The Elantra GT is NOT an enthusiast's car. It's an extremely practical car that provides commuters a quiet and comfortable ride in a relatively upscale cabin, with flexibility for carrying passengers and cargo, or for taking road trips. And with excellent mileage if driven conservatively.
Gas mileage: by many accounts, the Elantra GT is unusually sensitive to how it's driven. At 60 mph with cruise control on, I get maybe 42 mpg. Mileage drops off sharply with additional speed, or with cruise control off. After a cold start, maybe 15 mpg for the first mile. When slowing, I take my foot completely off the gas to activate Deceleration Fuel CutOff.
I've gotten right at 30 mpg on every tankful.
Note: 2013 Elantra GT, 1.8L PZEV, Automatic, w/Touch-and-Go package.
Luxurious features, ride, and feel at a low price point. Short body with tight turning radius for easy maneuverability. Lots of headroom both front and rear (no sunroof on mine); good legroom, too. Versatile cargo loading. Excellent fuel mileage when driven nicely.
Not a single problem in the four months I've owned it. Well, except for a buzzing from my sunglasses in the sunglasses holder. Simply opening and closing the holder rotates the sunglasses so they stop buzzing.
My Atlantic Blue Elantra GT is usually the sharpest-looking car in whatever parking lot it's sitting in. To my eyes, anyway.
Visibility out the rear and into the blind spots is almost non-existent. A puny rear window, rear-seat headrests, and large C-pillars block the view out the back. The high beltline blocks the view into the blind spots.
Asymmetric windshield wipers dump squeegeed water into the driver's field of vision on both up-sweep and down-sweep.
BlueLink telematics seems pointless unless you don't have a mobile phone. Speaking of the mobile phone, the Bluetooth hands-free feature only works when the entertainment system is turned on; I put a dummy plug in the Aux jack and select the Aux input so I can have both quiet and hands-free Bluetooth.
Interesting observation about the auto transmission in your GT.
I also own a '13 GT with the 6sp Auto.
My experience has been that the tranny willingly shifts to a lower gear and is ready to go should I need to hit the gas.
And I really like it that way.
Maybe you're using the fuel saver mode, which keeps it in higher gear more of the time for fuel economy.
Personally, I never use the eco mode.
And I get great mpgs.
Average 35 to 36 driving 80% highway.
I've noticed on long trips, which I tend to drive over the speed limit, I get about 34mpg.
But considering I'm driving at 80 mph or even faster, I don't mind.
If I keep the speeds below 70mph I easily acheave better than the rated highway mileage of 37.
At 65 mph I get average 42mpg or more.
I've had my car 15 months now.
It has 36,000 miles.
Not one problem.
First time Hyundai owner and no regrets.
One more note: I've found a specific performance issue. The auto transmission loves 5th gear too much. Take the car up over 32 mph to get it into 5th, then slow down to 25mph. The tranny is still in 5th. If I then open the accelerator about halfway, there is almost no action because the transmission doesn't downshift — unless I really mash the pedal down. The transmission really should be in 4th from slowing down that far, and then should drop into 3rd when I open the accelerator up. 5th gear is SUCH the wrong choice.
[Adding to my own review]
Further to the fuel-mileage note: Motor Trend did a test where they took four drivers and stuck them in the same vehicle for the same 27-mile test route. In the Elantra GT, MT's drivers got 39.1, 38.0, 36.7, and... 31.3 mpg. That was the most variation of any of the five cars that Motor Trend was testing that time. For comparison, in the Ford Focus SFE the leadfooted driver got 37.7 vs. the 38.6 maximum among the other drivers.
I've seen professional (magazine) reviews complaining that the automatic transmission's "manual" mode doesn't let the engine reach red-line. That complaint makes me scratch my head. Long-stroke engines like the Hyundai 1.8 work best at low RPMs. 3000 is probably about the highest you'd want for normal driving, but in a passing maneuver or emergency acceleration you might push a bit up past the max-torque point of 4700 RPM. But why would you want to get to the 6500 RPM red-line? There's nothing of value up there.
I now have personal experience on the variability of the gas mileage depending on driver and conditions. My wife borrowed my Elantra GT and got about 32 mpg on a highway trip. Maybe 9 mpg less than I get on the highway. Still running on the same tank of gas, the average mpg is coming *up* with me driving it to work.
My wife's trip had five people in the car, so the car was pretty heavy. One of the things that helps the Elantra GT get good mileage is its light weight. Also, my wife is more aggressive with the gas pedal and cruises faster than I do. But then, she's used to driving her Beetle, and that car's turbocharged short-stroke engine prefers being revved up, while the long-stroke Hyundai 1.8 does its best work below 2500 RPM or so.