Pros: Price, Standard Features, and Leg Room
Cons: Sporty but not a sports car
Our late model Mitsubishi was sucking us dry with constant repairs, so it was time for a new car. I didn't want to go with another used vehicle that would put us right back on the auto repair merry-go-round. So we set our car budget at 15k and started comparison-shopping on the net. After a few weeks we narrowed it down to the standard Elantra and the Ford Focus. Both my wife and I have driven the Focus before so we went to the closest Hyundai dealership first. Once we saw the GT we quickly lost all interest in the standard Elantra (and the Focus).
ON THE OUTSIDE:
First off it doesn't have that same old boring 4-door sedan look. The GT has a much more European flare to it and many people have told me they were surprised when they looked at the car close up that it was a Hyundai. Personally I hate hubcaps so I was quite please that the GT comes standard with 15" Aluminum Alloy Wheels. For the money you're not going to get a better looking car.
ON THE INSIDE:
This is where Hyundai really separates itself from the competition. The interior design shows a degree of thoughtfulness that other manufacturers overlook in this class. Little things like cupholders and change drawers may seem trivial, but make the car more livable in the long run. Then there is the standard equipment; Leather seats, Air Conditioning, 6 speakers AM/FM/CD, Keyless Remote entry, cruise control, and a trip computer. On top of all that is the excellent legroom this car has. A six-foot adult will have no problem with this car in either the front or back seats. In my opinion the Elantra has the best interior in its class.
UNDER THE HOOD:
Obviously if your used to driving V6 and V8 sports cars your going to be sorely disappointed with the GT's performance. The Elantra is what it is, an economy sedan. Having said that I find the car to be quite responsive and very easy to drive in city traffic. The car handles well at freeway speeds, and doesn't require you to stand on the accelerator to merge or pass. While I wouldn't try to drag race a vette, the GT has no problem holding its own against other econo boxes out there.
MAKING THE DEAL:
They don't seem to be as willing to come down on the price of the GT's. After two days and three different car lots we got the price we felt was fair. Our final cost, with TT&L, was 14,300. Two of the dealerships we shopped were very friendly and did not try to pressure us. Unfortunately we went to a third where the sales people and management gave us that seedy underhanded vibe. When they put the hard sell on us we walked out the door.