A few days back I tested an Elantra GT. For the non-HK-imbedded, it's the hatch version of the well-known sedan. Virtual twin to the Forte5, which is the hatch version of the KIA Forte, also famous in its own mind. And known to some of us troopers as the Fort.
The GT's wheelbase is shorter than the Forte5's by two at 104", vs. 106".
These hatches have about the same internal volume as my Soul, if we are to believe H-K documents regarding measure, within three or four cubic feet total. The Soul is a claimed 125 cu. ft. total internal volume. About the same as a Sportage or a Tucson, heavier, bulkier cars higher on the pay scale in the H-K world.
The two most obvious differences between the GT and F5 are the blue dash lighting on the GT, a pleasant change, and the funny way the back seats fold down. And why do most test cars have just a couple of quarts of gas in them?
The bottom part in the Elantra back seat flips up and forward, and folds separately from the back, consuming all space behind the front seats.
The Forte seats just fold down in the conventional manner.
The selling point for the Elantra is it folds flat. It also provides a little stash space under the seat bottom.
The Forte advantage is you still have that floor space behind the front seats available for stuff. Whatever.
Elantra GT is the same Nu 2.0 motor as motivates the Soul and numerous other H/K products. GT and the Forte5 EX versions get a claimed 173 HP vs. 164 in the Soul. I can't feel the difference.
FWIW, for 2017 those horsie-power numbers go down to 164. Progress.
What I can feel is the Elantra and Forte5 possess greater solidity than my Soul. They have a more substantial feel. The doors clunk more solidly, the cars feel more rugged.
Elantra is a pleasant, reasonably peppy drive. Sixty comes up in under nine according to the car mag guys. What I liked best about it is it corners FLAT. I gave the apprentice sales guy a G-ride around a roundabout, nowhere near the car's limits but still hooking it at a decent pace. His door was locked, he was belted in, he did not eject.
The car corners FLAT. I so appreciate the difference between that and my Soul, which has far too much lean for my tastes. Not to mention poorly pacified jounce and rebound. Big difference.
A nice car, the Elantra GT, very serviceable and with large internal capacity while covering a small footprint.
OAL for Soul, Elantra, and Forte5 are 163", 169", and 171", respectively. Soul WB is 101". OK, who gives a damn? NOBODY but stats freaks.
I had to drive a way to find a turbocharged Forte5. Too damn far. But I'm glad I did, even though the sales manager and appraiser were both total ash-holes and peckerheads.
My aspirational Forte5 is with the $4200 tech package. It has dual zone which I desire, and tons of other stuff thrown in too. Some details below.
For mill-geeks, this is the Gamma II 1.6 G-TDI of 1591 cc displacement. From all I've read, the lower-powered version at something like 178 HP (@ 5500) performs as well as or better than the 201 HP version. Go figure.
This turbo drives cool, it agrees with me. (As some of you know, in some exclusive, NATO-clearance circles, your friendly neighborhood Neanderthal is known as Turboman.)
The 1.6t with 201 claimed HP @ 6000 and 195 claimed torkies @ 1750-4500, vs. the mere mortals' 173 HP @ 6500 and 154 torkies @ 4700, pulls from down low like a diesel. Like my '99 TDi Golf, but with twice the HP and IIRC 33% more torque and two more gears. And unlike a diesel, it doesn't run out of breath at four grand. It's just getting warmed up.
Both these test cars use the ubiquitous--I love using that word--H/K 6A in its various iterations. I love using that word, too. Iterations. This is such fun!
* Powertech 6F24 
Contracted by Chrysler Group LLC for use in 2013-present Dodge Dart and 2014-present Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot
This transmission is designed to be maintenance-free under normal use.
Assembled in South Korea
Granted, the wonders of variable valve timing have performed miracles for small four-cylinder mills. My 2007 Spectra, of fantastic headlight fame, was my first car with VVT. The transformation from the no-low-end-torque mills I'd owned before, with non-VVT, is amazing.
That said, the Nu VVT 2.0 cannot hold a candle to a turbo'd 1.6. I feel the pain of Car and Driver gurus' complaint about a bit of grittiness as the engine gains revs.
I guess they like smooth motors, they are professionals. But I like a little grit with my steak. Or at least I don't mind it in my cars. Surely a sign of blatant rube-hood. A peasant with a pitchfork.
At any rate, the saleshomie set me loose with the Forte t and I didn't have space to crank it out. I was in an unfamiliar area (Novi) but from the punches I did poke, it just PULLS. It also corners flat as a pancake, I like that. The brakes felt strong in my admittedly brief run. The turbo 5s have 11.8" front discs vs. the stock 11-inchers.
The sales manager fetched the car from Lafontaine thinking he'd sell it to me. Weird. They usually don't do that, and I'd have much preferred a trip to Dearborn vs. Novi. But it is what it is.
"This is the only car like this for 600 miles! Lots of them in California! Haha!"
Funny thing is, I've found civilian search engines like CarGurus and Autotrader to be far more effective than the makers' websites. I found several cars, including a non-technology-packaged F5 asking $18,600 in Tinley Park, IL. The sticker is $23,300. That's the 80% deal.
These maroons in Novi were offering me the "great Costco deal" of $24,200 from a sticker of $27,215. That's the 89% solution, as Sherlock Holmes might have said.
I've been doing this a long time, and fershur that is just the of a "deal."
If you can't find a car for 20% off sticker, or at the very worst 15%, you aren't looking hard enough. OR you're shopping FJ Cruisers.
I found another stripper F5t in Burton OH asking $20,790 off a sticker of $23,305, 89%.
And in Owings Mills, MD, a technology-packed car stickered at $27,510 asking $22,212, 81%. That's a deal I could live with, and a nice chunk less painful than Novi wants.
So Owings Mills, MD is 400 miles away. Let's see, one day drive, git car, stay overnight, one day back...does that equal $2000 yet? Or if I was adventurous, I could do it in a day. Something I might attempt in June or July. Not now, when the sun goes low early.
Antioch IL, anyone? A little more$, a little closer.
So...there's not much on the car-driving part here, is there?
Reasonably quick to pretty quick, very smooth trannies*, firm brakes, all the toys including the huge s'n'oof on the technology package car, plus leather, nav (which I hope works), dual zone automatic AC, backup cam, heated outboard seats front and rear, cooled front seats or maybe just the driver's seat, not sure, heated steering wheel, snazzy outer-space 18" wheels shod with Hankook 225.40.18s. Krikey, I swore I'd never have taars that low profile. Yet the cars still ride well, definitely a comfort step up from the Soul and not so different from the Challenger, which has a totally different feel being a half ton heavier.
I remember the new inertia I felt when I traded my 1991 Camry stick for a Taurus Police Package, but especially when I went into the SHO from a Protege. Those Protoges were SO agile. And the SHO had so much more mass.
The big cars felt so ponderous, though the were sharp handlers for their day and class. I just prefer the lighter, more agile critters. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
Well, that's all I know about that. I'll think of more later.
Feedback welcome, ditto offers on assuming the Challenger lease before I go Swap-A-Lease on Monday.