Hatchbacks, they’re versatile, usually pretty fuel efficient and more often than not, fun to drive.
Of all the examples available today, the Mazda3 is one of our favorites. Engaging in motion and easy on the eyes with an upscale cabin, it’s hard to beat. But Hyundai is looking to challenge Hiroshima with its brand-new 2018 Elantra GT.
Longer, lower and wider than before, this comprehensively overhauled compact car will be offered in two flavors when it reaches dealerships this summer, a base version and a Sport trim.
The latter offers a unique multi-link rear suspension, which should help it give the Zoom-Zoom Mazda a run for its money, though even the entry-level model was extensively tuned on the Nürburgring. While no guarantee of driving fun, this bodes well for the Hyundai’s road manners.
As for power, the Elantra GT Sport is motivated by a 1.6-liter turbocharged four that should be rated at 201 horses and 195 lb.-ft. of twist. This engine can be matched to either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-ratio dual-clutch automatic.
In addition to all of this, the Elantra is available with the latest in-car infotainment technology including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also has a HUGE interior. Behind its back seats there’s just shy of 25 cubic feet of cargo space; fold ‘em down and that figure grows to more than 55.
The Mazda isn’t nearly that capacious. Still, it offers a respectable 20.2 and 47.1 cubes, respectively.
Underhood, the most muscular engine available in the Mazda3 is a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder that’s rated at 184 horsepower and 185 lb.-ft. of torque, numbers that are similar, if slightly behind the Hyundai’s. A six-speed manual or an automatic with the same number of ratios is offered. Either one sends torque to the front wheels.
As for amenities, the Mazda3 five-door can be had with a seven-inch touch-screen infotainment system, a nine-speaker Bose sound system and a host of driver-assistance features, things like rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking and rain-sensing wipers.
While we haven’t driven the brand-new 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport, it looks, on paper at least, to be a winner. The Mazda is a known – and thoroughly enjoyable – quantity that just seems to get better with age. So, here’s the million-dollar question: Which of these cars would YOU rather own? Compare them here and make sure to vote in our poll!