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Verdict

7.9 / 10

Design | Comfort | Tech | Performance | Safety | Fuel Economy | Pricing | FAQs

The Hyundai Elantra is not an exciting car. Practical? Sure. Efficient? Absolutely. But it takes more than an edgy exterior to make this otherwise forgettable four-door into something special – it takes the letter "N."

Just like the Veloster and Kona before it, the inauspicious N logo on the trunklid transforms the Elantra into a fiery, front-wheel-drive pocket rocket. It now packs a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with a robust 276 horsepower, a new adaptive suspension, stickier tires, and an overboost function – just to name a few of the major alterations. With all those upgrades in tow, the Elantra N is the definition of dynamic.

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Quick Stats 2022 Hyundai Elantra N
Engine Turbocharged 2.0-Liter I4
Output 276 Horsepower / 289 Pound-Feet
Transmission Eight-Speed Dual-Clutch
0-60 MPH 5.1 Seconds
Fuel Economy 22 City / 31 Highway / 25 Combined

Gallery: 2022 Hyundai Elantra N Review

Design

6/10
  • Exterior Color: Intense Blue 
  • Interior Color: Black
  • Wheel Size: 19 Inches

Here's the good news: You won't mistake the Hyundai Elantra N for anything else. Its design is so sharp and so bold that the sedan stands out instantly amongst a sea of mundane small cars.

But the sharp creases and angry edges of the Elantra N won't be for everyone – myself included. I find the design too fussy; the blacked-out grille is polarizing, the angles on the door panels look silly, and the rear wing is like something out of a Need For Speed video game. This Intense Blue paint isn't my favorite, either – I prefer the lighter Performance Blue.

The interior is less offensive than the exterior, and very nice. The same clean layout of the standard Elantra carries over, but with an amplified cockpit-like design and a few N-specific touches. The red steering wheel button, the baby blue accents, the metal-trimmed pedals, and the stylish sport bucket seats are all exclusive to the N model. And there's a very cool illuminated N logo just below the headrests.

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Comfort

6/10
  • Seating Capacity: 5 
  • Seating Configuration: 2 / 3
  • Cargo Capacity: 14.2 Cubic Feet

The Elantra N doesn't reach Veloster N or Honda Civic Si levels of harsh – but it's not exactly the pinnacle of comfort, either. The suspension is rigid and rattles the vehicle over any pavement that's less than perfect. And the 19-inch wheels and ultra-thin rubber only amplify the uncomfortable ride.

Although they aren't the cushiest, those aforementioned sport buckets seats do offer ample support thanks to their ergonomic shape. The Alcantara-and-leather chairs envelop the driver and front passenger with excellent butt, back, and lumbar support, and the thick side bolsters keep bodies from sliding around in tight corners. And both the driver and passenger get heated seats at no extra cost.

As far as practicality goes, the Elantra offers some of the best passenger and cargo space in the entire segment:

  Headroom Legroom Cargo Space
Hyundai Elantra N 39.9 / 37.3 Inches 42.3 / 38.0 Inches 14.2 Cubic Feet
Honda Civic Si 37.6 / 37.1 Inches 42.3 / 37.4 Inches 14.1 Cubic Feet
Subaru WRX 39.8 / 36.7 Inches 43.1 / 36.5 Inches 12.5 Cubic Feet
Volkswagen Jetta GLI 38.5 / 37.2 Inches 41.1 / 37.4 Inches 14.1 Cubic Feet

Technology & Connectivity

8/10
  • Center Display: 10.3-inch Touchscreen 
  • Instrument Cluster Display: 10.3 Inches
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto: No

The Elantra N comes standard with the two biggest screens in the segment: a 10.3-inch touchscreen and a corresponding 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster, both perched behind a single piece of continuous glass. Not only does the setup look sharp, but it functions just as well. The crisp, clean graphics and smartphone-like scrolling functionality of the Uvo infotainment system make navigating the touchscreen a breeze.

GPS comes standard, as does Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a wireless phone charger. But as with many Hyundai and Kia products, the company limits wireless smartphone mirroring to vehicles with the smaller infotainment system (like the 8.0-inch screen found on the N-Line model). So you will still have to plug in here for CarPlay access.

