Fun-to-drive cars don’t have to break the piggy bank. While consumers are flocking toward crossovers and SUVs, automakers are still offering affordable sedans with manual gearboxes and turbocharged engines. A new video from the Sam CarLegion YouTube channel takes three such cars – the Subaru WRX, Hyundai Elantra N, and Honda Civic Si – to the track to see which is the drag racing superstar.
Powering the Hyundai is the brand’s turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine. It produces 276 horsepower (205 kilowatts) and 298 pound-feet (404 Newton-meters) of torque, with a six-speed manual sitting between the engine and the front wheels. It weighs 3,208 pounds (1,455 kilograms).
Gallery: 2022 Hyundai Elantra N Review
The Honda Civic Si has a much smaller 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It’s also down on power, making 200 hp (149 kW) and 192 lb-ft (260 Nm) of torque. It’s the lightest of the bunch at 2,981 lbs (1,352 kg) while featuring a six-speed manual gearbox channeling power to the front wheels.
A new Subaru WRX is also battling it out with the Honda and Hyundai, but it’s not stock. The turbocharged 2.4-liter flat-four engine makes 271 hp (202 kW) and 258 lb-ft (349 Nm) from the factory, but a tune adds 70 hp (52 kW) and 50 lb-ft (67 Nm) of torque, giving the car a sizable advantage over the other two. And that’s in addition to the Subaru’s all-wheel-drive system, which receives power from the engine through a six-speed manual. It’s the heaviest, too, at 3,297 lbs (1,487 kg).
The Subaru’s extra power and all-wheel drive made it unbeatable in the first three races from a dig. The Civic’s lack of power kept it at the back, with the Hyundai splitting the difference for second place. However, it finished much closer to the WRX than it did to the Honda.
The trio then competed in a pair of rolling races. The first one saw the Elantra N eke out its only victory, beating the Subaru to the finish line. The final rolling race from 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour) saw the Subaru and Hyundai cross the finish line at the same time. The rolling start neutered the Subaru’s all-wheel-drive advantage.
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