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Why Buy a Hyundai Elantra When You Can Buy a Hyundai Elantra GT Instead?

The Hyundai Elantra is one of the most competitive sedans out there for buyers on a budget. It handles well, delivers adequate power, and features modern connectivity and safety options. All this while having some of the best fuel economy around. New for 2020 are loads of options for the Elantra. But one of the best things about the Hyundai Elantra is its hatchback counterpart, the Hyundai Elantra GT.

A Hyundai Elantra on display at an auto show
A 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT on display | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

If you want a fun-to-drive compact car, why not opt for its hatchback version instead? The Hyundai Elantra GT holds its own well against its namesake. The value-packed little sedan boasts performance and technology all while providing a comfortable driving experience and a user-friendly handle. But why buy the Hyundai Elantra when you can buy the GT instead?

The Hyundai Elantra and the Elantra GT

The Elantra is one of the most popular cars in the Hyundai line up. It boasts enough performance to remain a favorite in its class even with its reputation as a budget vehicle. So, what does the Elantra sedan have that the GT hatchback doesn’t, and vice versa?

2020 Elantra upgrades

One of the definitive differences between the Elantras is the long list of upgrades the Hyundai Elantra received for the 2020 model year. The Elantra GT didn’t get anything new for 2020, so what you saw in the 2019 GT is still true for the 2020 GT.

Hyundai Elantra
The Elantra 4-door sedan | Hyundai

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The Elantra sedan improved fuel mileage due to a transmission change. But the manual transmission, once standard on the SE and the Sport trims, was regrettably discontinued. Also, the updated 2020 Elantra saw safety upgrades. The 2020 models now have standard lane keep assist, dual-zone automatic climate control, and automated emergency braking.

The 2020 Elantra GT isn’t luxurious, but it doesn’t need to be

The Hyundai Elantra GT isn’t trying to be something it’s not. The GT knows it’s a bargain buy and it is proud of it. Car and Driver appreciates its performance-oriented simplicity.

“It is quicker and more powerful than the standard versions of the Golf, Civic, and 3, but less expensive than most of the higher-performance versions of those competitors including the GTI and the Civic Si.”

Car and Driver

What comes standard on the 2020 Hyundai Elantra GT?

In their 200-mile road test, Car and Driver says that the 2020 GT earned 37 mpg overall. This is Honda Civic-rivaling efficiency. The base engine is paired with a 6-speed manual. You’ll have to upgrade for the automatic transmission. The cabin materials are of good quality, and the cloth seats are available in black or beige.

The Elantra GT offers a smooth and quiet ride –– just watch out for awkward blindspots. It is also an IIHS top safety pick. But the luxury package is only available as an upgrade for models with the turbo engine equipped with the 7-speed automatic transmission. Upgraded amenities include everything from a panoramic sunroof to a safety suite, to a superior audio system. But it isn’t available at all for any models that keep the standard manual.

dark blu Hyundai Elantra GT in front of a mountainous backdrop
the Elantra GT N-line | Hyundai

This is one of the Elantra GT’s biggest fails. The 2020 Honda Civic hatchback, which is big competition for the 2020 Elantra GT, offers all the luxury options with their manual transmission. That being one of the features that makes these hatchbacks so much fun, it’s a huge let down for the 2020 GT.

One of the best standard features for the Elantra GT hatchback is the infotainment system. Every 2020 GT features an 8-inch display that’s user-friendly in design. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are included, as well.

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Why get an Elantra sedan instead of the hatchback Elantra GT?

The Hyundai Elantra is a compelling sedan, and we love it. But the Elantra GT brings its hatchback personality into the mix and makes things exciting. Plus, hatchbacks are more versatile with all that cargo space. While, both are great compact cars that offer a lot even for someone shopping on a low budget, the Hyundai Elantra GT is a little less grown-up –– and a bit more fun.