Hyundai is jumping into the hot hatch segment with the new 2018 Elantra GT.

Like so many other makers, Hyundai’s recent new product focus has zeroed in on electric vehicles. However, industry observers all seem to agree that the South Korean maker needs to fill the truck gap in its line-up.

So, of course, if the company’s got a new vehicle in to unveil at the Chicago Auto Show, it’s only natural that it’s a … small, sporty car!

The automaker is taking the wraps off the new 2018 Elantra GT. Described as “lower, wider and longer” the new model is more aggressive on the outside and roomier on the inside. The new hatchback is set to hit dealerships this summer, officials said.

There are two models to choose from: The efficient, smooth running GT, or the more powerful and fun-to-drive GT Sport. Elantra GT is based on the new-generation i30 model designed for the European market, the company said.

(Hyundai quarterly profits take another hit. For the story, Click Here.)

“The new Elantra GT brings more to the North American shores for the 2018 model year,” said Scott Margason, director, product planning, Hyundai Motor America.

Longer, wider and sleeker for 2018, the new Elantra GT hits Hyundai dealerships this summer.

“More space and features inside. More aggression and European flair outside. And more options under the hood. I’m particularly excited to showcase the GT Sport, a true hot hatch.”

The hot hatch segment in the U.S. has enjoyed a renaissance in the last 18 months with new entries like the Focus RS and ST and Fiat 500 Abarth leading the charge. Even Chevy produced a new hatchback version of the Cruze to meet the new demand for hatches.

In the case of the new Elantra GT, the “show” matches the “go.” With an increased of use of lightweight steel and structural adhesives, the new model is stiffer, stronger and lighter. It’s 22% more rigid than the last GT, Hyundai says, adding the body-in-white weighs 61 pounds less. Add in a slippery 0.30 coefficient of drag and the new GT should provide plenty of performance feel.

(Hyundai next maker to roll out U.S. investment plans. Click Here for the story.)

The new GT gets better ride and handling for 2018, and offers more passenger and cargo space.

Holding the road well is only meaningful if there’s something worthwhile under the hood. Buyers can choose between two inline-four-cylinder engines: A direct injection 2.0-liter making an estimated 162 peak horsepower or in the case of the GT Sport, a 1.6-liter turbo engine and enjoy an estimated 201 peak hp along with a broad band torque peak of 195 pound feet. The six-speed manual is available in both while a seven-speed dual-clutch gear box can be had in the GT Sport.

Engineers upgraded the GT Sport’s suspension as well. The rear torsion beam suspension is switched for a fully-independent multilink setup, standard 18-inch alloy wheels and larger front and rear brake rotors.

The interior of the new Elantra GT features the latest must-have infotainment features while offering an aggressive look.

Of course, it’s not enough to make the new model go fast or handle well. The new GT models come with all of the infotainment and safety technologies expected on cars these days.

The Elantra GT is available with conveniences like Infinity Premium Audio with Clari-Fi, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and wireless smartphone charging. That’s on top of great standard features such as 8-inch display audio and 17-inch alloy wheels.

(To see why Hyundai missed its global sales target last year, Click Here.)

For safety, the GT is available with several systems usually found in expensive luxury vehicles, such as Smart Cruise Control with stop/start capability, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Attention Assist, High-Beam Assist, and Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-traffic Alert.

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