Following last year’s debut of the impressive Elantra sedan, Hyundai is following it up with the new 2013 Elantra Coupe and five-door Elantra GT. The Elantra sedan quickly jumped to the top of its segment when it was released, but how well do the coupe and five-door models line up in their respective segments?
The Hyundai Elantra lineup is getting bigger for the 2013 model year. Following last year’s debut of the impressive Elantra sedan, is following it up with the new 2013 Elantra coupe and five-door Elantra GT. The Elantra sedan quickly jumped to the top of its segment when it was released, but how well do the coupe and five-door models line up in their respective segments?
How Does it Look?
Although the Elantra coupe and Elantra GT both have the Elantra badge, they actually look and feel quite different. For starters the Elantra coupe looks exactly how you would expect a two-door Elantra to look. Hyundai didn’t take a page out of Honda’s book by making the coupe version of its compact sedan look completely different. If you like the look of the Elantra sedan, you have no reason to not like the coupe. It keeps the same swoopy exterior as the sedan, but just minus the two rear doors. Even its wheelbase, width and height are identical to the sedan. The biggest difference between the two is that the Elantra coupe gets a slightly different grille.
The Elantra GT replaces the old Elantra Touring wagon with styling that is far sportier than the old model. You will probably notice that the Elantra GT’s styling differs the most between the three models, which is due to the fact that the Elantra GT began life as the Hyundai i30 in Europe. Unlike the Elantra sedan and coupe, the Elantra GT has styling and driving characteristics that are heavily influenced by European tastes. From the front its clear that the Elantra GT is part of the Elantra family, but as you move towards the rear there are distinct styling differences that give it a sporty and refined look that makes it a great competitor to the hatchback versions of the Ford Focus and Mazda3.
How’s the Interior?
The differences between the two cars continue on the inside as well. While the Elantra coupe borrows its design from the sedan, the Elantra GT gets a different interior design that is a bit more conservative than the other Elantra models. Although the Elantra GT’s center stack is not quite as swoopy and distinctive as it is in the other two models, it felt a little more upscale and more refined than the Elantra coupe and sedan. While the Elantra coupe’s exterior dimensions are pretty much identical to the sedan’s, the Elantra GT rides on a shorter wheelbase, has a shorter overall length and is a bit taller than the sedan. All of this translates into an interior that is a bit more snug than the sedan. One thing that the Elantra GT also benefits from is the panoramic moonroof that gives the interior a nice open feeling.
What’s it Got Under the Hood?
Both the Elantra coupe and GT share the same 148 horsepower 1.8L four-cylinder engine with the Elantra sedan. Buyers can also choose between a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. With the six-speed manual the Elantra models are rated at 40 mpg highway and 29 mpg in the city. The automatic equipped models are only slightly less fuel-efficient at 39 mpg highway and 28 mpg in the city.
How does it Drive?
For starters, since the Elantra coupe is in all cases basically an Elantra sedan with two less doors, it drives pretty much the same as the sedan, which is a good and bad thing. The Elantra coupe does everything pretty well without really excelling in any one area on the road. It’s steering is a bit quicker than the sedan and thanks to a slightly different rear suspension the back end is a bit stiffer, but does it drive at all like a “sporty” coupe that it’s styling would lead you to believe? Not really. Driving through the back-country roads just outside of New York City, the Elantra coupe lacked the confidence that you would expect from a sporty coupe. It was also largely let down by its engine. Although on paper 148 horsepower may seem like it would provide decent power, the Elantra coupe needs more.
Well what about the Elantra GT? Again since the Elantra GT has been designed for more European tastes, it has a more engaging driving experience than the coupe. It is powered by the same engine as the coupe, which means that it too could use a bit more power. The Elantra GT also gets a “sport” suspension that gives it better road manners than the coupe and sedan. The Elantra GT also has a unique steering set up that has three different modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport. The modes are selected by a button on the steering wheel, with the Sport mode providing the most “steering weight” out of the three modes.
Would We Buy One?
Overall both the Elantra GT and Coupe models are welcome additions to the Elantra family and will give buyers even more options in the segment. The Elantra coupe starts at $17,445 for the base GS model and the Elantra GT starts a bit higher at $18,395. After driving both the Coupe and GT back to back, we were most impressed with the GT. It’s more versatile layout and European styling cues were quite impressive. We only had one wish, which we did ask Hyundai about… Would ever put the turbo engine from the Veloster Turbo under the hood of the GT? Of course no answer was given, but it could happen…