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Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/1/20 4:14 p.m.

As you may have seen in one of my threads complaining about the eventual demise of my Mazda 3's transmission, I may be in the market for a new daily driver soon since 2010-13 Mazda 3 G66M-R transmissions are apparently made of unobtanium. In the search, the Korean twins known as the Elantra Sport and the Forte GT have popped up numerous times. You know, these things:





They check all the boxes (on paper at least):

-Something that gets good MPG
-Makes more power than my Mazda
-Compact with a manual transmission
-Actually available, as in the dealer up the road has one of each in stock right now
-Nicer on the inside than the Mazda
-Cheap (around $20k-under new or used)

Now, we've had two Korean cars before: a 2005 Kia Spectra and a 2008 Hyundai Elantra. The Kia was spartan, but it was a good car overall that needed little repair over the years. The Hyundai, on the other hand was a steaming pile for MANY reasons. I know they have their fans on here (paging Bobzilla...) but after that last one, I swore never to buy another, that is, until I'm considering one now.

Right now, I have two in my sights: a used 2018 Elantra Sport and a 2020 Kia Forte GT. I'd prefer a new Elantra GT, but none are available with a manual trans around here (actually, I'd prefer a Civic Si, but used ones with 40k mi are going for new MSRP right now). I like the styling of the Elantra Sport better, at least, the body style pictured above. The newer version has a serious case of the triangles.



I see some reviews on these, but they all basically say that they are "ok" but compare well to something like a Mazda 3 or Jetta GLI and even a Civic Si. Anyone on here have any real world experiences with these? Are they good daily driver fodder, or turds like our last Elantra was? How's parts availability and aftermarket consumables? What's the deal with the 1.6T under the hood? Thanks in advance!

 

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
9/1/20 5:26 p.m.

Wow. Surprised Bobzilla hasn’t been in here already.

wait for it.... wait for it...

nocones
nocones UltraDork
9/1/20 5:47 p.m.

I own a 2018 Elantra GT Sport 6MT.  It's got 56,000 miles on it.  It gets ~33 MPG overall for my highway biased use on 87 octane.  

I have changed the oil and replaced the tires.  It has made 0 unplanned trips to the dealer.  The 1.6T makes good low end power but with the stock tune doesn't pull as hard as the top end.  

The interior is holding up very well.  Handling is great and I have no complaints.  

Compared to a GTI, Civic Si gives up a bit of performance and quality but also costs $4-9k less.  

Compared to the similar years Mazda 3 it costs less and has much better performance.  (And also had substantially more interior room)

I was shopping new GTI/Civic Si/Civic Sport/Mazda 3 and came away with the Elantra GT as to me the overall best Performance/Feel/Value/Features of them all.  I got mine for $20500 OTD.

einy (Forum Supporter)
einy (Forum Supporter) Dork
9/1/20 6:10 p.m.

I saw that used Civic Si sedan pricing in Cincinnati are was also at or above new Si sedan pricing, and after ALOT of consternation, a silly number of test drives of many cars, and consideration of many alternatives (even down to a $3500 Jeep Liberty), I sprung for a 2020 Si when I saw a red one (my preferred color) pop up on the Honda corporate website as coming to a dealer near me in the future.  A $500 refundable deposit held it for me, and (gulp!) it cost me list price to get it, but no stupid dealer add ons, mark ups, etc.  For whatever reason, there were four names on the list for this car if I decided to pass.  Crazy.

A week in, I am not at all unhappy with it.  Is it perfect?  Nope.  But it is less imperfect than the GTI that it replaced ever was, even when that car was new 10 years ago.  An ecu tune to eliminate throttle hang (and probably bump power a bit) is definitely in its future, but that’s about it.  

So, if you can, I’d recommend a drive of the Si before you make a choice if the pricing is within your allowable range.  

GTwannaB
GTwannaB HalfDork
9/1/20 7:41 p.m.

Redline Review channel on YouTube like the GT quite a bit. These are a bit on my radar https://youtu.be/W7wCOxK0h8s

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
9/2/20 8:42 a.m.

