In sedan form, the Hyundai Elantra is the 2012 North American Car of The Year so it only seems fitting to add-on to the compact’s success with more models. Soon to hit the streets of America, that next variant will come in five door hatchback form so the Korean automaker can expand its stake in the automotive market. With its sights set directly on the likes of the Ford Focus, Mazda 3 and Volkswagen Golf, the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT will offer space, convince, efficiency and personality all for a base price of $18,395.

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Just like its sedan sibling, the GT Elantra shares the corporate fluidic design philosophy and efficient but fun nature. The front end is just like the other Elantras with a long and low hood, hexagonal grille and big-mouth fog light housings. Fenders flared ever-so-slightly give the car a hunkered down look while the rear end is functional and muscular; rather reminiscent of a rally ready race car. Where the GT differs big-time from its sedan and soon-to-be coupe cohorts is in the interior volume. A set of 60/40 split fold rear seats offer more cargo space than the Focus, 3, Golf and even the Toyota Matrix.

The underneath architecture of the GT is similar to the sedans with front drive but the suspension’s tuning is tweaked for a more responsive feel. Compared to the four door, the hatch holds stiffer rear spring rates, an integrated stabilizer bar for the rear V-Beam suspension and Sachs supplied dampers all around. When fitted with the optional Style Package, larger 17 inch wheels are paired with even sportier tuning while a Driver Selectable Steering Mode can mitigate the power steering box to sharpen up responses. Comfort, Normal and Sport are all available.

Just like the four door, the GT uses one engine paired to either a six speed automatic or six speed manual. Displacing 1.8 liters and pumping out 148 horsepower, the “Nu” is an Ultra Low Emissions powerplant or is requested, a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle. On the freeway, up to 39 mpg can be averaged with both transmissions given the GT best-in-class standard fuel efficiency. If ordered with the slushbox, the base price jumps up $1,000 and there are two options packages to add-on to if wanted. At $2,750, the Style Package adds such items as 17 inch wheels, a sport tuned suspension, panoramic sunroof, leather seats with power adjusts for the driver and aluminum pedals. For an additional $2,350 on top of the Style Package, the Technology Package gives up navigation, rearview camera, automatic headlamps and dual zone automatic climate control.

Source: Hyundai