How To Equip A 2014 Hyundai Elantra GT

Front 3/4 view of 2014 Hyundai Elantra GT
2014 Hyundai Elantra GT.
Almost three years ago, we had our last spin in a Hyundai Elantra, arriving at the conclusion that it was going to make life tough on the then-current Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.

Well, Corolla is all-new and Civic has been largely re-done since then....but the Elantra is still in the same generation as the 2011 model...and showing its age a bit.

Rear 3/4 view of 2014 Hyundai Elantra GT
2014 Hyundai Elantra GT.
What was startling new styling three years ago won't elicit any strong reactions today.  Other Asian manufacturers have followed Hyundai's lead and embraced swoops, flourishes and fluid lines.  It's still attractive, it's just not all that daring anymore.

Still, the fundamentals of a good small car are here.  And if you're willing to part with a few extra dollars for some added performance, the Elantra GT has its charms. $18,750 gets you 173 horsepower under the hood as compared to the 145 in the standard Elantra.  The mileage penalty is small...28 mpg city drops to 24, 38 highway drops to 34.  But the fun quotient goes up significantly.  Especially if you stick with the stick.

Yes, the manual transmission is absolutely the way to go with the GT, allowing you to keep the revs high and maxmimize the performance potential.  Best of all, everything's standard at that point.

But...you will want at least one of the two option packages our tester came with:  The Style Package.  Why? Because it includes more than style. Yes, there are side repeater exterior mirrors, leather seating surfaces, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a power driver's seat with power lumbar support, a driver auto-up window, proximity key with pushbutton start and immobilizer, LED taillights, under-floor storage and Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system, but the package also gets you 17-inch alloy wheels and a sport-tuned suspension.  Whether the bulk of the package moves you or not, the sport-tuned suspension will allow you to move better, and the overall value of the package makes the $2,550 price sensible.  Take just that and you're in for around $22,000.

Interior view of 2014 Hyundai Elantra GT
2014 Hyundai Elantra GT interior (automatic transmission shown).

The other package our car had is the Tech Package. It did the most damage to the bottom line, adding navigation with rear-view camera, automatic headlights, dual automatic temperature control, and a panoramic sunroof for $3,250...which, when the $125 for floormats and the $810 for inland freight and handling are mixed in, brought the bottom line to $25,845. We'd probably skip it.  At $22K or so, the Elantra has enough going for it (including Hyundai's world-famous 10 year/100,000 mile warranty) to make it a serious contender.  When it's pushing $26K, we'd be down the street dickering over a Honda Civic Si, which brings more power.

Again, Hyundai's dealing with a car that's getting long in the tooth here.  Look for a next-gen Elantra to close the gaps and once again breathe down the competition's neck on all fronts, styling, performance and price.