Now, that is some serious fun!
And I mean that with a capital N – as in the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N.
I recently drove this sporty version of the popular model and it left quite an impression – and not just because of the quite unique Performance Blue paint job.
The 4-door sport sedan is an absolute treat to drive – made better on the tester thanks to the six-speed manual transmission, something that is becoming exceedingly rare, so I enjoy one every chance I get.
There’s a bit of a price premium for the Elantra N when compared to the other models by the same, but it is still a pretty good deal even at the as-tested price of $39,703.35.
Despite sharing the same names and overall look, however, there are many enhancements to the N model, including the fact it is built on a new platform of high strength steel for stiffness and rigidity. And you can also visually see some extra reinforcements when you open the trunk.
The N also has a pretty unique look, and a sound that definitely lets everyone know this is not your run of the mill Elantra.
Powertrain: Under the sleek hood of the N is a 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that just brings joy to a driver’s face.
With a rating of 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque, the engine delivers a ton of power for a vehicle this size. Made better, for me anyways, through a very smooth six-speed manual transmission that made shifting through the gears a joy.
While Hyundai offers an eight-speed wet dual clutch transmission, the manual would be my preference any day.
And while the sound of the engine under normal circumstances is already quite something, the flick of the N mode button on the steering wheel makes the snap and crackle of the exhaust even more enticing. There is also a bright red button on the steering wheel to activate rev matching.
The N does take premium fuel and is rated for a combined consumption average of 9.4 litres per 100 kilometres. That seems optimistic given how fun this car is and the urge to let loose a little bit, and I averaged 10.9 L/100 km, which is still not terrible in my books.
Exterior: I really loved the Performance Blue exterior paint choice on our tester and to me, well worth the $250 charge. It definitely stands out in a sea of otherwise monotonous colour choices out there, but the other styling enhancements are also key to making this vehicle look bad ass.
That starts with a nice set of 19-inch alloy wheels, exclusive front and rear bumpers, a unique front grille, N exclusive side sill mouldings – in red and black on our tester – and a gloss black rear wing on the trunk.
As you would expect, the N logo is just about everywhere, including on the red brake calipers. The rear is capped off by dual large bore exhaust outlets.
Interior: As appealing as the exterior is, the interior is just as nice.
That starts with the eye-catching suede and leatherette sport bucket seats with illuminated N logo, which are hard to miss – especially at night.
From the driver’s seat, your line of sight falls on a dual 10.25-inch screen setup that is now becoming the norm for this automaker.
One of the screens houses the digital instrument cluster, while the other is for the infotainment system. The N has some specific Performance gauges that show things like turbo psi, throttle, brake psi, power, oil temperature and more.
The leather-wrapped steering wheel, which is heated, features those embedded N mode and rev match buttons. The front seats are also heated.
The large handle at the right of the shifter raised a few eyebrows with people I showed the car to, but I could see it being a useful place to hold on to for passengers as the driver enjoys throwing the N into corners.
Rear seat passengers get equally comfortable seating and a good amount of legroom, but the front seats are where you really want to be.
Infotainment: Another bright spot is the infotainment system on the Elantra N, powered by that second large 10.25-inch screen. The Bose premium audio package that incudes eight speakers and an amplifier offers plenty of excellent sound. The system offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging, and satellite radio.
The system is easy to understand and operate, even with some on-screen menus to navigate, with little lag in its operation.
Drive: Lots of power. A smooth six-speed manual transmission. A sporty suspension setup.
The Elantra N has all the ingredients to deliver driving pleasure – and it does not disappoint.
There are several drive modes to choose from, including Normal, Eco, Sport, Custom and, the most fun one, N mode.
The suspension on the N is upgraded when compared to the normal Elantra, with a multi-link independent setup at the rear. That gives the N a responsive and stable feel out on the open road.
The cabin can get a bit noisy, but this is a good kind of noise since it’s a nice burble from the exhaust that fills the void.
Conclusion: The Elantra N is a whole lot of fun. The powerful engine, paired with that manual gearbox and suspension setup deliver a sporty and fun sedan. The unique styling will grab attention, while the sports seats will hold it as you push the N through the gears. It’s the perfect vehicle for the driver who needs a practical sedan for their family, but still can’t let go of the desire to have fun behind the wheel.
2022 Hyundai Elantra N
Price as tested: $39,703.35
Configuration: Front engine/Front-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.0-litre turbo 4-cylinder/ 6-speed manual
Power/torque: 276 horsepower/ 289 lb-ft of torque
Fuel (capacity): Premium (47 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 9.4 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 10.9 L/100 km
Warranties: 5-years/100,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Honda Civic SI/ Type R, Subaru WRX, Volkswagen Golf GTI / R
Link: Hyundai Canada