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As a consumer, you can learn a lot about a particular model when critics do comparison evaluations between two similar vehicles. In one such head-to-head rundown, Autotrader took a closer look at the 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI and the Hyundai Elantra GT. And while many of these two peppy hatchbacks’ features are similar, there are a few notable differences. In the end, at least in this face-off, value beats fun, and one car emerges victorious.

Pitting two worthy contenders against each other

In this comparison review, Autotrader selected the 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI and the 2020 Hyundai Elantra GT for a head-to-head contest. The critics weighed features, performance, and even warranty coverage.

The Volkswagen is getting a complete update for 2021, and the Hyundai will retire after this year. So in a way, it’s a competition of two farewell hatchback variations.

What came new in 2020 for both rides?

For the 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI, a few notable upgrades include the availability of Wi-Fi and Volkswagen’s Car-Net telematics platform. There are only two trim levels for the GTI, but a few driver aids became standard, including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and auto emergency braking.

New for 2020, the Hyundai Elantra GT gets an improvement in fuel-efficiency. It, too, sees a standardization of driver assistance features, as well.

Potential deal-breakers for each hatchback

It’s worth highlighting a few setbacks for each model, and these cons might help you make your car-buying decision. Volkswagen actually reduced its warranty coverage this year to cover four years or 50,000 miles.

In the Hyundai’s corner, critics would have like to have had an all-wheel drive option. Since the Elantra GT will retire in 2021, it’s not likely we’ll see any improvements.

Strengths for the 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI

There’s just something to be said about German engineering as it enhances the driving dynamics of this peppy performer. Car and Driver put it on their perennial 10-Best Award list with its speed and handling.

The interior is attractive and conducive for the family. And there is a robust menu of standard equipment that makes it worth a look.

What the 2020 Hyundai Elantra GT gets right

The Hyundai Elantra GT is jam-packed with features and extras, many of which you don’t normally see in a hatchback. You’ll enjoy 17-inch alloy wheels, hill-start assist, and a rearview camera. The GT comes with heated mirrors, Bluetooth connection, and HD Radio, as well.

This hatchback offers more cargo than others in its class and is a well-balanced car during the drive. And you can’t beat the Hyundai warranty with five years and 60,000 miles for basic roof-to-road coverage.

There is also the ten-year, 100,000 miles of powertrain coverage and a three-year, 36,000 miles complimentary maintenance program.

Value beats fun in this comparison

It was a tough call for the Autotrader critics, but ultimately, they selected the Hyundai Elantra GT as the victor here. Even though the Elantra GT is phasing out, and despite the unparalleled driving dynamics of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, the Hyundai Elantra GT offers the best value.

The base MSRP for the Hyundai is $20,650, meaning you’ll get serious bang for your hatchback buck. The Volkswagen base price is around $29,515, which is still quite affordable. But you’ll be paying for fun and forgoing the value potential of the Hyundai.

This hatchback head-to-head might help you decide which car is best for you. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide which you want more, value and warranty with a retiring model, or fun and German-engineered performance at a higher price. There isn’t a right or wrong selection, but in this Autotrader contest, value certainly wins out over fun.


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