How a 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT helped me find kittens and stardust.

KrystynaLagowski2016ElantraGTPlum Crazy. Farnia Gray. Bleu Camargue. Jaune Pamplemousse. You can be forgiven for thinking these are works of art at a secluded atelier in the 6th arrondisement. In truth, they are indeed works of art – the whimsical names of colours that cars used to be painted. While reading “Found: The Lives of Interesting Cars and How They Were Discovered” by Gregory Long, I sympathized with the author, who longed for the days when cars and their colours captured as much stardust as speed.

So when I saw the keyfob for the 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT I was picking up came in Windy Sea Blue, my heart did a little happy dance. And when I laid my eyes on the sharp little hatchback with clean, angular lines in deep blue-green, I was enthralled. The Elantra was sporty in an understated, rather than come-hither way, with wraparound headlights glancing out from under the creased hood. It was going to be a good week.

As I settled in behind the wheel, I reached up to open the sunroof. Mon Dieu! A vast expanse of glass and steel, the panoramic sunroof took up nearly half the real estate above my head. Opening it, I felt like Moses parting the Red Sea.

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My next tasks were less dramatic but equally satisfyingly – pairing my iphone and honing in on my favourite radio stations. Hyundai has one of the most user-friendly infotainment systems around, with just the right balance of knobs and touchscreen interface. In fact, I could whip around the radio stations with ease, going from local traffic reports on AM640 to SiriusXM Heart & Soul within moments.

Sliding into reverse, I noticed a whirring noise at the back of the car as the Hyundai badge on the trunk tilted out, and I could see everything behind me on the seven-inch touchscreen. Those Hyundai engineers surely sport degrees from Hogswort.

But it was as I wended my way to the west end of the city to check out some kittens, that I truly came to appreciate the Elantra GT. It’s not enough for the city to tear up the roads in my neighbourhood, oh, no. Road crews have been dispatched to the west end, where they impetuously mangled and lacerated all the streets in their way, and callously left the bits and pieces strewn about. With, of course, bulky construction equipment blocking the way, so no one could get through without a bit of effort. This meant scampering in and out of traffic, sudden stops, quick starts, and more than one aggravating U-turn as I sought a free road.

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Finally, I made it to my friend’s, and we had tea as naughty Burmese kittens pounced on our laps and tried to scarf some scones. Because, well, Burmese kittens. I could have taken each and every one, but would have had some serious ‘splaining to do at home!

The next day, it was off to British Car Day, which is held every year in a large park in the suburbs. The Elantra had an automatic tranny, but held its own on the highway, and I didn’t miss being a three-pedalling gal at all. Its surprisingly potent 173 horsepower was more than adept at powering the light hatch into the left lane. In fact, the Elantra is one of the lightest vehicles in the five-door hatch segment, which also accounted for its precise handling. At one point, we even passed a Maserati Ghibli!

I knew we were in the right place as a Triumph TR6 pulled up beside us at a stoplight, and I followed him up the driveway. Even the three parking lots were a treasure trove of extraordinary wheels, including a Citroen 2CV, Jaguars old and new, a pristine old Celica, and a Subaru BRZ. Clearly, many connoisseurs had come to represent and salute automotive glory.

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And there was plenty of glory to be had. Over a thousand cars had come, some travelling from as far away as Texas. There was an entire field of Jaguars – I was practically tripping over XKEs. Another field held MGs from five decades, as well as Triumphs of all kinds. There were marques like Sunbeam, Aston-Martin, Lotus, Rolls Royce, Morgan, TVR, and a row of DeLoreans, their gull-wing doors aloft. Vendors sold snacks, aftermarket goodies, books, posters, trinkets, and novelties.

But what stopped me dead in my tracks was a sublime 1974 Jensen Intercepter III, in glossy blue and black leather interior. With its lean, elegant silhouette, it spoke of Saville Row, Knightsbridge and Mayfair. Its actual colour was Brienz Blue, after a rambling Swiss Alpine village of charming cottages and stately manor houses.

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I wondered, who had driven this sumptuous vehicle? Where had it travelled? What adventures were looped around its wheels?

That’s what stardust can do to a car.

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22 Comments on "How a 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT helped me find kittens and stardust."

  1. Lenie October 7, 2015 at 10:14 am · Reply

    Krystyna, I like the Elantra but given a choice I would take the Jensen Interceptor – wow, what a car. Love the colour, the lines and I WANT THAT. I can just see me touring around in that.
    Call me odd, but I’ve never really been a fan of Jaguars, Porsche and other luxury cars – they always seem to shout “look at me, I’m so important. Not my style at all.
    Great post as always.

    • Krystyna Lagowski October 12, 2015 at 2:02 am · Reply

      Well, Lenie, we’d have to arm-wrestle over the Jensen! It’s got that subtle, elegant style that has such presence. It doesn’t need gaudy contours or weird accessories, you know that’s a serious car. Okay, maybe we can take turns? The Elantra had more than a bit of that, too. Subtle, quiet, but in that fabulous shade of blue – you know it’s there!

  2. Jacqueline Gum October 7, 2015 at 11:33 am · Reply

    I’m with Lenie! That Jensen is completely off the charts! My ex used to race vintage cars, but ex is the operative word. Haven’t seen a Jensen for the many years I have been away from the concourse at the vintage races! But I do really like this beautiful blue Hyundai Elantra GT! And the Burmese kittens….I’ll take one of each please:) Or maybe 2 of those kittens.

    • Krystyna Lagowski October 12, 2015 at 1:59 am · Reply

      Oh, I’ll bet you miss the vintage concourse more than you miss your ex! Jensens are far and few between, and to see such a magnificent example was truly a treat. The Elantra was very special, I loved everything about it, from the colour to the tech interface to the performance and handling. And those Burmese kittens were pretty darn adorable, loved everything about them too!

