Battle of the Builders: Turbo Hatchback Modded and Tuned for Competition

By Richard Hail

Coming out Santa Fe Springs, California, is Emily Rodriguez’s ’18 Hyundai Elantra GT. She was looking for a sporty, compact hatchback with a turbo, and this little wagon was the perfect replacement for her Scion. Inspired by her husband, she decided that this daily driver was going to be anything but stock.

Underneath the hood, the powerplant gets an additional boost from a SXTH Element intake and intercooler. Spark is provided by the HKS 1 Step Colder Plugs and a custom tune brings it all together. The turbo breathes through an upgraded AFE Power 3-in. catback exhaust with twin Takeda stainless steel tips.

Exterior enhancements include a custom fabricated grille insert, Zymexx rear spoiler, and Premium Auto Styling rear taillight overlays. The third-gen’s lowered stance is courtesy of the GECKO Racing coilovers and 18x8 BBS Wheels wrapped around low-profile treads.

The finishing touches that are on-deck include a custom wrap, interior work, and fiber-optic lights in the headliner. The coilovers will get replaced with air bags and the trunk will get overhauled with a wood floor where the air compressor will be mounted.

Visit the SEMA Show YouTube Channel for more videos and builder interviews, and be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss future episodes. For more details about the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition, visit

Qualified industry personnel interested in attending SEMA360, the exclusive trade-only online marketplace taking place November 2-6, 2020, are invited to register at