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A capacious hatch with optional hotness

When Hyundai updated the Elantra sedan for 2017, the GT hatchback was left alone. But now, at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, Hyundai has officially completed the update for the whole Elantra lineup.

The 2018 Elantra GT, known as the i30 in Europe, takes the look and equipment of the 2017 Elantra sedan and adds a hatchback. Compared to the outgoing GT, it's lower, wider and far prettier. It's 22 percent stiffer than before, and its body-in-white weighs 61 pounds less. The Elantra shape lends well to the GT. I think it looks like a Volkswagen Golf, but with a bit more aggression.

The story is the same inside. It's not much different than the Elantra sedan's innards, with a standard 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system contained in a "floating" screen design. The infotainment system features an upgraded processor for snappier functionality, and the GT can be optioned with a panoply of doodads, including wireless smartphone charging, leather seats and dual-zone climate control.

Two engines are available. The base Elantra GT comes with a direct-injection, 2.0-liter I4 good for an estimated 162 horsepower. If that's not enough, opt for the GT Sport's 1.6-liter turbocharged I4, which puts out 201 horsepower and is quite excellent in the Elantra Sport sedan. Both engines can be equipped with a six-speed manual. The base motor can be had with a six-speed automatic, while the GT Sport replaces that with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Not everybody digs the floating-screen look, but I'm a fan. It beats a bulky dashboard.

Hyundai

Safety tech abounds, as well. The 2018 Elantra GT is available with full-speed adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, automatic high beams and blind spot monitoring. Other tech trickery includes Amazon Alexa integration by way of Hyundai's Blue Link skill. Blue Link car connectivity allows smartphone users to lock, unlock and start the Elantra GT with a few taps in an app, as well.

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT arrives at dealers this summer, and pricing is still TBD.

 

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