2024 Hyundai Elantra N Review – Tightening Up

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Perhaps the 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N we featured isn’t your speed. Too tall, too expensive, too electric. Give me an old-school small sports sedan, you say. Give me internal-combustion and real exhaust noise and a trunk – hatchbacks have too much utility for me!

Oh, and maybe you’re one of those weirdoes who wants to shift their own gears, too, using three pedals. No paddles for you! Well, the 2024 Hyundai Elantra N satisfies all those requirements, and if you don’t want an automatic transmission, you don’t have to have one.

What’s that you say? You know about the Elantra N? It’s not new, you howl. Well, that’s true – it’s mostly the same car that launched a couple of years ago. But there are minor changes, and some of them seem to address the complaints I leveled at launch.

(Full disclosure: Hyundai flew me to Monterey/Carmel, California and fed and housed me for two nights. The company left us a tire inflator that I took home and a hat that I did not. I did take a notebook and pen, too.)

We were ostensibly in Northern California to drive the Ioniq 5 N, but Hyundai carved a little time for us to drive the Elantra N on the street, as well as six passes – three with each transmission – on an autocross course. Sadly, while we were at Laguna Seca, we were only able to track the Ioniq 5 N. Too bad, because the Elantra N would likely be fun on track.

The changes are minor for 2024. They start with a reinforced engine-mount membrane – this is done to reduce vibration and improve power delivery and shifting performance for both the available six-speed manual and dual-clutch, eight-speed automatic transmission. Next up, a reinforced G-bushing is meant to improve yaw response at corner turn-in, along with steering precision. It also is meant to make trail-in while cornering more consistent.

Next is a new rear-suspension S/ABS insulator that goes from rubber to urethane. This is meant to improve rear damping. The electronically-controlled suspension gets software updates to match the mechanical changes with the goal of improving both on-track and on-road performance.

The 19-inch wheels are now a lighter weight forged alloy that reduce unsprung weight, while the steering system gets a universal steering joint that should reduce friction along with software updates. Again, the software update are meant to match the mechanical changes and also make the steering feel more precise.

Finally, the front bumper and air guard are changed to make the cooling system more efficient while also directing airflow over the brakes so that the binders can stay cooler by improving heat dissipation.

That’s a lot of small, minor changes that are too technical for the average buyer to care about, but in theory, the car should ride and handle a bit better and be more resistant to brake fade.

The styling is tweaked, too, with a new front fascia and grille, new LED headlights, and a redesigned rear bumper fascia and diffuser. Those 19-inch wheels are shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer rubber.

I don’t know if my rear end is finely tuned enough to really notice the changes – I’d probably need to drive the new and outgoing model back-to-back to get a sense of any differences in terms of dynamics. That said, the N did feel a little more buttoned-down and slightly less high-strung during my street drive. The steering also felt a bit more precise and natural compared to what I recall from spring 2022.

I was assigned a DCT for my run over the mountain and back, and while I’d prefer the stick, the automatic is well-tuned for this duty. My biggest beef was noise – while loud exhaust noise is baked in (and reduces a bit when the car isn’t in a performance drive mode) – the sounds coming out of the rear intrude on conversation. That’s not appropriate at the end of a nice dinner, and it’s similarly annoying here when you’re dealing with traffic. Unless you’re pushing the car – in which case the noise is welcome – you might find it tiresome.

The manual shifted crisply on the autocross, and the clutch is nice and heavy with easy take up. The automatic may be very good, but I’d recommend the stick.

Acceleration is still swift – the carryover 2.0-liter turbo four (276 horsepower/289 lb-ft) remains well-suited to sporty driving.

Available comfort and convenience features include LED in the rear as well as the front, a rear spoiler, seats that have leather trim and microsuede inserts, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and starting, Bluetooth, wireless cell-phone charging, dual USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, Bose audio, digital key, and satellite radio.

Safety systems include forward collision-avoidance assist, blind-spot collision warning, lane-keeping assist and lane-following assist, front and rear park distance warning, and rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist.

The Elantra N still occupies a weird spot when it comes to on-street tuning and NVH. It’s less boy-racer than the Honda Civic Type R and slightly more civilized than the Subaru WRX but not as commuter-friendly as the Volkswagen Jetta GLI or Acura Integra A-Spec. It would be on my shopping list – especially since the price tag is pretty nice at $33,700 (plus $1,150 for D and D) for the manual and $35,200 plus destination for the DCT.

Fuel economy is listed at 20/27/23 for the auto and 21/29/24 for the stick.

At the very least, the Elantra N continues to hold its own in the compact performance sedan segment. Personal preference and price may be a bigger purchase driver than performance numbers, and if so, the Elantra N deserves a look. Whether it finds a home in your driveway may come down to how genteel you want your ride to be when not being driven hard.

Last time around, I thought the N was quite good but a bit too loud on the street and a bit too divisive in terms of styling. Now it looks a little more attractive and it’s still loud on the street, though perhaps a bit sharper in terms of dynamics.

It’s still competitive with the rest of the segment, and it’s mildly improved. Sometimes, incremental improvement is just enough.

[Images © 2024 Tim Healey/TTAC.com, Hyundai]

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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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3 of 33 comments
  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Apr 18, 2024

    I see velour and pleather seats are back in style.

  • Geozinger Geozinger on Apr 21, 2024

    Up until recently this was on my short list of cars to replace my old car. However, it didn't pass the "knee test" with my wife as her bad knee makes it difficult for her to get in and out of a sedan. I saw a number of videos about the car and it seems like the real deal as a sporting sedan. In addition I like the low price, too, but it was bad luck/timing that we didn't get to pull the trigger on this one.

  • Ron Hartikka the total time for someone charging in this manner would be 11.5 hours from empty to full….wrong, I think, by just being about a factor of 10. At 110V outlet I charge my SV at 2 mph. The range is 212 miles. 212/2=106 hours. Yes it takes 4 days. but it works for me and I love the car which is a 2019
  • Kosmo Anybody else remember that in the very early years of the Leaf that you could lease one for $99 a month?
  • Vatchy I am not anti-EV for everybody - just me. The don't currently meet my needs. Maybe when I'm old and don't go any farther than the nearest grocery store or pharmacy then it will meet my needs.
  • Theflyersfan As a designer, Fisker knows his stuff. The Z8 is still sculpture on wheels. And this Revero is a nice looking car. As an auto company...not so well. Now after this company folds, if Tesla wants to bring him on to redesign the Model S, huge hit in the making.
  • Redapple2  the total time for someone charging in this manner would be 11.5 hours from empty to full................ I get home from work at 6pm. leave at 7 am. So..............