And hatchbacks are forecast to grow from 4.3 percent of the overall U.S. light-vehicle market in 2016 to about 5.8 percent in 2023, IHS Markit says.
Hyundai introduced two versions of the 2018 Elantra GT on Thursday at the Chicago Auto Show: a base model and a more powerful GT Sport.
The base version will come with Hyundai’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 162 hp, a drop of 11 hp from the outgoing version. The engine will be paired with a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission.
The Elantra GT Sport will come with the same powertrain as the current Elantra Sport sedan: a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 201 hp and 195 pounds-feet of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
The 2017 Elantra GT offers just one powertrain, a 173-horsepower, 2.0-liter non-turbo four cylinder mated to a six-speed transmission.
The 2018 GT Sport also gets 18-inch alloy wheels, a fully independent rear suspension and larger brake rotors.
Inside, the Elantra GT gets Hyundai’s next-generation infotainment system with a faster processor and a standard 8-inch display screen. The car will also have Amazon Alexa connectivity, which allows owners to use voice commands to start or unlock their car via an Alexa-enabled device (think Echo or Echo Dot).
Hyundai also is touting the GT’s interior space; there’s so much of it (96.5 cubic feet of passenger volume and nearly 25 cubic feet of cargo volume) that the automaker proudly expects the EPA to classify the GT as a large car.
Scott Margason, Hyundai’s director of product planning, said the Elantra GT’s 55.1 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seats folded down gives the car crossoverlike utility.
“Many buyers are looking for utility in their vehicles. CUVs are great, but there’s another option," Margason said. "Compact hatchbacks offer the utility of a CUV, but with sedan-like driving characteristics."
In addition to the powertrain upgrades, Hyundai has made a suite of electronic safety features optional, including lane keeping assist and emergency brake assist. BlueLink, a connectivity feature, adds some new twists for the Hyundai brand. For the first time a driver can control the rear defroster and mirror heaters remotely. Those features will find their way to other Hyundai vehicles, said Michael Evanoff, a Hyundai product planning manager.
The revamped Elantra will not push the aging Veloster performance hatchback out of the lineup, Margason said. Sales for the stubby three-door hatchback have been strong enough to warrant a second-generation, he said.
Pricing will be announced closer to the car’s on-sale date, but it’s expected to change little from the current model’s base price of $19,635, including shipping.