DAMNIT... I was working yesterday. Stupid work.

I like the Forte because I think it looks like a mini stinger. The wife hates the display screen popping up above the dash. She likes the Elantra. I can't talk her into either one because she's a tightwad. 

I have nothing more to add here than that. 

EDIT: I lied.... the 2008 Elantra was the odd duck. it was trying to be the 2011 car but with bits from the older cars and it just didn'twork. I can tell you the chassis on the 2018 Elantra (same as the wife's Koup) is solid, quiet, and a really nice place to spend time. We have 90k miles on her '14 Koup auto and it's still fun, quiet and comfortable. 

EDIT Dos: The 2005 Spectra was the same car as the 01-06 elantra, 03-08 Tib. Great economy cars at being economy cars. I look at the newer cars to be as durable as those, but with nicer build quality, better equipment and a real drivetrain. 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
9/2/20 9:42 a.m.
einy (Forum Supporter) said:

I saw that used Civic Si sedan pricing in Cincinnati are was also at or above new Si sedan pricing, and after ALOT of consternation, a silly number of test drives of many cars, and consideration of many alternatives (even down to a $3500 Jeep Liberty), I sprung for a 2020 Si when I saw a red one (my preferred color) pop up on the Honda corporate website as coming to a dealer near me in the future.  A $500 refundable deposit held it for me, and (gulp!) it cost me list price to get it, but no stupid dealer add ons, mark ups, etc.  For whatever reason, there were four names on the list for this car if I decided to pass.  Crazy.

A week in, I am not at all unhappy with it.  Is it perfect?  Nope.  But it is less imperfect than the GTI that it replaced ever was, even when that car was new 10 years ago.  An ecu tune to eliminate throttle hang (and probably bump power a bit) is definitely in its future, but that’s about it.  

So, if you can, I’d recommend a drive of the Si before you make a choice if the pricing is within your allowable range.  

Congrats on the Si! Great cars. Love mine. Around here, new Si sit on dealer lots. $1500-$2,000 off MSRP is what they go for. I had one family member and a friend both pick up Si's after Corona started.  CTR was the ones that were marked up 5-10K, and people locally were going to OH and WI to buy them at sticker. But over hte last 12 months, if you work at it, plenty of dealers here will sell CTR at sticker, but not under. 

Enjoy the new car!

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/2/20 10:43 a.m.

The Si is very high on my list for potential replacements, and I plan on driving one before I make a final decision. I'd likely have to go with a used 2017 to fit my price range. One thing that looks annoying on the earlier current gen ones is the lack of a radio knob. I know it sounds dumb, but I know they fixed that on the 2019+ models, but those are selling for above new MSRP around here. There are zero incentives on new ones and they are selling for even higher than MSRP than the used ones. It's dumb.

What's funny is the same thing happened when I bought the Mazda back in 2011: The Japanese Tsunami just happened, the 2012 models were delayed, and earlier used ones commanded a premium. I fully intended to buy one, but I couldn't justify spending more on a used one that was thrashed than a new one would cost. I would still love to find a clean 2010-11ish Si someday. They are great cars and a ton of fun to drive.

On the Kia/Hyundai twins:

I watched some reviews, including that Redline Reviews one posted above (thanks!). I think they are both worth a drive and each have strengths and weaknesses. The turn signals separate from the headlights/taillights on the Kia are annoying, especially the taillights. Dumb design! I also don't like that you have to pay MORE for a manual and get LESS equipment (no heated seats, good stereo, etc). The Hyundai I found has the heated seats and more, but has about 40k mi on it, and while cheaper, there's no beefy factory warranty and all that. I'm also worried about the lack of support for these down the road. Something like the SI or GTI will have vast aftermarket support in case something goes wrong later on. What I do like is that they both look good (for the most part), the interior seems nice, and especially on the Kia, the exhaust sounds great. 

Tactical Penguin
Tactical Penguin SuperDork
9/2/20 1:35 p.m.

In almost 100k miles my '17 Elantra Sport only had a corroded coolant fitting that needed to be fixed under warranty, and a routine CEL whenever the temps dipped below freezing overnight and got warmer during the day due to something in the EVAP system that freezes and is slow to thaw.