Performance & Handling

10/10
  • Engine: Turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 
  • Output: 276 Horsepower / 278 Pound-Feet
  • Transmission: Eight-Speed Dual-Clutch

Performance-wise, the Elantra N is pretty much perfect. With a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine making 276 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque, this pocket rocket races to 60 in 5.1 seconds when equipped with the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, and it feels damn punchy doing so. Add to that a baked-in overboost function – aka “N Grin Shift” – and output jumps to 286 hp over short bursts.

But in the corners is where the Elantra N truly excels. Standard adaptive dampers and the Veloster N's borrowed Corner Carving Differential – aka, an electronic limited-slip diff – help the Elantra shed its economy car characteristics for more dynamic handling. Flick it into a turn and the feedback is unparalleled at this price point; immediate responsiveness, ample grip from the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires, and excellent balance make the Elantra N the perfect dance partner.

The moderately weighted steering feels less tactile compared to the Civic Si or Subaru WRX, but it offers a more direct response with better feedback from the pavement to your fingertips. Even the simplest stoplight turn or quick right-hander feels exciting. And with 14.2-inch ventilated front brake rotors (bigger than any other car in the class), the Elantra N stops just as well as it goes.

Safety

7/10
  • Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 1 
  • NHTSA Rating: 4 Star
  • IIHS Rating: Top Safety Pick

Just like the Veloster N, all of Hyundai’s advanced active safety features come standard here. The Elantra N boasts automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist with lane centering, high-beam assist, and more. And ticking the lane-centering tech keeps the Elantra perfectly centered.

But also just like in the Veloster, the Elantra N doesn’t have adaptive cruise control, which means you won’t be able to set it and forget it when on the highway.

Fuel Economy

4/10
  • City: 22 MPG 
  • Highway: 31 MPG
  • Combined: 25 MPG

As the most powerful option of the bunch, the Hyundai Elantra N is also one of the least efficient. And note its turbocharged engine only drinks premium fuel.

  City Highway Combined
Hyundai Elantra N 22 31 25
Honda Civic Si 27 37 31
Subaru WRX 19 26 22
Volkswagen Jetta GLI 26 37 30

Pricing

2/10
  • Base Price: $20,500 + $1,045 Destination 
  • Trim Base Price: $33,245
  • As-Tested Price: $34,745

Technically, the base Elantra N with a manual transmission is the priciest option in the segment. It costs $33,245 with the $1,095 destination fee included, and adding the DCT brings the MSRP to $34,745. But it’s also the most powerful car in the class and the only one with no pricey packages or add-ons – everything you want comes standard.

  Base Price
Hyundai Elantra N $33,245
Honda Civic Si $28,315
Subaru WRX $30,065
Volkswagen Jetta GLI $31,990

 

Although you will have a pay a bit more for the Elantra N compared to the Civic Si or Subaru WRX, the engine, chassis, and steering make it worth the extra money. This car is unmatched in the class in terms of performance, and easily the most fun option of the entire bunch.

On top of all that awesome performance, you also get a bevy of active safety features at no cost (though no adaptive cruise control), as well as Hyundai’s advanced in-car technology. Assuming you can swallow the angular exterior, the Elantra N is hard to beat.

Competitor Reviews:

FAQs 


What Does The N Mean In The Hyundai Elantra?

Similar to BMW M and Mercedes-AMG, the N badge designates Hyundai’s sportiest offerings. It’s available on the Elantra, Kona, and Veloster in the US, and is named after the Namyang district in South Korea, home to Hyundai’s research and development center where it was founded.


How Much Does The Elantra N Cost?

The base Elantra N with a manual transmission costs $33,245 with the $1,095 destination fee included. Adding the dual-clutch transmission brings the asking price to $34,745.


Is The Elantra N All-Wheel Drive?

No, the Elantra N is only available in a front-wheel-drive configuration. That’s also true of the Veloster N and Kona N; Hyundai currently doesn’t offer all-wheel drive on any of its performance vehicles.


 

2022 Hyundai Elantra N

Engine Turbocharged 2.0-Liter I4
Output 276 Horsepower / 289 Pound-Feet
Transmission Eight-Speed Dual-Clutch
Drive Type Front-Wheel Drive
Speed 0-60 MPH 5.1 Seconds
Maximum speed 155 Miles Per Hour
Efficiency 22 City / 31 Highway / 25 Combined
Weight 3,186 Pounds
Seating Capacity 5
Cargo Volume 14.2 Cubic Feet
Base Price $20,500 + $1,045 Destination
Trim Base Price $32,150
As-Tested Price $34,745
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