2022 Hyundai Elantra N brings fun to four doors

The demise of the sedan has been greatly exaggerated. True, many examples today have adopted sleek, flowing rooflines, and some manufacturers have abandoned cars almost entirely. But many exciting three-box four-doors have flourished in the modern crossover era, from incredibly powerful super sedans, like the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing 10 Top Winner, to updated versions of the Honda Civic Si and the Subaru WRX. . New to this list is the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N, the latest sporty compact extension of the company’s N performance sub-brand.

The front-wheel drive Elantra N falls into the obvious category of product development. Not to be confused with any Elantra N Line – a 201bhp 276bhp habanero pepperoncini that is the full N version – this new model simply wraps the turbo goodness of the Veloster N sedan and also the new Kona N crossover in it. packaging of Hyundai’s redesigned compact sedan. This is a good thing. Our long-term 2019 Veloster N kept us entertained for over 40,000 miles, a mid-cycle update made significant improvements to this car for the 2021 model year, and the higher Kona N is a hoot. full-fledged, although it lacks a manual transmission possibility.

Sedans have often served as more stealthy body styles compared to more outgoing hatches and hot coupes. But that’s not necessarily the case with the Elantra N, with its red exterior accents, rear spoiler, and dark model-specific grille that gives it the face of an angry catfish. Unclog the Elantra N’s active exhaust system and its 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder, mated to a standard six-speed manual or optional eight-speed dual-clutch automatic with launch control, emits the same growl and crackle that makes its siblings sound like treats to drive hard. We recommend a darker exterior color if you want to keep a low profile, although the latest Elantra does well in N’s signature Performance Blue paint. The ingredients in the Elantra N are mostly the same as its Veloster counterparts and Kona. There are many preset driving modes and the 10.3 inch touchscreen allows you to configure two steering wheel mounted buttons with custom settings for throttle sensitivity, steering weight, differential lock electronically controlled limited slip, etc. Also on the steering wheel is a large red button to adjust the automatic rev-matching function on manual cars or activate the overboost N Grin Shift function of the automatic model, which releases an additional 10 horsepower (for a total of 286) in bursts of 20 seconds.

Based on Hyundai’s latest K3 compact car platform, the Elantra N shares the N Line model’s multi-link rear suspension instead of the standard car’s rear torsion beam. Updates for the N service include adaptive dampers and a stiffer rear anti-roll bar, reinforced front strut towers, and a frame brace behind the rear seats that connects the suspension pillars. The brakes feature larger discs – 14.2 inches in the front, 12.4 inches in the rear – and all Elantra N rolls on complex 19-inch wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires. 245 / 35R-19 – the widest rubber ever fitted to an N car. A racing-inspired front axle design is also model-specific which integrates the driveshafts with the wheel hub and bearing assemblies, which the company says improves stiffness and saves around seven pounds. . Overall mass is expected to be slightly more than the Veloster N and range between 3,200 and 3,300 pounds, with 60 mph times ranging between 4.8 and 5.3 seconds, depending on the transmission.

Although we’ve driven a prototype before, this was our first stint in the production car, which was mostly confined to the rolling Sonoma Raceway terrains of northern California. But it only took a quick jaunt to a nearby side road to reveal that the Elantra N rides much more comfortably than the Veloster N, thanks to its newer platform and 2-inch longer wheelbase, 8 inch. While both cars offer similar levels of calm, the sedan’s firmer damper setting is comparable to the softer, chunkier hatchback, which we described as barely tolerable on less than perfect pavement. . Unsurprisingly, the longer wheelbase also translates into a more welcoming rear seat with two solid doors, nearly four additional inches of legroom and a little more headroom below the roofline. sloping. The attractive and supportive front seats that are shared with the hatchback were also mounted 0.4 inches lower compared to the lesser Elantras, making it easier to fit inside with a helmet.

Despite its rather livable character, the Elantra N displays the rowdy playfulness we expect from the N sub-brand. While not as planted or chatty at speed as, say, a Honda Civic Type R, the steering direct line of the Elantra N allows it to navigate with precision on a winding track. Power out of the corners and electronically controlled front differential limit understeer to a slight push and almost eliminate steering torque. The powerful brakes are well matched to the power of the car and the suspension has a reassuring balance, eliminating the brakes from the Sonoma Raceway while maintaining solid body control thanks to fast sweepers and tighter hairpins.

The Elantra N obediently folds into the corners when you release the throttle, and the intervention of its three-stage stability control is fairly lenient in its more aggressive settings. The real fun comes in surges when you wind the engine up to the red line and fill the cabin with sound, from the brap from the exhaust to its increase through the stereo speakers. There’s even an equalizer function to match the volume and tone of the soundtrack. While the automatic is surely the fastest configuration, despite the additional mass it brings compared to the manual, working with the six-speed stick and well-positioned pedals is much more satisfying, especially with the shift function. speed change without manual lifting. As with the Veloster N, the manual transmission is also the most efficient setup, gaining 25 mpg estimated by the EPA combined with 23 mpg from the dual clutch.

Hyundai is still price-shy ahead of the Elantra N’s on-sale date later this year. But we expect a base price of around $ 30,000, which will include an array of active safety features, the updated 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster and touchscreen interfaces, and a sunroof on cars equipped with automatic transmission. Aside from the paint color and the choice of transmission, there are no options. Hyundai makes a point of emphasizing entertainment rather than straightforward performance with its current N lineup, and it shows. The addition of a more comfortable and spacious sedan variant makes this fun factor even more enjoyable to enjoy.

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