2022 Hyundai Elantra N: The Full Hotness

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Hyundai’s performance offensive continues with the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N.

Which, yes, is available with a manual transmission.

Hyundai already offers a spiced-up Elantra N-Line (which also allows the driver to shift for his or herself), but now there’s a model for those who pick the spiciest sauce option at the chicken-wing joint.

A 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with direct injection is at the heart of it all, making up to 276 horsepower and 289 lb-ft of torque. Peak horsepower hits around 5,500 RPM, while peak torque is available as low as 2,100 RPM.

Available transmissions are a six-speed manual and an eight-speed wet, dual-clutch automatic transmission. The auto offers the “N Grin Shift” feature, which temporarily increases boost pressure, giving the car 286 horsepower for a few seconds. The automatic also gets “N Power Shift” (maximizes torque for upshifts) and “N Track Sense Shift” (automatically finds the correct gear and shift timing when the car senses it’s being driven on track) features.

Rev-matching is available with both transmissions and can be turned on/off via a steering-wheel button on the manual.

Hyundai has given the car an electronically-controlled limited-slip differential to help reduce understeer, launch control (for both transmissions), and a variable-exhaust valve system.

The car has 14.2-inch brake rotors and Hyundai has set things up to make sure they’re able to cool off easily. Purists will note that the parking brake is mechanical. handbrake turns for all?

Hyundai claims to have saved a few pounds by integrating the driveshaft and wheel hub and bearing. Another weight reduction is apparently achieved by integrating the air intake and air filter. Hyundai has also adjusted the shape of the powertrain mount in a bid to improve handling. The N has rack-mounted electronic power steering.

Insulation has been added to the stiffened electronically-controlled/dampened suspension to reduce noise, vibration, and harshness. A virtual engine-sound system is available. The car rides on Michelin Pilot Sport tires (245 width) and 19-inch wheels.

As with the Kona N, there’s an N-specific infotainment screen that gives the driver all sorts of performance info, and drive modes can adjust things like steering feel.

The car gets a body kit that includes a unique front fascia, lip spoiler, rear-wing spoiler, rear diffuser, and dual exhaust.

Inside, you’ll get a lot of N badges, paddle shifters for the automatic, sport seats that are lower and thinner, and steering-wheel buttons for the N modes (including Sport, Sport +, and N mode) and for the N Grin Shift (for automatics).

Safety and driver’s aids aren’t forgotten, as the Elantra N includes forward collision-avoidance assist, lane-keeping assist, lane-following assist, driver-attention warning, high-beam assist, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance alert, and safe-exit warning.

Hyundai’s BlueLink connected-car application is available.

Feature-wise, everything is standard, meaning your only choice is transmission and color. Those colors include Performance Blue and Cyber Gray. Those standard features include LED lighting, wireless device charging, heated front seats, Bose audio, navigation, Bluetooth, satellite radio, 10.25-inch infotainment screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, dual USB ports, dual-zone climate control, digital key, keyless entry and starting, and hand-free trunk release.

Pricing hasn’t been released, but Hyundai says it will undercut the Honda Civic Type R, which it sees as a rival. Speaking of rivals, Hyundai has also targeted the Volkswagen GTI and GLI, and the redesigned Subaru WRX, even though that car is all-wheel drive and the Elantra N is front-drive.

As always, we can’t fully judge a car until we drive it, but based on the paper specs, we’ll happily choose the full-spice option.

[Images: Hyundai]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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4 of 25 comments
  • Imagefont Imagefont on Aug 19, 2021

    That blacked out front end just doesn’t work. It looks like the front clip was ripped off in an accident and the driver just kept on going. Hyundai will fix it, and the fix will look worse.

    • See 1 previous
    • Flipper35 Flipper35 on Aug 20, 2021

      I would have to either order it in black or buy gloss white vinyl to wrap the front end to match properly.

  • Nrd515 Nrd515 on Aug 21, 2021

    This car fails, looks wise, that front end is a mess. But I'm old, so maybe younger people will like it. A little body color in the right areas would help a lot.

  • Pig_Iron 💝
  • Geozinger Put in the veggie garden (Western Michigan, we still can get frost this late in the year) finished the remainder of the landscaping updates and hand washed both my beater Pontiac and the Town and Country! Going to the beach today...
  • Rochester I wouldn't obsess over the rate of change, it's happening whether we want it or not.
  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.