The GTI, Focus ST, Si, WRX, etc. are all faster than the Elantra Sport, handle better, have better steering feel, etc.
Yeah, that's probably true considering the times the Veloster has posted. I don't think any of the big car mags have done instrumented testing on the Elantra Sport yet. Car and Driver's times are estimates that seem pretty optimistic.
The thing is though, the street prices of the Elantra Sport are not in the same ballpark as the GTI, WRX, ST, or Si.
The Elantra Sport can be had for $18K. This is the sporty-ish competition at $18K, I know, I shopped them:
-VW Jetta SE 1.4T. most likely slower, no xenons, less reliable, and comes with all of the VW baggage
-Mazda3 Sport 2.0L no xenons, no Android auto/Apple car play, no leather, no heated seats, made in a new factory in Mexico
-Civic LX 2.0L ugly, has plastic wheel covers, no xenons, no Android auto/Apple car play, no leather, no heated seats, and WORSE Consumer Reports ratings
-Corolla Im 1.8L no xenons, no Android auto/Apple car play, no leather, no heated seats, painfully slow, cramped back seat
This is why Car and Driver completely missed the point of the Elantra Sport. The STICKER price of the GTI is $4K more than the Elantra Sport and the delta grows when you look at street prices. Sure, the Elantra Sport isn't as good as a GTI, but the GTI isn't as good as a Focus RS....
When you look at the Elantra Sport in the context of REALITY (unlike Car and Driver), you see it's one of the best sporty cars you can buy for around $20K.
And for what it's worth, even if the GTI was the same price, I STILL wouldn't choose it over the Elantra Sport. These car mags only have to live with their test cars for a short time, the reviews would be quite different if the car mags had to actually own and maintain the test cars, you know, like in the real world. I'm sure GTIs are awesome if the only ones you ever drive have less than 5K miles on them.