I'd buy it again, and I kind of did.  I traded my Elantra Sport in on the Elantra GT N-line.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
9/2/20 2:31 p.m.

In reply to Tony Sestito :

As far as support, I wouldn't worry. The Tiburon is 18 years old. There's nothing I can't get yet. Aftermarket parts are cheap and plentiful and this is on a car that wasn't nearly as common as an Elantra/Forte and not sold in numbers anywhere near those. 

EDIT: total Tiburon sales for it's 7 year run 111,000 cars. The Forte sold 101k in 2018 alone. The Elantra sold 208k in 2018. JUST 2018. 

GTwannaB
GTwannaB HalfDork
9/2/20 7:59 p.m.

How is the steering feel on the Elantra/Forte choices? My experience is from rentals 7 years ago. I hear there are improvements then other reviews not so positive. 

einy (Forum Supporter)
einy (Forum Supporter) Dork
9/3/20 8:59 a.m.
mr2s2000elise said:

Congrats on the Si! 

Enjoy the new car!

Thank you!  I am liking what I am experiencing so far, and hope that long term operating costs are more in line with my wife's 140k mile old Accord (nearly zero outside of normal consumable / maintenance items) vs. the 10 years I spent with the GTI (don't get me started ...) !!!  Sincerely hoping the Si is a 10-15 year car.  

nocones
nocones UltraDork
9/3/20 9:08 a.m.

Steering feel on the Elantra GT Sport is great.  I have no complaints.  Quick Ratio, light when at slow speeds, decent weight at higher speeds, still has feedback during turn in and at limit.  I woundn't say it's one of the best Electric setups but it's not the worst.   The wheel itself has a good rim size and thickness.  The Elantra Sport has a different D shapped steering wheel and I'm not sure about it's steering tuning, but if it's similar to the GT it's not going to be bad.

einy (Forum Supporter)
einy (Forum Supporter) Dork
9/3/20 9:09 a.m.
Tony Sestito said:

The Si is very high on my list for potential replacements ... One thing that looks annoying on the earlier current gen ones is the lack of a radio knob. 

What's funny is the same thing happened when I bought the Mazda back in 2011: The Japanese Tsunami just happened, the 2012 models were delayed, and earlier used ones commanded a premium. 

Yup, the 2020 that I have does have the radio volume knob, and I certainly agree that is better than the touch screen slider that it replaces.  However, I find myself almost never using the volume knob, as the steering wheel volume control is right there.  I have not had a steering wheel mounted volume control in any of my cars in the past (though my wife has it in her Accord), so this is sort of new to me.

The 2011 tsunami enabled me to sell a 2009 Forester that I had for ~ 15 months at nearly no loss, as production of that model was stopped, it was (is still?) wildly popular in the US, and sell prices of used Foresters shot WAY up.  All in, except for gasoline and insurance, that car cost me under $100 a month to operate including sales tax on the initial purchase.  And I was really happy to move it on to its next eventual owner while replacing it with the GTI as I got tired of cornering on the door handles, so to speak.  That and it was in for warranty repair work three different times for three different problems in 15 months - even the GTI wasn't that bad initially.  Once in a lifetime circumstance, I figure.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
9/3/20 9:27 a.m.
nocones said:

Steering feel on the Elantra GT Sport is great.  I have no complaints.  Quick Ratio, light when at slow speeds, decent weight at higher speeds, still has feedback during turn in and at limit.  I woundn't say it's one of the best Electric setups but it's not the worst.   The wheel itself has a good rim size and thickness.  The Elantra Sport has a different D shapped steering wheel and I'm not sure about it's steering tuning, but if it's similar to the GT it's not going to be bad.

The wife's Koup is good. We run it in "normal" for day to day and in "comfort" on road trips. Feedback is good. Not as good as the hydraulic in the Tib with 245's but good. I found her Koup to be a better overall car than the base 2020 Civic Coupe personally. A lot of little things that add up in a day to day car. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/3/20 10:12 a.m.

