Along with the redesigned Elantra for 2021, Hyundai also decided to add a little more fun to the lineup in the form of the N Line trim for the compact sedan.
Starting with a new chassis for the entire Elantra lineup, the N Line offers up more power and improved driving dynamics than the rest of the family, an aim to attract buyers seeking a bit more enjoyment when behind the wheel.
And with price tag of $29,524, as tested, the N Line represents a pretty good value.
It comes with a number of features and amenities that many consumers are seeking these days, all wrapped in a nice new design – enhanced ever so slightly in this trim.
For those who put a priority on safety, the N Line also has you covered.
It’s packed with safety features like forward collision avoidance assist (FCA), with pedestrian detection, lane following assist, blind-spot collision avoidance assist and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist, all part of the Hyundai SmartSense suite of technologies.
Powertrain: The Elantra N Line has quite a bit more power than its counterparts in the Elantra lineup.
That is thanks to a 1.6-litre inline 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, which is a nice option that delivers 201 horsepower and 195 ft-lb of torque.
With Drive Mode Select, you can choose between Normal, Sport and Smart settings for the engine, with Sport being the most dynamic and delivering the most fun.
The engine is paired to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, with paddle shifters, and that’s where things go a little off the rails for me.
While the base Elantra has an available manual transmission, the N Line doesn’t and that seems like a mistake in my view.
Why? Because the automatic transmission disappointed me. I found it sluggish off the line and the changes from first to second gear were, shall we say, rough. And that is whether you are in Normal or Sport modes.
Perhaps I was jaded after having two manual transmissions right before driving the N Line, but it just felt like the car would benefit from one.
The N Line has an average fuel economy rating of 7.6 litres per 100 kilometres and I came pretty close with a score of 9.1 L/100 km, which is still respectable.
Exterior: The first thing you will notice about the N Line is the front grille, which definitely makes a statement. Now, whether or not it will be a hit with consumers is another matter.
Reaction from people I crossed paths with during my time with the N Line was mixed, but I actually like the boldness of the look.
The dark chrome grille features glossy black accents and the N Line badging to differentiate it from the base Elantra.
Other exterior touches on the N Line include a black lip spoiler on the trunk, dual chrome exhaust tips and unique 18-inch alloy wheels.
The overall exterior look features a lot of accent lines and creases in the sheet metal, notably on the door panels and hood, so even without all the N Line additions, this is a nice-looking vehicle.
The fiery red exterior colour, a very nice choice, will run you an extra $200. Hyundai charges buyers extra for every colour except white, so if you want to show some personality, prepare to pony up the extra bucks.
Interior: Overall, the N Line cabin is well designed and thought out, except for two items that stand out like sore thumbs.
First is the handle-type protrusion beside the gear shifter – I still can’t quite figure out what this is there for.
Second is the placement of the button for the Drive Mode Select control. It’s off to the left of the nicely designed and laid out gauge cluster, behind the steering wheel, on a protrusion that looks totally out of place. Why something like this wouldn’t be near the gear shifter is really beyond me.
It’s too bad because the interior, on the whole, is comfortable and has some nice touches on the N Line.
That includes heated sport seats with leather trim, a unique steering wheel, also heated, aluminum sport pedals, and red accent stitching throughout the cabin.
Back seat leg room is good with comfortable seating for rear passengers as well.
Infotainment: The N Line has a good infotainment package, starting with the 8.0-inch touchscreen, which is angled toward the driver slightly, allowing for better access to the controls.
The display itself is perhaps not as flashy as some other systems, but it is easy to use, and response time is good.
On the N Line, it is matched to a nice Bose premium sound system featuring eight speakers.
It also offers satellite radio, as well as wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, a feature I am seeing more and more, and one I really appreciate.
Drive: Other than that transmission hiccup, the Elantra N Line is actually a good driver once you are rolling thanks to the engine power and other features.
It uses a sport-tuned suspension for improved dynamics and responsiveness, as well as a multi-link independent suspension to ensure ride comfort and handling.
The result is a well sorted driver that can handle corners with little fuss and, in Sport mode, the N Line has an enjoyable feel to it behind the wheel.
Conclusion: It’s not perfect in my view, but the Elantra N Line has a lot of attractive qualities at a relatively affordable price.
The engine is excellent, the styling is sure to turn heads and it delivers some sporty performances. Up against better known models like the Civic Si, it may find it tough to gain traction, but there’s enough to like to ensure that the N Line can give the competition a run for its money.
2021 Hyundai Elantra N-Line
Price as tested: $29,524.00
Configuration: Front engine/Front-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 1.6-litre inline 4-cylinder turbocharged/ 7-speed dual-clutch with paddle shifters
Power/torque: 201 horsepower/ 195 ft-lb of torque
Fuel (capacity): Regular (47 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 7.6 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 9.1 L/100 km
Warranties: 5-years/100,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Honda Civic SI, Volkswagen Jetta GLI
Link: Hyundai Canada