  3. Phoenicia October 7, 2015 at 3:05 pm · Reply

    The Jenson Intercepter looks fabulous – vintage all the way! I like the fact that it speaks for itself – no introduction required.

    The Hyundai Elantra looks fly and the colour is electric!

    • Krystyna Lagowski October 12, 2015 at 1:56 am · Reply

      Haha, I like that, no introduction required! I almost injured myself doing a double take when I saw that Jensen, hadn’t seen one in ages. And what a treat to see one in such mint, gorgeous condition! And I agree, “fly” is a perfect word to describe the Elantra.

  4. Beth Niebuhr October 7, 2015 at 3:14 pm · Reply

    Love the color of the Elantra. What I really love though is the fact that you went to a fabulous car show and shared it with us! I haven’t even thought of a Jenson in years. I need to find a very cool show for the fun of it!

    • Krystyna Lagowski October 12, 2015 at 1:55 am · Reply

      Beth, there are car shows all over the place, even in the off-season. As I said, there are people who go to British Car Day less for the cars than for the nostalgia and culture of the day. I’m sure you’ll find one to enjoy soon!

  5. Jeri October 7, 2015 at 5:45 pm · Reply

    Blue is a color that keeps growing on me over the years, so maybe I’ll end up with a blue Hyundai Elantra one of these days. But seriously that pic of the 1974 Jensen Intercepter III makes me want to go for a long country drive on very twisty roads 🙂

    • Krystyna Lagowski October 12, 2015 at 1:54 am · Reply

      Funny how many cars look better in blue! I think it’s one of those colours that is easy to look at, without being flashy. And I’ll add your name to the fan club for the Jensen, I’ve always thought James Bond should have driven one. Maybe in the next movie???

  6. Donna Janke October 7, 2015 at 5:46 pm · Reply

    I love the colour of the Elantra. Very stylish. And it sounds like a nice car to drive. The car show is so cool!

    • Krystyna Lagowski October 12, 2015 at 1:52 am · Reply

      Ooh, the Elantra was just a gorgeous colour of blue, and very quietly stylish. A great combination, wouldn’t you say? And yes, British Car Day is a must-see. I often see people there who aren’t even that interested in cars, and are just there for the culture and nostalgia factors …

  7. Marquita Herald October 7, 2015 at 6:44 pm · Reply

    Too funny, you seem to have created a new fan base for that Intercepter and I would definitely have to add my name to the list. I only just realized that I have never owned a blue car and that every car i have owned as either been yellow or black. Wonder what Freud would say about that?

    • Krystyna Lagowski October 12, 2015 at 1:50 am · Reply

      I’ve noticed how many people are noticing the Jensen even more so than the Elantra! It truly is a gorgeous car, well, both of them are. And I do find it interesting that you’ve only had black or yellow cars. Now, black I can understand, but yellow is a very unusual car colour. I think of it as a happy colour, and suspect it taps into your happy side …

  8. William Rusho October 7, 2015 at 6:51 pm · Reply

    That is a great looking car, and I like your description of it.
    I also liked the 1974 Jensen Intercepter III, not a fan of that rear end though.
    Again, thanks for sharing this wonderful posts with us.

    • Krystyna Lagowski October 12, 2015 at 1:48 am · Reply

      Glad you liked the Elantra and the write-up, William! A lot of folks have been quite taken by the Jensen, perhaps they should start making those again.

  9. Ken Dowell October 7, 2015 at 9:39 pm · Reply

    I have rented Elantras and always liked driving them. The last one I had however was rental car silver instead of the great looking blue color of the one in your post. Not a fan of warp-around headlight though. Just don’t like the way they look.

    • Krystyna Lagowski October 12, 2015 at 1:47 am · Reply

      Oh, Ken, I’m happy to hear that you’ve had good experiences in an Elantra. I think the car rentals like to provide choices in neutral colours, which may also be easier to maintain. As for the wraparound headlights, well, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one!

  10. Pamela Chollet October 9, 2015 at 10:55 pm · Reply

    OK I guess I’m the buzz killer here. I have a “thing” about this kind of fluid sculptured look. I have NO idea why.. They just don’t seem to have character, like they all been to a plastic surgeon. But I know nothing about cars and my taste in cars is probably a reflection of some deep seeded and unresolved psychological trauma. So now that I’ve realized that I’ll add, I also have a “thing” for bright car colors : ) But I Love you posts!

    • Krystyna Lagowski October 12, 2015 at 1:45 am · Reply

      Aw, Pamela, I’m glad you’re honest about how you feel. I do hope this isn’t the manifestation of trauma! But maybe, rather, just your own personal taste, to which you’re certainly entitled. There are a number of trends that I don’t like the look of. For example, young men with beards. Who decided that was fashionable? To me, they all look like rabbis. Which is great, but on a fashion runway? Anyways, I’m glad you share my love of bright car colours, and enjoy the posts : ))

  11. Kire Sdyor October 11, 2015 at 1:33 am · Reply

    Must say the Elantra looks like fun. Rented a Mazda 2 hatchback last year for a week and really enjoyed zipping around, getting great gas mileage, and being able to actually park it (my normal car is a truck). May stop saying I want a Mazda and start saying I want a Hyundai.

    • Krystyna Lagowski October 12, 2015 at 1:41 am · Reply

      I’ll just bet you had a hoot in that Mazda2, compared to your truck. Which can also be fun, but in a different way. The Elantra got excellent mileage, and you might just not want to give it back after driving it!

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