In reply to nocones :

That's good to know. Watching the reviews, it looked a lot like these things had "video game" steering wheels that turn with zero effort. My Mazda has excellent road feel, but I've never been a fan of the wheel itself.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
9/3/20 10:19 a.m.
einy (Forum Supporter) said:
mr2s2000elise said:

Congrats on the Si! 

Enjoy the new car!

Thank you!  I am liking what I am experiencing so far, and hope that long term operating costs are more in line with my wife's 140k mile old Accord (nearly zero outside of normal consumable / maintenance items) vs. the 10 years I spent with the GTI (don't get me started ...) !!!  Sincerely hoping the Si is a 10-15 year car.  

Si will be surely be a 10-15 year car. It will be like your accord; vs your junk GTI!!!!!  Hehe 

the money you will save on Si- vs the euro garbage- will give you more peace of mind, more enjoyable drive , and with the savings you will be richer!

 

win win win all around

 

very happy for you 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/3/20 8:38 p.m.

I think I'm going to sample a few of these things over the weekend. Interested to see how they are. 

Not that I necessarily want one, but how are the DCT's in these? Just curious. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/3/20 8:48 p.m.

Just throwing it out there that you should be able to easily find GTIs new with manuals in the mid-20s. A lot of them area out there with three pedals, and I paid a good bit less for mine than a DSG-equipped one.  Mine is pretty loaded up and was closer to 28 (LSD, LED headlights, all the fun stuff), but there were M/T lower models on the lot going for under $25k.

Not as cheap as the two you're looking at, but also nowhere close to the Civic Si and (IMO) better. I've driven the new Si and while it's very good, I prefer the GTI's interior, engine, features, and overall handling/ride better.  Plus its more-adult styling (I'm 45, so I prefer low-key) But that's just my opinion. 

Like many here, I swore I'd never get a VW again after many dealer trips with my wife's mid-2000s Jetta. That said, I'm. 2 years and 30k miles into the GTI and it's been flawless (knock on wood). If you can find a CPO one from 2018 it may have a ton of the 6 year/72k limited warranty left, which is (everything). I'm on pace to hit that mileage in almost exactly 6 years, so i'm not gonna worry about the car for 4 more years, then we'll see where it's at. 

YMMV, obviously. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/3/20 9:05 p.m.

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

I've considered the GTI as well, but I'd be limited to a base model 2017ish S with high miles at the prices I'm able to swing right now ($20k-below). I like them on paper, but I've also had a checkered past with a 2002 Jetta that I still consider to be the worst car I've ever owned. That car swore me off of VW's forever, but the GTI's are so tempting; they look great and are a compelling package overall. I've seen your thread and have been following your experiences, and I have a friend that has a 2013ish GTI that he likes a lot. I'd probably give them a second chance if I found the right deal. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/3/20 9:10 p.m.
Tony Sestito said:

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

I've considered the GTI as well, but I'd be limited to a base model 2017ish S with high miles at the prices I'm able to swing right now ($20k-below). I like them on paper, but I've also had a checkered past with a 2002 Jetta that I still consider to be the worst car I've ever owned. That car swore me off of VW's forever, but the GTI's are so tempting; they look great and are a compelling package overall. I've seen your thread and have been following your experiences, and I have a friend that has a 2013ish GTI that he likes a lot. I'd probably give them a second chance if I found the right deal. 

Rgr all!

I think ours was a 2002 Jetta as well. Man, that thing had all kinds of problems and the wife (ironically) traded it in for a brand-new Mazda 3 the first year they came out lol. 

 

 

karussell
karussell New Reader
9/4/20 12:05 p.m.

It's a great car. Elantra Sport(Avante Sport here in Korea) is what keeps grassroots motorsport scene in Korea alive.

It's cheap(under 20k brand new), has plenty of aftermarket support and has it's own dedicated racing series, Hyundai Avante Cup. Hyundai even offered discounts for participants and 'R-Tune' package(6-point rollcage etc...) as a factory option...

