2013 Hyundai Elantra GT Review Compared to Ford Focus
Best Reason to Buy: Price or payments Hyundais look and drive much better than they did even five years ago. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that they no longer deeply undercut competitors on price. Still, compared to a Ford Focus (probably its toughest competitor), the #1 reason to buy an Elantra GT remains its price.
Equip both an Elantra GT and a Ford Focus SE with sunroof and heated leather seats, and the Hyundai lists for a significant $1,995 less ($21,920 vs. $23,915). And this is before adjusting for feature differences. Though a Focus SE with Appearance Package is very well equipped, an Elantra GT with Style Package has additional features worth about $1,400 (a "Blue Link" telematics system, dual-panel rather than single-panel sunroof, power instead of manual seat adjustments for lumbar support and recline, driver-side knee airbag, "comfort" vs. "sport" calibration selector). After this adjustment, the Elantra GT is nearly $2,900 less.
Compared to a Mazda3 i Grand Touring, the Hyundai is $2,175 less before adjusting for feature differences and about $1,950 less afterwards.
Best Reason Not to Buy: Powertrain performance The Elantra GT doesn't share exterior or interior panels with the Elantra sedan, but it does share a buzzy, under-performing, not remotely "GT-worthy" 148-horsepower, 1.8-liter engine. The 2.0-liter engines in the Ford and Mazda don't offer much more peak power (160, 155), but have substantially stronger midranges (peak torque ratings are 131, 146, and 148 pound-feet, respectively) and feel much more adequate, if still less than sporting, in typical driving.
A Hyundai executive promised me that a better engine was on the way. His hints pointed towards a 2.0-liter non-turbo, perhaps the 173-horsepower, 154-pound-feet-of-torque engine offered in the 2014 Kia Forte. This engine cannot arrive too soon.
A B&M-supplied short-throw shifter was among the things that made the Elantra Touring fun to drive. It's absent in the Elantra GT. Perhaps it will return when the engine is upgraded?
Other Reasons to Buy: Warranty, maintenance cost, Exterior styling, Fuel economy, Rear seat room & comfort
Other Reasons Not to Buy: Handling, Driving position & visibility