2013 Hyundai Elantra GT vs 2012 Ford Focus Hatchback April 4, 2012 VISIT MOTORRIVALS.COM
With the announcement of the Elantra GT, hatchback fans will have another reason to celebrate. What was long considered to be an unambitious category, the hatchback segment is slowly becoming one of the more interesting areas in car news. There has always been the Volkswagen Golf, and more recently the Mazda 3, to keep those entertained looking for the versatility of a five-door hatchback with somewhat sporty driving dynamics. But neither really was able to provide the style to win over customers cross-shopping other segments.

The upcoming Elantra GT and new Ford Focus are easily what I consider the two front runners in the hatchback styling department. Both bring a bit of European flair to America which all I can say is, it's about time. Europe has long coveted hatchbacks as one of their first choices in automotive transportation and have been rewarded with a wide range of hot hatches. Whereas here in America, hatchbacks have been relegated to third or fourth place. Some could even be considered a "did not finish" such as the outgoing Elantra Touring.

The Elantra GT changes all that and replaces the aforementioned car which wasn't necessarily bad, but definitely nothing to get excited about. Hyundai continues to delight and surprise us with its fresh new vehicles based on the fluidic design that debuted a few years ago. The new GT is one of the best iterations yet of Hyundai's current design philosophy. Although based on the current Elantra sedan, Hyundai gave the GT its own unique character. The GT wears a slightly different face with a new grille design unseen before on a Hyundai. The GT's profile however, is what gets me more excited. The shape ties together the front and rear in a cohesive manner but more importantly looks fantastic. The sloping roofline finishes into a tailored rear-end like a suit cut by Giorgio Armani himself. Hyundai also likes to point out that cargo room remains larger the Mazda 3, Focus, and Golf despite the trim dimensions.

After a year, the Ford Focus's design is still a standout on the road and manages to catch my eye whenever one drives by. While I still consider the grille to be a bit over-magnified on the otherwise slick body, the overall design is quite eye-catching with unique features like the arrowhead tail lamps. The Focus is slightly larger than the Elantra and with the added size comes added weight. Despite this, the Focus is still dimensionally slim and fit enough to be easily maneuverable through traffic and cities. And with more horsepower and torque than the now familiar Hyundai 1.8-liter inline-four available in the GT, overtaking becomes an easier exercise. Once the long-awaited Focus ST model arrives, the Elantra will be completely outmuscled. (Hyundai, that's your cue to drop a turbo in the GT).

Fun-to-Drive, Unsurpassed Fuel Economy and Five-Door Versatility

Lightest Five-door Hatchback in the Compact Segment

CHICAGO, Feb. 8, 2012 – Hyundai Motor America today introduced the all-new 2013 Elantra GT in a North American debut at the Chicago Auto Show. Elantra GT brings five-door functionality and European driving dynamics to the expanding Elantra lineup and is slated to hit dealerships this summer. The lineup now includes Elantra Coupe - also making its world debut today and the popular Elantra sedan, the 2012 North American Car of the Year. Elantra GT is based on the new-generation i30 model designed for the European market.

"Elantra GT is a fun-to-drive, functional, five-door compact hatchback," said Mike O'Brien, vice president, Product and Corporate Planning, Hyundai Motor America. "Elantra GT is the latest example of how Hyundai is redefining the compact car and setting new standards in automotive design, efficiency and functionality."

The 2013 Elantra GT will compete with the Ford Focus, Mazda3 and Volkswagen Golf, featuring more interior volume than these models, unsurpassed fuel economy and Hyundai's Driver Selectable Steering Mode.

• 'Fluidic Sculpture' design
• Powered by an advanced 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and in-house six-speed automatic or manual transmission
o Horsepower: 148 at 6,500 rpm (ULEV)
o Best-in-class standard fuel economy estimated at 28 mpg city, 39 mpg highway (M/T)
o Best-in-class specific output at 82.2 horsepower per liter
• Lightest five-door hatchback in the compact segment
• Sport-tuned suspension
• More passenger and cargo volume than Focus, Mazda3, Golf and Matrix
• Driver knee airbag- an Elantra first
• Hidden rear camera
• More aerodynamic than Impreza, Matrix or Golf

Elantra GT is the third vehicle in Hyundai's 7/11 product initiative (seven new or redesigned models in the next 11 months). The first two vehicles in the initiative were the Veloster Turbo and refreshed Genesis Coupe. The fourth vehicle is the Elantra Coupe.
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