It's kinda like Miata in America.... Like to drive on mountain passes? Avante Sport. Want to go to track days? Avante Sport. Occasionally have to carry parents, but want some sportiness? Avante Sport.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/4/20 6:54 p.m.

I know this is a Kia/Hyundai thread, but I didn't feel like starting an entire new one to chronicle test drives of random stuff. I test drove two cars tonight: a 2020 Mazda 3 6MT Premium Hatch, and a 2020 Mazda 6 Grand Touring Turbo. 

The 3:
-Interior was unbelievably nice. This car had red seats (YES!!!) and they were super comfortable. Nicest interior I've been in since the 2019 Mercedes E-Class we had at BangShift last year. That car costs $100k. This one is a quarter of that and it's almost as nice. Mazda clearly is going in the right direction here.  

-Shifter and clutch were great. Short shifts and good clutch feel. Brakes were fantastic as well. Steering was awesome. 

-Handling was good, especially since it now has a torsion beam rear axle. Still felt like a Mazda. 

-Power was SERIOUSLY lacking. My current 2012 3 feels faster. It probably IS faster. It could be because you can't hear anything in the car, or because the car weighs more than most compacts, but it was a lot slower than expected. Butt Dyno was not pleased. 

The 6:
-They have been building the same car since 2014 with minor tweaks, and it shows. The interior is nice, but not on the level of the "lesser" 3. 

-Drives like my wife's CX-5 but lower to the ground. Not necessarily a bad thing. Handled great, stopped great, felt great. 

-The turbo motor makes the car much more entertaining. In sport mode, it's a point-and-shoot affair with plenty of tire spinning fun. It's not the fastest thing out there, but it gets up and goes when you ask it to. 

I walked away with neither car. Couldn't come to a price I wanted to pay. If I went for one of them, it would be the 3. The interior and tech was enough to cover for the lethargic drivetrain. The thing that really makes me sad is that Mazda can't offer that manual trans with a lesser package. Probably would have just bought one tonight, but nope. It's so dumb. 

Tomorrow, I plan on testing out the Kia Forte GT, a Civic Si, and possibly a Jetta GLI. Found a 2019 model that seems like a killer deal. Might try for a GTI as well. I'm really interested to see how the Kia stacks up against the rest. 
 

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
9/4/20 7:30 p.m.

Thanks for the reviews. Good to hear the new 3 still handles well, I was worried. They look incredibly good to my eye. I can’t stop looking when I see a new one.

My friend just bought a Golf for about 20k with a MT in part because he wanted a MT and couldn’t get it in the Mazda 3 in a cheaper trim. It’s a shame they don’t offer it in lesser models. My dad got the previous gen (2015) top of the line GT trim for 22k. The new ones are a lot more it seems.

You do know they are putting the turbo motor from the 6/Cx-9 etc in the 3 right? Probably gonna be expensive though.

 

einy (Forum Supporter)
einy (Forum Supporter) Dork
9/4/20 7:35 p.m.

I will put this out there as a bought new, run for 95k miles, 2011 GTI recent past owner, budget for decarboning of the intake valves if you go that route.  Figure around $900 every 50-60k miles.  Misfiring on cold startup are the tell tale.  

Also, do not be surprised if there are waterpump housing to plastic mounting body sealing  issues.  

Do not buy a 2013 or older TSI engine car unless there is undeniable proof that it has the most recent design cam chain tensioner in it.  You can inspect this via a rubber plug on the engine’s front cover if there is doubt.  Cost to change this $65 part is about $1,100 including labor and required ancillary other parts that cannot reliably be reused.  An old style tensioner failure will cause valves to hit pistons.  

Watch the TSI engine related youtube videos from both Humblemechanic and Deutsche Auto Parts for great info.

I loved the driving dynamics of mine, as well as the interior, but the mechanical upkeep costs were significant.  Most started hitting right after the 50k powertrain warranty expired, naturally.  Last straw was significant corrosion that covertly developed between the bottom of the fender and where it met the rocker panel in my Southern Ohio climate.  I washed this car diligently, year round,  so hugely disappointing in this regard.

Thus, my personal move to (hopefully) greener pastures.

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