Home Gear box 2022 Hyundai Elantra N first test: just enough aggro

2022 Hyundai Elantra N first test: just enough aggro

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Fortunately, the Hyundai Elantra N drives better than it looks. Much better.

Hyundai

The Hyundai Elantra N is one of the most exciting cars to hit the road this year. Spirited and furious, this angry-looking sedan barks, explodes, slams and farts, pushing its way out of corners, kicking you in the back with every gear change. It’s visceral. It’s hilarious. And yet, it’s not so rowdy that it would be a chore to go through from day to day.

Power comes from the same 2.0-liter I4 turbo you’ll find in the Veloster N sedan, putting out 276 horsepower and 289 lb-ft of torque. This engine is a little firecracker, offering immediate thrust at all times, paired with a sports exhaust that is an absolute delight, bursting and crackling when overtaken. On the flip side, I sort of hate the N Sound Equalizer which pumps out engine noise and “simulates Hyundai Motorsports sounds”, although you can at least tweak the specs to make it less out of tune.

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, and while it pains me to say it, this isn’t the transmission I would choose. Yes, Hyundai’s auto rev-matching feature is nice, but the clutch is a bit spongy, the shifter shifts are a bit long, and the Elantra N has a problem I’ve encountered in others. Hyundai and Genesis products, where the drivetrain feels like it reduces torque when you engage each gear, making it difficult to shift smoothly.

On the other hand, the optional eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is a pleasure. It shifts gears smoothly when you drive in Normal mode, but it really increases the drama when you put the Elantra N in Sport mode. The transmission has lightning-fast reflexes and you can feel a satisfying slap through the car with every gear change, like cranking up the gears in a rally car. Even the paddle shifters are fun to use, although I wish they weren’t small and mounted on the steering wheel. It’s amazing how few car manufacturers succeed in having correct paddles.

Speaking of the steering wheel, you’ll notice a few buttons that you won’t find in other Elantras. The blue N buttons on either side allow you to store individual N1 and N2 drive modes, after adjusting throttle response, steering weight, suspension stiffness and traction control to your liking. Custom ride settings also let you adjust the intensity of the exhaust sound and the action of the electronic limited-slip differential. It seems overkill at first glance, but Hyundai says people love being able to play around with various car settings on the go.

The N button stores your player settings. The NGS button is like a push-to-pass boost mode. Both things are great.

Hyundai

If you are in the Elantra equipped with DCT, there is another button to note. The bright red on the right side of the steering wheel is labeled NGS, for N Grin Shift, and while the name is silly, I have to admit it is accurate. The NGS works like Porsche’s Sport Response button, where it shifts the transmission down a gear to bring the engine to full boil. In the Elantra, N Grin Shift also unlocks an additional 10 hp for those 20-second bursts. It’s a nifty little push-to-pass feature, and I find myself using it over and over again, even if it’s just for fun.

Compared to a standard Elantra, the N has a stiffer body, tighter suspension, bigger brakes, tighter steering ratio, new front axle setup, and 19-inch wheels, among other minor tweaks. . Everything works wonderfully; The Elantra N drives with a level of balance and precision that allows it to easily compete with front-wheel drive guns like the Honda Civic Type R and Volkswagen Golf GTI. The steering is direct and precise, the chassis is playful without being uncomfortable and the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires of the 245/35 series are pleasant and grippy without compromising the quality of driving of the Elantra.

The real star of the show is the electronic limited-slip differential, which instantly and seamlessly mixes torque between the front wheels. Throw the Elantra N into a turn and there’s no understeer – just a whole world of grip as you charge forward. Torque steering lifts your head when you step on the accelerator out of a corner, but Hyundai says that’s a feature, not a flaw. Albert Biermann, head of research and development for Hyundai Motor Group, says he wants the Elantra N to come to life in your hands without feeling like it’s slipping away.

Two 10.3-inch screens manage the gauge cluster and infotainment functions.

Hyundai

Around Sonoma Raceway in Northern California, the Elantra N is really full of life. It has all the traits of the best hot hatches: it’s slippery and fun, and just the right amount of hook. Hyundai’s compact sports sedan is more entertaining than a Golf GTI, although it is not as precise.

The downside to the Elantra N package? At least in my eyes, it’s a really ugly car. The standard Elantra is the right amount of bias, all angular and weird. But the N treatment takes things in a way, in a way, manner too far – especially at the front. The black grille and body panels hide much of the fairing design, and those low red accents don’t work with all body colors (especially blue). From the profile, the Elantra N is fine and the 19-inch wheels look great. The rear is also generally okay, but this spoiler is far too much of a “Pep Boys addition” for such a serious car in terms of performance. It’s just … a lot. I love driving this car, but I couldn’t look at one in my driveway every day.

Luckily, step inside and the N looks as good as any new Elantra. The cabin has plenty of room for four adults – maybe five in a pinch – and is equipped with all the comforts you could possibly need. A wireless charger, heated seats, a Bose audio system, and Hyundai’s digital key are all there, along with N-specific perks like generously beefed up sport seats, a chunky rim steering wheel, aluminum pedals and, well. sure, N badges galore.

He’s a rowdy little rascal.

Hyundai

The Elantra N comes with Hyundai’s full technology suite, including a 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen. The latter supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – not wireless, womp womp – but luckily Hyundai’s proprietary software is colorful and easy to use, so don’t panic if you forget to bring a USB cable. Hyundai doesn’t skimp on active safety technology either, packing every Elantra N with forward collision warning, lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and Moreover.

How much does all this goodness cost? That part remains to be seen and is expected to be announced as the Elantra N 2022’s on-sale date approaches later this year. The step forward Elantra N Line costs $ 26,625, including $ 1,025 for the destination, and it’s safe to assume that the full N zoo will cost several thousand more than that.

Even though it costs $ 35,000 to start, the 2022 Elantra N is a ton of car for the money. It’s an absolute pleasure packed with amenities and one of the most exciting new entries in the compact sport segment for years.


Editor’s Note: Travel expenses related to this story were covered by the manufacturer, which is common in the auto industry. The judgments and opinions of Roadshow staff are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.