2022 Hyundai Elantra N Review: Putting The N in Fun

Hyundai is making huge waves with all the new products they have on offer and products soon to be released. They’re not only focusing on gasoline vehicles, they’ve also released and are planning on releasing some pretty enticing electric vehicles, and they even have a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle on the market.

In a time where more carmakers are focusing on creating new segments in the CUV market and completely forgetting about the enthusiasts, it’s refreshing to see Hyundai hasn’t forgotten about these hardcore fans, with concept cars like the Hyundai N Vision 74, you can’t help it but get excited. Will the 74 make it to production? There’s always a possibility.

It was only a few years ago when Hyundai introduced their “N” branded cars to the world. Their first car in this line was the Veloster N, which I enjoyed driving a lot. Hyundai has slowly been adding other vehicles to the N family, their latest two vehicles are the Elantra N and the Kona N and soon to be added Ioniq 5 N. This week we had the opportunity to review the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N, the Kona N will be reviewed next week. Hyundai will also be applying the “N treatment” to their electric vehicles; and there’s also a lesser version of the N vehicles, called the “N-Line”.

2022 Hyundai Elantra N Prices

In Canada, the Hyundai Elantra N has a starting price of $39,648 with Freight & PDI and other fees and levies included, according to their website. Hyundai has recently started to include Freight & PDI in their prices on their website. The $39k price is for the manual transmission equipped cars, adding the DCT brings up the price to $41,248.

According to the press material we were provided with the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N, the prices without Freight & PDI/other fees and levies is $37,199 for the manual Elantra N and $38,799 for the DCT equipped Elantra N.

2022 Hyundai Elantra N front scaled

2022 Hyundai Elantra N Engine

The 2022 Elantra N is equipped with the THETA turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, producing 276 horsepower between 5,500 – 6,000 rpm and 289 pound-feet of torque between 2,100 – 4,700 rpm. There’s a special “boost” button on the steering wheel, called NGS, which stands for N Grin Shift, which provides an additional 10 HP for 20 seconds. Power is sent to the front wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission or the optional 8-speed wet dual-clutch transmission. Hyundai claims a 0 – 100 km sprint time of 5.3 seconds, which I believe is for the DCT equipped cars.

Driving the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N

I had a lot of fun driving the Veloster N, which shares the engine and transmission with the Elantra N. The Elantra is a bigger car, so the driving dynamics are a bit different. However, I had just as much fun driving the Elantra N as I did with the Veloster. The Elantra N feels just as sporty and is more practical. Although the Veloster had a surprisingly good amount of space in the back seat.

Like the Veloster N, the Elantra N comes with 4 driving modes and a custom mode where you can pick between different throttle response, steering weight, exhaust note etc. The 4 modes are Eco, Normal, Sport, and N. The first three modes are pretty self-explanatory, the N mode is what other manufacturers would call “Sport +” or their own unique name.

Driving the Elantra N in the Eco mode, which is the tamest mode, feels like you’re driving a regular sporty sedan. This is a good mode for just driving around in traffic-filled city streets or long stretches of boring highway. The next driving mode is Normal, which provides a bit more power and is the mode the car always starts in. I mostly used this mode on my daily driving in addition to the Eco mode. This mode is a good mix of enough “sport” to make the drive fun but not so much so that you’re making tons of noise from the exhaust and driving around with a stiff suspension.

The next mode is Sport mode, this mode cranks things up even more. The throttle response is quicker, the gears are held longer, the suspension is firmer, and the exhaust is louder. I completely skipped this mode; but why you may ask?

Because there’s the N mode, which cranks everything up to the max. The N mode is the mode to really have some fun in. The throttle response is super quick, the suspension gets quite firm, and the exhaust valve open up all the way. The exhaust is deliciously loud; as I get older, I don’t enjoy loud things, but the Elantra N’s exhaust was fun to listen to. The exhaust cracks and pops like a purebred sports car, with pops on downshifts and even on upshifts. The exhaust pops almost sound like fireworks going off. This is the mode you want to be in if you really want to annoy your neighbors.

When I was feeling “sporty”, I’d put it in the N mode and “let ‘er rip”. The Elantra N felt just as quick and fun as the slightly more powerful previous generation Civic Type R, which is getting replaced by a newer more powerful version as we speak.

Switching between the different modes can be done via a drive mode selector button on the center console, but that means you’d have to take your hands off the steering wheel. Hyundai has you covered, with a pair of buttons on the steering wheel. The button on the left side of the steering wheel toggles between the 3 “lesser” modes and the button on the right spoke of the steering wheel sends you directly to the N mode. I like this way of doing things because if you’re in the Eco mode, you’d normally have to scroll from Eco to Normal to Sport to N, and if you accidentally pressed it one more time, you’d be back at Eco and have to repeat the process. The way Hyundai has it set up you can go directly from Eco to N, which is especially nice when a BMW driver starts tailgating you and you quickly switch to the N mode and blast away from him.

As I mentioned earlier, the Elantra N comes with an “NGS” button, which is located on the steering wheel. Pressing this button downshifts the transmission to the lowest appropriate gear and gives you 10 extra HP above 5,500 rpm. I think this button is best left for the track. The Elantra N also comes with launch control, but I didn’t use it because it’s not really a good idea to be doing this type of stuff in congested city traffic.

