2013 Hyundai Elantra GT at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show

  • Competes with: Mazda3, Ford Focus and Subaru Impreza hatchbacks
  • Looks like: A real hatchback instead of the wagon-like Elantra Touring
  • Drivetrain: 148-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder and six-speed manual or automatic transmission 
  • Hits dealerships: Early this summer

The Hyundai Elantra gains another body style for 2013: the four-door hatchback Elantra GT. It joins the hot-selling sedan and the new 2013 Elantra coupe. It replaces the Elantra Touring, which was skipped over for a redesign in 2011 when the sedan was all new.

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The GT looks much more like a hatchback compared with the outgoing Touring, and it gains some European hatchback flair, which is no coincidence as the GT is based on a European-market hatchback called the i30. One trim level is offered, though the number of features can vary with the Style and Technology packages.

The Technology Package includes a backup camera with a unique twist. Instead of a fixed camera on the hatch, the GT’s camera is hidden under the rear Hyundai "H" badge, and it flips up when the transmission is in Reverse.

Hyundai wanted to give the GT European-like driving dynamics, too, so it included a stiffer suspension than the comfort-oriented sedan along with unique shocks for improved body motion control. The optional Style Package amps up the suspension with sportier tuning for the package’s 17-inch wheels. Drivers can choose from three steering modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport, which adjusts the power-steering assist for varying levels of steering-wheel tightness.

Inside, the rear seats can fold flat to provide 51 cubic feet of cargo room, comparable with other similarly sized hatchbacks. Standard features include a cooled glove box, heated front seats, leather seating surfaces and Hyundai's Blue Link safety and multimedia entertainment system.

Gas mileage is expected to reach 29/39 mpg city/highway with manual and automatic transmissions, coming up 1 mpg short of the touted 40 mpg mark of the Elantra sedan and coupe. The GT’s 39 mpg highway rating remains competitive compared with other hatchbacks.

Hyundai says pricing will be announced closer to the GT's on-sale date this summer.

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