD RUSSELL)
Another sign of Hyundai Canada’s push to retain its European origins is the availability of a manual transmission across the board.
The base engine is Hyundai’s 2.0-litre normally aspirated GDI four-cylinder, producing 161 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. That is 14 horsepower more than the same engine in the Elantra sedan, yet another sign of the GT’s European roots.
The Sport and Sport Ultimate models get a turbocharged 1.6- litre four with 201 ponies in the corral and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. The 2.0 comes with a choice of six-speed transmissions, manual or automatic.
The turbocharged engine is paired with a seven-speed, dual clutch automatic. The manual gearbox is available in the Sport trim level.
The test vehicle had the base engine mated to the six-speed automatic. This is a case where less is not a bad thing. Quiet and extremely smooth, the 2.0 provides more than ample power.
The GT has two different suspension setups. The GL and GLS come with a twist beam rear axle, while the Sport model get an independent set up in the rear.
Having driven both at the car’s introduction, I can advise that the difference is only noticeable when driven hard on twisty roads.
Hyundai’s relentless pursuit of improvement continues unabated.
The Elantra GT is proof of the company’s global resources and the ability to tailor vehicles to markets.
Thank you Hyundai Canada for assuring we don’t meekly follow American market requirements.
-Model: 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT
-Engines: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, 162 horsepower
-Transmission: six-speed automatic
-NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 9.4 / 7.2
-Length: 4,340 mm
-Width: 1,795 mm
-Wheelbase: 2,650 mm
-Weight: 1,379 kg
-Price: $22,799 base and as tested, plus freight and taxes.