GirlDriver, USA

GirlDriver, USA
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Elantra--the sporty, "functional" family

The 2013 Elantra GT with 17" wheels and super slanted headlamps.
I knew even before I started the engine that I was in for a sporty ride.  The aluminum-covered foot pedals and foot rest gave it away.  Then I started the engine.  The engine notes bring you right back to that date you had in high school with the bad guy who wore too much pomade.  Lose the pomade buddy and you got yourself a girlfriend.  And that's kind of what the Elantra GT does.

The Hyundai 2013 Elantra GT is such a curvaceous little darlin' it would be a shame if it weren't also a terrific car.  No worries there.  It is, as most of Hyundai vehicles in America today, well made, packed with content, stylish and reliable.  Who could ask for anything more--rhetorical question.

My test car is the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT with  front-wheel drive.  It comes with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces148 horsepower and 131 lbs-ft of torque.  A partial zero-emissions vehicle (PZEV) version of this engine lowers output to 145 hp and 130 lb-ft for vehicles sold in California-emissions states. The engine is paired with a 6-speed automatic.

EPA fuel economy estimates are the same for each transmission, with 28 mpg city/39 mpg highway and 32  combined.  My combined fuel economy on the 2013 Elantra GT was 33.9 mpg over a distance of 343.3 miles.  Most of my miles are parkways.

The lighting of the instrument panel makes the interior notable.  There's a particular glow to the white background, accented with blue and red.  It's handsome.  It's well-designed so that it doesn't make an overly ambitious statement--a comfortable, easy-to-like interior--no pomade.  It's quiet in the cabin though the noise bafflers don't separate you from the endearing engine notes. I particularly liked (and I usually don't like) using the navigation system and the audio as well as Hyundai's blueLink that finds restaurants and other (POI) places of interest and pairs bluetooth phones to their system.  The interior offers leather, heated seats, front and rear.  It is roomy--surprisingly so.  Don't reject the idea of a test drive because you're tall.  Steering comes in three flavors, normal, sporty and comfort.  I chose sporty to go along with the engine's pugnacity.

Nifty interior.  Notice aluminum foot pedals.  Center panel reminds me of Volvo's waterfall design.
Standard safety features include electronic stability control with traction control, AVS with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist,  many airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, tire pressure monitor and daytime running lights.  I fault Hyundai for not having blind-spot detection and some of the other accompanying newer safety features.  They are lifesavers and I'm sure they will soon show up on lower end models.

The Elantra GT competes with the Ford Focus, Mazda3, Volkswagen Golf and Chevy Cruze--tough competition.  This "functional" family consists of the sedan, the coupe and the GT.  As equipped my vehicle was $25,365.  Base price was $19,395. But in general, the Elantra's balance between ride and handling is one of the best in the segment. 

This is one to look at if you want to meet a functional family.

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