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2022 Hyundai Elantra N Review & Test Drive

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2022 hyundai elantra n

The Hyundai Elantra has never really been a vehicle to stand out, but it has been a steady force for an economical buy that served as a decent compact vehicle for many. For the seventh generation of the Hyundai Elantra, introduced as a 2021 model year vehicle, things get a bit more interesting for the 2022 model as Hyundai brings us a performance-oriented version, the Elantra N.

Having experienced the Hyundai Kona N just a few months back and being surprised by its aggressive approach to compact fun and performance in a crossover, I knew I was in for a treat with the Elantra N that has the same powertrain but in a sedan package. In the new Elantra N, there’s a clever and somewhat laughable outlook to all that such a vehicle offers from its stand-out exterior trim to the overall aggressive look that fits the part to win over many diehard automotive enthusiasts. There’s a lowered stance accentuating the unique 19-inch wheels wrapped by Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires. Even the aggressive exhaust pops and burbles are all part of an enthusiastic theme that the Elantra N brings to the table to place itself at the forefront for a unique segment that’s often overshadowed by vehicles costing two, three, or four times as much.

2022 hyundai elantra n side

Performance and Driving Character

Upon startup, you know right away that the Elantra N is no ordinary Elantra or any type of economy compact sedan. The Elantra N makes no apologies about what it is all about from the initial rumble of its ignition sputtering through the large dual exhaust tips. That sound is produced by the Elantra N’s raucous 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4-cylinder engine that’s good for 276 horsepower and 286 lb-ft of torque. That power is sent through either an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission or a 6-speed manual. If you opt for the 8-speed dual-clutch found in my test vehicle you get a unique N-Grin Shift (NGS) feature accessed by a steering wheel button that is essentially an over-boost function adding 10 more horsepower (total of 286-hp) and places the transmission into its most aggressive setting to extract all that the turbocharged engine has to give. It’s rather fun with such a clever feature, which only lasts for 20-second spurts. There’s even an N launch mode enacted through an N menu via the infotainment touchscreen. Using the launch mode and NGS will get the Elantra N up to 60 mph in about 5.2 seconds. While I may have expected the Elantra N to be a bit quicker, I had to remind myself that this is still just a front-wheel-drive car.

2022 hyundai elantra n rear

Speaking of front-wheel-drive, the Elantra N uses a limited Slip differential, and it works well to keep the vehicle going in the direction that you point it without much understeer or torque steer. There’s an assured way that the Elantra N handles, which feels completely different than any other Elantra, including the mild-performance Elantra N-Line, which has 201 horsepower. The variance is large, and the Elantra N makes no qualms about being aggressive and track-ready – thought of a more balanced and daily-driving family-friendly formula than its closely matched and now-discontinued Hyundai Veloster brother.

2022 hyundai elantra n 19-inch wheel tire

With straight-line performance not being the primary focus of the Elantra N, there’s a welcoming attitude and aggressive handling ability of such a vehicle that makes it fun. The Elantra N feels nimble with excellent steering with a touch of feedback. With the proper throttle inputs and light track experience, the Elantra N can do some serious damage when running with closely match competition. It’s one of the most engaging front-wheel-drive compact sedans I’ve driven, and I am sure that engagement only gets better if you retain the standard 6-speed manual transmission.

There’s a slight Jekyll and Hyde formula to the Elantra N where it transforms from a comfy daily driving compact sedan to a wild animal through the N drive settings, which can be quickly accessed through steering wheel N buttons. The modes, which have two customizable sets, can dial up a plethora of vehicle settings, such as the suspension’s adaptive dampers, steering effort, limited-slip differential settings, engine and transmission performance, and exhaust sound. There are also pre-set N modes when you don’t want to play the guessing game of setting the mode for the many drive characteristics. Having so many options makes the Elantra N one of the most performance-customizable vehicles through a touchscreen menu on the market.

2022 hyundai elantra n gauge cluster

Fuel Economy

The Hyundai Elantra N, even with its aggressive sporty attitude, still retains decent fuel consumption figures at the EPA estimated 20 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined. Though, driving the Elantra N in any mode other than the default “normal” mode tends to drink a bit more fuel and you end up missing the highway EPA estimate by a long shot.

Interior and Technology

The cabin of the Elantra N retains most of what I’ve enjoyed in the redesigned Elantra N with its unique traits being the sporty front heated seats with aggressive bolstering, fixed headrest areas, and a neat illuminated N logo. The rear seating area is more accommodating than the Veloster N adding to the appeal of having a sedan form of a Hyundai N vehicle and a decent trunk area. A sunroof comes as part of opting for the automatic (dual-clutch) transmission.

2022 hyundai elantra n dashboard

There’s a dual-zone automatic climate control with physical knobs and buttons just below the latest 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen. The system is the same as found in modern Hyundai vehicles with the integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto via USB, even though there is a wireless smartphone charger. The 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster has added displays for the N drive modes bringing up more performance and vehicle information data pertinent to monitoring items like turbo boost and tire pressure.

2022 hyundai elantra n front seats

Safety

The expected suite of active safety features and driver-assistance functions apply to the Elantra N, such as having the availability of adaptive cruise control with lane-centering. There’s also standard forward collision warning with emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning with lane keeping assist, blind-spot monitors with collision avoidance assist, and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist.

2022 hyundai elantra n back seats

Price

Hyundai prides itself on offering exceptional value in vehicles that showcase a bit extra in their applicable theme. The Elantra N seems to be no different in that approach with a price starting at $32,150. The only main factory option is the dual-clutch automatic transmission, which adds $1,500 to the price.

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