My major complaint about the Elantra GT was the suspension setup -- it's fine most of the time, but starts to lose its stuff when the pavement turns crappy. In my original conclusion, I said that would be enough to keep me from buying the car.
In my week-long drive, I found the same problems with the suspension -- but in real-world driving, they just didn't crop up nearly as often. Big freeway expansion joints and badly-patched pavement showed the Elantra GT in its worst light, but as long as the roads were in decent shape, so was the Elantra GT.
Another thing that really struck me was the styling. The car I originally drove (and photographed) was dark blue; this week's car was white, which showed off the creases and the all-black roof. I gave the Elantra GT props for its good looks, but after a week of seeing it parked outside my house, I developed a much deeper appreciation for what an attractive car this is.
Not that it all went well; by the end of the week, I had learned to loathe the clutch, which doesn't give much feedback and makes smooth starts tricky. (My wife Robin came back from a drive in the car and said she thought she'd gotten rusty at driving a manual; I told her the problem wasn't her.)
Still, after a week, I realized that if I were going to spend $20-$25k on a hatchback, I would be foolish to dismiss the Elantra GT out of hand simply because the suspension doesn't always play nice. And I've rewritten my review to say just that.
So how did I come to what I now think was the wrong conclusion? My original drive took place on a press preview, where I spent about half a day with the car, swapping driving duties with another journalist. That in itself isn't a problem; we were in San Diego, driving on roads I'm familiar with, and one of the few skills you learn in this job is to get a feel for a car's in a relatively short time. But this trip also covered the Veloster Turbo, a car that I found rather disappoiting. I'm thinking some of my VelTurbo angst may have rubbed off on the Elantra GT. I'm not particularly proud of that, but I'm only human. (That said, the Elantra Coupe, the third car I drove at that event, seems to have escaped unscathed.)
Fortunately, the beauty of writing for a web site rather than a magazine or a newspaper is that if I decide I'm wrong, I can make a change. Check out my revised Elantra GT review. -- Aaron Gold
Photo © Aaron Gold