The demise of the sedan has been extremely exaggerated. True, a lot of right now’s examples have adopted smooth, flowing rooflines, and a few producers have deserted vehicles nearly completely. However loads of thrilling three-box four-doors have thrived into the trendy age of the crossover, from wickedly highly effective supersedans, just like the 10Best-winning Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, to up to date variations of the Honda Civic Si and Subaru WRX. New to that record is the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N, the most recent sport-compact extension of the corporate’s N efficiency subbrand.
The front-wheel-drive Elantra N falls into the no-brainer class of product improvement. To not be confused with the lesser Elantra N Line—a 201-hp pepperoncini to the 276-hp habanero that’s the full N model—this new mannequin merely wraps the turbocharged goodness of the Veloster N hatchback and also-new Kona N crossover within the packaging of Hyundai’s redesigned compact sedan. This can be a good factor. Our long-term 2019 Veloster N totally entertained us over 40,000 miles, a mid-cycle replace introduced significant enhancements to that automobile for the 2021 mannequin yr, and the higher-riding Kona N is a hoot in its personal proper, albeit missing a guide transmission possibility.
Sedans have typically served as stealthier physique types in comparison with extra extroverted sizzling hatches and coupes. However that is not essentially the case with the Elantra N, what with its purple exterior accents, rear deck spoiler, and darkened model-specific grille that offers it the face of an indignant catfish. Uncork the Elantra N’s lively exhaust system and its 2.0-liter turbo 4—mated to both an ordinary six-speed guide or an optionally available eight-speed dual-clutch computerized with launch management—emits the identical popping, crackling growl that makes its siblings such aural treats to drive laborious. We suggest a darker exterior coloration if you wish to maintain a low profile, although the most recent Elantra does put on N’s signature Efficiency Blue paint properly. The elements for the Elantra N are largely the identical as these for its Veloster and Kona counterparts. There are quite a few preset drive modes, and the ten.3-inch touchscreen lets you configure two steering-wheel-mounted buttons with Customized settings for throttle sensitivity, steering weight, the lockup of the electronically managed limited-slip differential, and extra. Additionally on the wheel is a big purple button for adjusting the automated rev matching characteristic on guide vehicles or activating the automated mannequin’s N Grin Shift overboost characteristic, which unleashes 10 further horsepower (for a complete of 286) in 20-second bursts.
Based mostly on Hyundai’s newest K3 compact automobile platform, the Elantra N shares the N Line mannequin’s multilink rear suspension as a substitute of the usual automobile’s rear torsion beam. Updates for N responsibility embody adaptive dampers and a stiffer rear anti-roll bar, strengthened entrance strut towers, and a chassis brace behind the rear seats that connects the suspension’s uprights. The brakes characteristic bigger rotors—14.2 inches in entrance, 12.4 inches out again—and all Elantra Ns roll on intricate 19-inch wheels shod with 245/35R-19 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer time tires—the widest rubber but fitted to an N automobile. Additionally mannequin particular is a racing-inspired front-axle design that integrates the drive shafts with the wheel hub and bearing assemblies, which the corporate says improves rigidity and saves roughly seven kilos. Total mass needs to be barely better than the Veloster N’s and vary from 3200 to 3300 kilos, with 60-mph occasions coming in between 4.8 and 5.3 seconds, relying on the transmission.
Although we have beforehand pushed a prototype, this was our first stint within the manufacturing automobile, which was primarily restricted to the grounds of Northern California’s undulating Sonoma Raceway. But it surely solely took a fast jaunt on a close-by again highway to disclose that the Elantra N rides much more comfortably than the Veloster N, because of its newer platform and a couple of.8-inch longer wheelbase. Whereas each vehicles provide comparable ranges of composure, the sedan’s firmest damper setting is similar to the stubbier hatchback’s softest, which we have described as barely tolerable on less-than-perfect pavement. Unsurprisingly, the wheelbase stretch additionally interprets to a extra welcoming again seat with two full doorways, almost 4 further inches of legroom, and a smidge extra headroom underneath the sloping roofline. The enticing and supportive entrance seats which might be shared with the hatchback even have been mounted 0.4 inch decrease in comparison with lesser Elantras, making it simpler to suit inside with a helmet on.
Regardless of its quite livable character, the Elantra N shows the rowdy playfulness that we have come to anticipate from the N subbrand. Although not as planted or talkative at pace as, say, a Honda Civic Kind R, the Elantra N’s direct steering permits it to navigate a twisty racetrack with precision. Energy out of a nook and the electronically managed entrance differential limits understeer to a slight push and nearly eliminates torque steer. The robust brakes are properly matched to the automobile’s energy, and the suspension has a reassuring stability, shrugging off Sonoma Raceway’s curbing but sustaining strong physique management by way of each quick sweepers and tighter hairpins.
The Elantra N obediently tucks into line round corners if you let off the fuel, and the intervention of its three-stage stability management is pretty lenient in its extra aggressive settings. The true leisure is available in surges as you wind the engine to redline and fill the cabin with sound, from the brap of the exhaust to its augmentation by way of the stereo audio system. There’s even an equalizer perform for tailoring the soundtrack’s quantity and tone. Whereas the automated is definitely the faster setup—regardless of the extra mass it brings versus the guide—working the six-speed stick and well-positioned pedals is much extra satisfying, particularly with the guide’s no-lift shift characteristic. As with the Veloster N, the guide transmission is also the extra environment friendly setup, incomes an EPA-estimated 25 mpg mixed to the dual-clutch’s 23 mpg.
Hyundai remains to be coy about pricing forward of the Elantra N’s on-sale date later this yr. However we anticipate a base value within the low-$30,000 vary, which is able to embody an array of lively security options, the up to date 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster and touchscreen interfaces, and a sunroof on vehicles outfitted with the automated. Except for paint coloration and transmission selection, there aren’t any choices. Hyundai makes some extent to emphasise leisure over outright efficiency with its present N lineup, and it exhibits. The addition of a better-riding and extra spacious sedan variant makes that enjoyable issue even simpler to get pleasure from.
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