TEST DRIVES

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

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Michelin

When you think of what it takes to entice new car buyers in these tougher times, value ranks high on economies of scale.

Car buyers these days want it all, and they want it at a price that doesn’t cause buyer’s remorse.

At the bottom, middle and top of the “regular car” charts, the automobiles from Hyundai, in my humble opinion, line up as the best overall values in each car class.

Consider the Accent, Elantra, Azera, Genesis and Equus. With base prices ranging from 14 to just over $59K, you are choosing from a wide range of size and feature options. Just line up the top-of-the-line Equus against the vaunted Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 7 Series. Now the Equus may not have the valet status the dynamic German duo possess, but if you line these cars up solely on performance and standard features, the Equus becomes a pretty clear choice for those who want luxury, and not necessarily status.

Knock it back a couple of classes, and Hyundai still represents great value. For 2013, the Elantra GT is stylish, returns solid fuel economy, and is a hoot to drive. And in typical Hyundai fashion, nearly everything but the proverbial “kitchen sink” is included in the GT’s $18,545 base price. Even when two optional packages were added (the “Style” package at $2,750 and the “Tech” package at $2,350), the GT price is still very reasonable.

Without options, there are still many goodies to be had. On the safety front, electronic stability control with traction control, seven airbags (front, front side, driver’s knee and side curtain), and electronic brakeforce distribution with brake assist are among standard features. For those who don’t know, this level of safety is virtually unheard of (unless you look at corporate cousin Kia) at this price. Adding this level of safety equipment usually means buying expensive packages. Toss in Five Star U.S. Government crash test ratings, and the Elantra not only becomes a fun car for those who want value, but a safe car to strap your new driver into. When my daughter Eden turned 16, I shelled out a wad of cash to buy a German sedan that had great crash ratings and all of the safety bells and whistles. If I had to do it again, I would probably select a Kia or Hyundai product.

On the comfort and convenience front, steering wheel mounted audio and cruise controls, solar glass, front fog lights, remote keyless entry, Bluetooth, “Blue Link” telematics, power windows, power door locks, heated mirrors and seats, trip computer with external temperature display, iPod/USB and auxiliary jacks.

As mentioned, my tester featured two optional packages. The “Style” Package included 17” alloy wheels, sport tuned suspension, panoramic sunroof, side mirror turn signal indicators, leather seating surfaces, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power driver’s seat, aluminum pedals, and driver’s side auto-up window.

The “Tech” Package included navigation system with rear view camera, automatic headlights, dual automatic temperature control, and proximity key with push button start. Even the option packages are a great value for the money.

On the road, the Elantra GT handles well and has decent power from the 148 horsepower, 1.8-liter four. Uncle Sam says you will get 27 city mpg, 37 highway.

Do the math and visit your local Hyundai dealer for a test drive. Even if you don’t buy a new Hyundai, you will be impressed with how far this company has come since its arrival in the states in the 80s, and how much better these cars are across the board.

– Article by Brian Armstead

Michelin

Founder, Owner & CEO

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