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Chicago Debuts 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT

CHICAGO (CarPressions) -- There was a time when station wagons were popular in America. It was then replaced by the minivan, but they were still popular with college students. Sales kept shrinking and experts were saying their days were numbered. These days they're saying it's the minivans that are numbered and are being replaced by sport-utility vehicles. Wagons however didn't exactly disappear. These days they're now known as five door models. Whatever it's known as, the wagon or the 5 door, there is a convenience factor that isn't available with a sedan or a minivan. There are also sporty hatches or wagons, but one never really hears anything about a sporty minivan. There was a time when choices seemed slim in America, but they're now on the rebound. With a new Honda Civic hatchback for the 2017 model year adding to the 5-door ranks, Hyundai has debuted a new Elantra GT in Chicago. It's known as the Hyundai i30 in other countries. It competes with the Ford Focus hatch, Honda Civic 5-door, and the VW Golf. The new Elantra GT has an evolutionary design, but at the same time its actually moved further away from the Elantra sedan. While they both have a similar Hyundai grille, the Elantra sedan goes for a more modern rounded style, but the Elantra GT has a more angular traditional style that looks influenced by the Audi A4.

While the exterior has a traditional style, the interior has a more sporty style that looks like a more conservative version of a Dodge design. The vertical flowing center console has been replaced by a stylish yet rugged design. The black interior with red trim reminds us of a Dodge Dart. One thing we're really happy with about the new dash is the return of the coolant temperature guage instead of the low temperature or high temperature warning lights. Standard is an 8-inch display audio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

Power comes from a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces an estimated 162 horsepower mated to a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission or the avaliable GT Sport model that has a more power 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that produces an estimated 201 horsepower mated to a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. While the Elantra GT produces 14 less horsepower than the Civic LX hatchback and 10 less horsepower than the VW Golf, the GT Sport produces 21 more horsepower than the Civic Sport hatchback, but 9 horsepower less than the Golf GTI S. The Elantra GT Sport does have a price advantage over the Golf, so it's relatively comparable to the competition.

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