Ken Block’s GYMKHANA NINE: Raw Industrial Playground

Over the years, we have written many times about the infamous Gymkhana series, so it should come as no surprise we are writing about the latest installment. All of the earlier videos have become viral sensations, because the King of “Hoon”, Ken Block continues to push the boundaries behind the wheel.  The new and ninth version likely will too, as it captures the epic “Hooning” tradition of the rally star and his drifting genius.

While it was originally scheduled to be filmed in Sydney to tie in with the Australian Forza Horizon 3 video game, authorities said Block was too much of a “Hoon” for the Land Down Under and would only allow him to make the video on private property.  Instead, Block chose to film in an abandoned industrial area in New York state. Yeah Buffalo!

With so many global corporations shying away from the single big endorsement deal as a result of today’s fragmented online world we do appreciate Ford’s decision to buck the trend.  The combination of a significant amount of both resources and dollars enables the team to create a world-class product in the Gymkhana video series.

As part of Block’s deal with Ford Performance that sees him compete in the FIA World Rallycross championship, these videos feature him driving the custom-built 600 horsepower Ford Focus RS rally machine.  I’m sure the real ROI isn’t great, but it does make you want to take a Ford Focus for a test drive.

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2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

As promised earlier in our Elantra review, we said we would review more models in Hyundai Canada’s line up. Well, recently we had the chance to spend some time behind the wheel of the new Hyundai Elantra GT. Built as a replacement to Hyundai’s Elantra Touring model, this innovative hatchback designed GT targets the North American buyer who requires loads of space but also wants a sporty, compact car. As winner of AJAC’s (Automobile Journalists Association of Canada) award for Best New Small car (over $21,000) we were looking forward to seeing what the Hyundai Elantra GT had to offer.

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Our tester model came in the GLS Auto trim now listed at MSRP $22,599 CAD.

Performance Features

  • 1.8L Dual CVVT DOHC 16V Engine with 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque
  • 6-Speed Automatic Transmission with SHIFTRONIC®
  • 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
  • Driver Selectable Steering
  • *Manufacturer fuel economy ratings are – City (AT) 7.6L/100km, Hwy (AT) 5.3L/100km, Combined (AT) 6.6L/100km

Although frugal overall we did not quite match these figures on our test period as we obtained 7.5L/100 km (31MPG) in a combined city and highway environment. These numbers are still solid considering we were in all types of mixed terrain. Across the Elantra line-up, all automatic transmission models come standard with an optional active eco system that modifies the engine and transmission control to help increase overall fuel efficiency. 

Safety Features

  • Advanced Front Airbags, Front Seat-Mounted Side Airbags, Roof -mounted Side-curtain Airbags (6)
  • Driver Knee Airbag
  • Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) and Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD)
  • Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control System (TCS)
  • Keyless Entry and Alarm System

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Interior Features

  • AM/FM/XM®/CD/MP3 Player with 6 speakers
  • Manual Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows with Driver’s Auto Down 
  • iPod®/USB/Auxiliary input jacks
  • Trip Computer
  • Driver’s Seat Height Adjuster
  • Rear Seat Centre Armrest with Cupholders
  • Power Door Locks
  • Steering Wheel-mounted Audio and Cruise Controls
  • Front Centre Console with Storage compartment and Fixed Armrest
  • Heated Front Seats
  • Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System
  • Tilt and Telescopic Steering Wheel
  • Cooled Glove Box
  • Leather-wrapped Steering Wheel and Gear Shift Knob
  • 8-way Power Driver’s seat with Lumbar Support
  • Luggage Under Floor Box

Exterior features

  • Roof-mounted XM® Antenna
  • 16” Alluminum Alloy Wheels
  • Front Fog Lights
  • Panoramic Sunroof

In comparison to the Hyundai Elantra Coupe reviewed recently the interior of the Elantra GT was not exactly the same since our Coupe tester was a higher trim model. Nevertheless, our tester came with a black interior with sporty cloth front seats with white stitching, a leather wrapped steering wheel with both cruise and audio controls. Along with a slick-looking trip computer screen located between the gauges, the interior feels fun and provides a sporty persona. In addition, the one unique feature our GT model came with not included in the Coupe is the panoramic sunroof providing a true cool factor for a car in this price range.

Interior

As a four door hatchback, the GT is ultra convenient for getting in and out as well as providing both driver and passengers with ample leg and headroom.  During our test period, we headed north for some skiing/snowboarding and the GT was a perfect choice for the outing. The GT offers 651 liters of cargo room behind the rear seat versus the Elantra sedan’s 420 liter trunk and with the 60/40 split back seats folded down the total is a monstrous 1,444 liters of cargo room. As a result, the GT is very comfortable for taking three occupants along with all their ski gear out of the city for a day on the slopes.

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Equipped with both traction control and Hankook snow tires, the GT handled the roads in ski country like a champ and was a real charm to drive in Ontario’s winter weather.

Competitors

The key players currently competing with the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT for Canadian buyers include the Mazda3 Sport, Ford Focus hatchback, Subaru Impreza hatchback, Toyota Matrix, Kia Forte hatchback and Volkswagen Golf hatchback.  With so many strong competitors, Hyundai does have its work cut out for them however, the Hyundai Elantra GT offers great overall value. With its base trim levels starting at $19,149 through to $26,349 for the top of the line model its hard to beat the Elantra GT in dollar per dollar value comparisons. Therefore, if you are looking for a compact, sporty hatchback capable of tackling just about anything you give it make sure the Hyundai Elantra GT is on your shopping list.

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Ken Block Gymkhana 5 – Out July 9th

If you have been following us for a while you know the RedlineNoth Team has an affinity for rally car driver Ken Block and his Gymkhana video series. News today that the next edition Gymkhana series, Gymkhana 5, will debut on July 9th. Similar to Gymkhana 4, the new video will be in partnership with DC Shoes. For more info the official press release is below.

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JUNE 18th, 2012 – Huntington Beach, California – After much anticipation, Ken Block and DC Shoes are proud to announce the coming of Gymkhana FIVE, which will debut globally on Monday, July 9th at 10 AM EST via the DC Shoes YouTube channel. Filmed on the streets of San Francisco, California, Gymkhana FIVE builds on the previous successes of the Gymkhana viral video series and it’s 140+ million views.

“My idea for Gymkhana FIVE was simple,” said Block. “I wanted to build on the ultimate playground concept from Gymkhana THREE, and bring the franchise back to that raw and fast feel that the earlier videos had. I’ve always wanted to film a Gymkhana video in a city and there are few places as unique and iconic with such amazing topography as San Francisco. While movies like Bullit and various chase scenes have tried to use San Francisco to the fullest, I’m pretty confident that I’ve proven there was a lot left to be done on those amazing streets!”

Without question, the streets of San Francisco make Gymkhana FIVE the most unique project to date in the franchise’s history. And for good measure, a few world records and a surprise guest have been thrown in too. Making a return for the second year in a row is Block’s Ford Fiesta H.F.H.V. racecar, which can be seen slaying its tires on the streets of San Francisco globally on the July 9th release date. For select media and action sport VIPs, DC will premiere the video on Friday, June 29th during Summer X Games 18.