Hyundai introduced an all-new Elantra GT for 2018 with two very different trim levels from which to choose. There are numerous differences between the two from what’s under the hood to safety. How do you decide which is for you?
The base Elantra GT comes with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with 161 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque. This is paired to a six-speed manual transmission with the option for a 6-speed automatic. Opt for the Elantra GT Sport and there’s a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque.
It seems like a simple choice all depending on how much power you want in your versatile little hatchback. After the opportunity to drive both of these cars for a week-long test drive, the difference is dramatic. The GT Sport is downright fun. It’s the kind of car you have to pay attention to when you’re on the highway because that speed will creep up on you if you’re not careful.
In addition to more power, the GT Sport also has an available 7-speed automatic that makes better use of all that power. Larger wheels, larger brakes, and a multi-link independent rear suspension further enhance the GT Sport’s drive. This is an exceptionally sporty car that driving enthusiasts will enjoy.
Beyond that, however, there are additional differences between the two that have nothing to do with speed, power, or performance. The GT Sport has LED taillights, headlights, and daytime running lights standard while they’re an option on the base GT. There’s also dual-zone automatic temperature control, leather seats that are heated up front, and a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel. So, your GT Sport looks and feels nicer.
That might not be enough to tip you toward the GT Sport, but what about safety?
The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick+. This is the highest rating possible. It’s comprised of top crash test scores and an evaluation of a vehicle’s front crash prevention technology. That’s the tricky bit.
Not every model of a car comes with the same safety technology, so to really get that Top Safety Pick+ version of the Elantra GT you need to get it with safety technology that isn’t available on the base model. It is, however, available on the GT Sport.
It’s a part of the expansive Sport Tech Package, which includes advanced smart cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, and attention assist. It also adds a panoramic sunroof, 8-inch navigation system, ventilated seats, and Infinity premium audio.
Of course, to get the GT Sport you’re going to pay a premium, but it’s not as much as you might think. If you trick out your base Elantra GT with its two available packages and compare it to the GT Sport with its one available package, the difference is only $1,800. You get a significant safety technology boost with the GT Sport that you can’t get at any price on the base GT.
Your budget might dictate which of these two trim levels you can afford to buy, but pay attention when you’re adding options. The GT Sport stands out for its boost of power, but its optional safety features offer an even more compelling reason to go for the GT Sport.