NEW FOR 2014:

– New 2.0-litre engine
– New base-level L trim

It’s pretty rare for a new model to be launched, only to have a completely new engine arrive the following year, but that’s what Hyundai has done with the Elantra GT. The GT gets the 2.0-litre direct-injected four-cylinder engine from the Elantra Sport sedan, which produces 173 hp and 154 lb-ft of torque. That’s a noteworthy improvement over last year’s 138 hp and 131 lb-ft 1.8-ltre four-cylinder, and makes the already impressive GT an even better value.

Developed by Hyundai’s European division in Germany, the Elantra GT takes aim directly at the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. You’ll find a tight and rigid structure, the best ride quality out of any Elantra family member (thanks to Sachs twin-tube damping) and even electric power steering with driver-selectable weight. The latter is more of a gimmick, as there’s little feel through the steering wheel. Nevertheless, it’s a commendable effort.

The tweaks don’t stop there – the cabin has a different design with a more straightforward layout, plus the option of a full-length panoramic sunroof and a VW Golf-like rear camera that hides behind the Hyundai badge. Cargo space isn’t as impressive as some rivals, but the rear seats do fold flat. Rear-seat headroom is also a bit lacking.

Trims include L, GL, GLS, SE, and SE Tech.

In L trim, features include 16-inch steel wheels with wheel covers, six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, four-way manually adjustable passenger seat, overhead sunglass holder, cooled glove box, 172-watt six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with USB and aux-in jack, air conditioning, front console with armrest and storage, power heated exterior mirrors, tilt and telescoping steering column, power door locks, power windows with driver’s side auto-down, and a rear spoiler.

GL adds satellite radio, Bluetooth, automatic headlights, heated front seats, remote keyless entry, and cruise control.

GLS adds 16-inch alloy wheels, eight-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support, front fog lights, panoramic glass sunroof, leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, cloth door trim inserts, illuminated vanity mirrors, extending sun visors, and luggage bay storage space.

SE adds six-speed automatic transmission, 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, chrome exterior trim, front windshield wiper de-icer, sliding front armrest, driver’s window auto-up, auto-dimming rearview mirror, garage door opener, leather upholstery, dark chrome front grille, mirrors with integrated turn signals, and UV-tinted glass.

SE Tech adds 180-watt sound system, 7.0-inch touchscreen display system, reverse camera, and proximity key with push-button start.

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