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Hyundai Introduces Stunning New Hatch, Coupe at Chicago Auto Show

The sporty theme of the Chicago Auto Show continues with the introduction by Hyundai of an Elantra GT sports hatchback and an Elantra sport coupe. In the dead of winter, Chicago is all about new sportier cars.

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The Elantra coupe is the more significant of the two introductions because it gives the Elantra a two-door version (somewhat similar to how there are two-door and four-door versions of the Genesis). Hyundai is positioning the Elantra coupe firm against the Honda Civic coupe by touting how it is more fuel efficient with 11 percent better fuel economy, more powerful at 148 horsepower, and better torque at 131 lb. ft. It's also touting that it offers a longer wheelbase, overall length and width than Civic Coupe for a more comfortable, roomy interior cabin.

With regards to fuel efficiency, Hyundai is saying the Elantra coupe gets 40-mpg highway rating (estimated) on the six-speed manual transmission model. Better fuel economy numbers may come in the spring when the model is introduced but the Elantra has been the subject of ongoing criticism for not being able to hit 40 mpg in real world driving conditions. Super Bowl advertising for the Elantra sedan didn't make the 40-mpg highway claim.

Consider the Elantra coupe to be a more sedate version of the Hyundai Veloster with its traditional two-door styling but it does offer some of the same amenities as the three-door Veloster including 7-inch touch-screen navigation with rearview camera and iPod/USB inputs as well as Bluetooth hands-free phone system with voice recognition. The Elantra coupe also has proximity-key entry with electronic push-button start.

The Elantra GT brings five-door functionality and European driving dynamics to the expanding Elantra lineup and is slated to hit dealerships this summer. Elantra GT is based on the new-generation i30 model designed for the European market. The 2013 Elantra GT will compete with the Ford Focus, Mazda3 and Volkswagen Golf, featuring more interior volume than these models.

“Elantra GT is a fun-to-drive, functional, five-door compact hatchback,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president, Product and Corporate Planning, Hyundai Motor America. “Elantra GT is the latest example of how Hyundai is redefining the compact car and setting new standards in automotive design, efficiency and functionality.” Elantra GT’s standard fuel economy is an estimated 28 mpg city, 39 mpg highway and 32 combined with the six-speed automatic transmission or manual transmission.

Among the highlights of the Elantra GT are:
• Lightest five-door hatchback in the compact segment
• Sport-tuned suspension
• More passenger and cargo volume than Focus, Mazda3, Golf and Matrix
• Driver knee airbag- an Elantra first
• Hidden rear camera
• More aerodynamic than Impreza, Matrix or Golf

Elantra GT is the third vehicle in Hyundai’s 7/11 product initiative (seven new or redesigned models in the next 11 months). The first two vehicles in the initiative were the Veloster Turbo and refreshed Genesis Coupe. The fourth vehicle is the Elantra Coupe.

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