Sport, Redux: Hyundai Elantra N Line Emerges From Shadows

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
sport redux hyundai elantra n line emerges from shadows

There’s an all-new Hyundai Elantra arriving for 2021, and not a moment too soon. Your author was not a fan of the 2019 refresh, though the basic package remained as competent as before, if a little boring. And the new-generation sedan retains that basic thrift and utility, but not every Elantra driver longs for a life of numbing okay-ness.

That’s where the N Line comes in.

Replacing the previous Elantra Sport, the N-Line variant follows the same rule book as before, only this time takes its name from the division behind the hot Veloster hatch that happens to carry that magic letter. “N Line” just means an improvement over stock, with many of the go-fast exterior bits seen on a full N.

The sedan’s Elantra GT cousin received the N Line treatment for 2020.

Looking just as sharply creased as its stock sedan stable mate, the Elantra N Line dials up the meanness with a more aggressive front and rear fascia. The grille mesh changes form and dons an N Line badge in the left corner, while side scoops open up, each punctuated by three arrow-shaped fins. Hyundai claims these air intakes are inspired by motorsport. Sure, why not.

Side skirts telegraph the sedan’s sporting nature to passers-by, with the gloss black coating the side mirrors, window sill trim, and said skirts lending the model further badass-ification (but not so much that non-Honda intenders run scared). Wheels are 18 inches in diameter. Out back, twin exhaust pipes protrude from the “diffuser.” This isn’t the type of car where a prospective driver calculates pounds of downforce and coefficient of drag, and Hyundai deserves kudos for not tacking on anything taller than the subtle lip spoiler seen here, as well as going easy on the boy-racer urge.

It’s a fairly sharp-looking package meant to rival such products as the Honda Civic Si, with power to match. Hyundai didn’t reveal specs Wednesday; rather, it just really felt enthusiastic about its as spooky renderings. It’s assumed the powertrain from the Elantra Sport will carry over here, with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder making 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft, or close to it. The Civic Si boasts 205 hp and 192 lb-ft.

One hopes that the six-speed manual transmission, which disappeared from the Elantra Sport for 2020, stages a return. A seven-speed dual-clutch will otherwise be the only available gearbox.

Like its predecessor, the Elantra N Line’s job is to serve as value alternative to Japanese offerings in the same segment. We’ll know more about how well this Korean player stacks up when Hyundai gets around to debuting the model in full.

[Images: Hyundai]

Join the conversation
2 of 12 comments
  • Dougjp Dougjp on Jul 09, 2020

    Front and back look great to me, side view is a strong no. Wheels and band aid tires suggest Hyundai continues to be tone deaf about the importance of a decent ride and road noise suppression (I used to own an Elantra Sport).

  • Akear Akear on Jul 09, 2020

    This sedan makes what Detroit is producing look rather bland in comparison. I have a suggestion for GM. Instead of cancelling the Malibu why not try to make it competitive with this Elantra. The Malibu is already a pretty decent sedan. It would be wise to further upgrade the Malibu and stop wasting resources on EVs few will buy. If GM does not change its ways they will find themselves with only a 15% market share in the US.

  • SCE to AUX Toyota the follower, as usual. It will be 5 years before such a vehicle is available.I can't think of anything innovative from them since the Gen 1 Prius. Even their mythical solid state battery remains vaporware.They look like pre-2009 General Motors. They could fall hard.
  • Chris P Bacon I've always liked the looks of the Clubman, especially the original model. But like a few others here, I've had the Countryman as a rental, and for the price point, I couldn't see spending my own money on one. Maybe with a stick it would be a little more fun, but that 3 cylinder engine just couldn't provide the kick I expected.
  • EBFlex Recall number 13 for the 2020 Explorer and the 2020 MKExplorer.
  • CEastwood Every time something like this is mentioned it almost never happens because the auto maker is afraid of it taking sales away from an existing model - the Tacoma in this instance . It's why VW never brought the Scirrocco and Polo stateside fearful of losing Golf sales .
  • Bca65698966 V6 Accord owner here. The VTEC crossover is definitely a thing, especially after I got a performance tune for the car. The loss of VTEC will probably result in a slower vehicle overall for one reason: power under the curve. While the peak horsepower may remain the same, the amount of horsepower and torque up to that peak may be less overall. The beauty of variable cam lift is not only the ability to gain more power at upper rpm’s on the “big cam”, but the ability to gain torque down low on the “small cam”. Low rpm torque gets the vehicle moving and then big horsepower at upper rpm’s gains speed. Having only one cam profile is now introducing a compromise versus the VTEC setup. I guess it’s possible that with direct injection they are able to keep the low rpm torque there (I’ve read that DI helps with low rpm torque) but I’m skeptical it will match a well tuned variable lift setup.