Another great thing to see is the fact that Hyundai is offering a manual transmission on the Elantra N. I’m glad I didn’t get to drive the manual Elantra N first, because I would be complaining about missing the 6-speed transmission. Since I’ve only experienced the DCT Elantra N, I can confidently say it’s one hell of a transmission. It shifts quickly when you want it to and is quite smooth in normal driving. Of course, it can be shifted manually with either the gear lever or the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. I know the 6-speed manual will/should be more fun and hopefully Hyundai provides us with one of those in the near future. But if you are commuting quite a bit, the DCT would be a pretty enticing alternative to the 6-speed.

There’s no shortage of power from the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine. Even in the Eco mode, it’s pretty easy to keep up with traffic and make highway passes. I didn’t feel any torque steer, which was a common thing in these tuned up sporty cars only a decade ago. Braking performance is also excellent thanks to the 360 mm front and 314 mm rear ventilated disc brakes. The suspension is adaptive, so you can choose between comfortable, sporty, to bone jarring sporty.

Since the Elantra N is a practical sports car, I will provide you with information on fuel economy numbers, although when you’re buying a sporty car, fuel economy is not usually one of the criteria. According to Hyundai, the Elantra N with the 6-speed manual transmission should consume 10.9/7.7/9.4 liters/100 kilometers in city/highway/combined driving. The DCT equipped Elantra N should consume 12.1/7.9/10.2 L/100 km. After a week of 85/15 city driving, with mostly sensible driving and a bit of spirited driving, the onboard computer showed 11.0 L/100 km and I was able to get 7.5 L/100 km on the highway, cruising at 100 km/hour. These are pretty good numbers for a car that can be this much fun.

2022 Hyundai Elantra N Styling

2022 Hyundai Elantra N side scaled

When I first reviewed the 7th generation Elantra, I wasn’t a fan of the exterior styling; this is a subjective matter and everyone’s taste is different. However, the styling has grown on me a bit and Elantra N actually looks quite decent. The front bumper has the same look as the Elantra N-Line I previously reviewed, but the Elantra N adds some black plastic to the left and right side of the front bumper, which kind of hides the grill, which I wasn’t a fan of when I previously reviewed the Elantra. The Elantra N also gets a subtle chin spoiler that has a red stripe, a signature of N vehicles, that continues onto the side skirts and finishes off the look on the rear bumper.

The rear features a black spoiler, that’s not too aggressive and not to subtle, it looks just right. The rear bumper has a diffuser, a triangular rear fog light, and two massive exhaust tips. The rest of the car looks the same as the non-N cars, but the Elantra N sits lower and comes with 19” alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, which gives it quite a sporty look.

Elantra N Interior

The interior is mostly the same as the Elantra N-Line we previously reviewed. The major difference is the addition of the sporty bucket seats, which are excellent at holding you in place. They look Recaro-like, but I don’t see the branding anywhere, so the seats might not be Recaro. They are quite low profile, which is great for rear passenger leg room. These seats are comfortable and use a combination of suede and leatherette material. These seats are manually adjusted for the driver and front passenger.

The gauge cluster is digital on the Elantra N, which is found on other Hyundai products. The graphics on the gauges change based on the driving modes you’re in. The Elantra N has a decent list of standard features, listed below.

  • High Beam Assist (HBA)
  • Automatic headlights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Projection headlights
  • LED Headlights & taillights
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with Pedestrian Detection
  • Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA)
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA)
  • Lane Following Assist (LFA)
  • Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)
  • Driver Attention Warning
  • High Beam Assist (HBA)
  • Safe Exit Warning (SEW)
  • Parking Distance Warning – Reverse (PDW-R)
  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) w/ Electronic Brake- force Distribution (EBD)
  • Brake Assist (BA)
  • Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)
  • Electronic Stability Control system (ESC) w/ Traction Control System (TCS)
  • 10.25″ Touch-screen navigation system with Android Auto & Apple CarPlay
  • Bose audio system with 8 speakers and external amplifier
  • USB/auxiliary connectivity
  • Bluetooth Hands-free Phone system
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Heated steering wheels
  • Driver and Passenger heated seats

Final Thoughts

I continue to be impressed with the new product Hyundai and sister company Kia have been pumping out recently. I had a blast driving around in the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N, it’s a fun little car for those looking to spice up their life (in driving terms) without sacrificing practicality. It’s great to see some carmakers are still offering sedans that are really fun to drive.

The Elantra N has some competition already and there are two brand-new competing cars coming out soon; the Honda Civic Type-R and the Toyota Corolla GR. This is great news for driving enthusiasts, as there are more options available. If you are in the market for quite a sporty sedan, the Elantra N should be at the top of your list.

For more information on the 2022 Elantra N, visit Hyundai Canada‘s website.

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Faisal

When I'm not reviewing the latest cars, I'm busy checking out the latest gadgets and watches by the world's best manufacturers. Cars, gadgets, and watches... that's all a man needs to get through life.

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