Sunday, June 26, 2022
Reviews 2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line Review: Do Not Underestimate it

2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line Review: Do Not Underestimate it

I was too quick to misjudge the Hyundai Elantra N Line – it’s really good fun.

  • The base price in Canada for the 2021 Hyundai Elantra is $17,899, $19,850 in the US.

  • The Elantra N Line is $27,799 in Canada.

  • The full-fat Elantra is a serious 276-horsepower hot compact car.

I should have known better. I’ve driven the Veloster N and the Sonata N Line, both of which turned out to be truly engrossing. For some reason, I figured that the 2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line was going to be nothing more than distracting, but it turns out that it’s an addictively good sporty car.

2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Why did I think the Elantra N Line was only going to be OK? The main culprit, I think, is the turbocharged 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine. This same mill finds its way in nearly all of Hyundai’s vehicles and though it’s very capable, it never struck as being potent enough for real speed and performance. I was wrong.

N Line turbo and DCT combo

The 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque, from 1,500-4,500 rpm, get the 3,000-lb car up to speed with far more vigor than the output numbers suggest. From the seat-of-my-pants meter, the Elantra N Line feels as quick as the MK7 Volkswagen Golf GTI and its 228 horsepower 2.0T. Part of the butt-meter’s reading can be attributed to the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission – It does its job with a complete disregard for its longevity. In other words, it shifts with precision and speeds that rival all other DCT transmissions. It can also be smooth while cruising.

2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

And cruising I did as I traveled from Montreal to Toronto with the 2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of driving on the 401 between Kingston and Toronto, you’ll undoubtedly remember the left-lane hoggers and the countless 18-wheelers going about their business of passing one another at 103 km/h. In these scenarios, let’s just say that I rarely missed an opportunity to distance myself from these nettlesome situations.

The Elantra N Line’s responsive controls practically egged me on, almost encouraging me to drive like 22-year Matt. The 1.6T’s wide powerband, beautifully managed by the 7DCT, made passing manoeuvres a breeze. Supported by a properly- and sport-tuned chassis, the Elantra handled itself admirably well.

2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

One issue I’ve had with many Hyundai cars in the past was steering. Previously, on-center-play with an assistance gap haunted me and marred the driving experience. But not so with the Elantra N Line. In fact, it was potentially the best-steering Hyundai, including the Genesis Coupe, I’ve ever driven.

Overall refinement is limited with the 2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line. That’s part of its personality but ultimately, it’s not necessary. At average highway and byway speeds, even as low as 70 km/h, the cabin is quite noisy. Tire, wind, and road noises penetrate into the cabin making it challenging to complete hands-free phone calls. That’s 45-year-old me talking. 25-year-old doesn’t give a damn.

Same attractive cabin but needs better seats

2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The N Line’s cabin is 95% identical to the regular Elantra’s. the main differences are the N Line Sport seats which cruelly lack lumbar support, the N Line steering wheel, and aluminium sport pedals. Other than lower-back discomfort, the front perches are supportive and firm for both track use and road trips.

The level of included infotainment technologies is impressive. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are featured however the system dropped my phone repeatedly during my near 12-hour drive. Otherwise. The roomy interior and spacious trunk mean that there’s always room for friends and plenty of gear.

Busy Parametric Dynamics design

2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

I bring it up every time and, to a point, I’ve been vindicated. I’ve complained for years now that Hyundai goes far too far out of its way to redesign every new generation of a given product. It appears as though they overshot with the current Sonata as they will completely redesign the car well ahead of schedule.

The Elantra is only a notch less over-the-top. And while the design was slightly offensive when I first came into contact with the Elantra, it has already become such a common sight that it’s all but invisible now. Even so, there are elements about the N Line that properly differentiate it from the other Elantras.

2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The N Line’s front fascia is more aggressive with extra visual bite especially in the lower extremities, it rolls on unique 18-inch wheels, and as we move to the back, the black lip spoiler and dual exhaust tips become apparent. Subtle though these touches may be, they are fitting.

The N Line stacks up nicely

The new 2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line is priced at $27,799. As tested, the Fiery Red paint scheme added all of $200 to the total. At this price, it undercuts the new 2022 Volkswagen GTI by roughly $3,500, and, looking back to 2020 and the Honda Civic Si, the Elantra is about $2,500 less expensive. The 2021 Subaru WRX is another serious contender that is more powerful and benefits from AWD for $29,995.

2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

In fact, most of its competition comes from within the Hyundai Group from the likes of the Kia Forte GT, the Kona N Line, to name a pair. Truth be told, and unsurprisingly, the Elantra N Line is a bargain. But is it better?

I’ve unfortunately not driven the new MK8 GTI but I’m certain that the price difference will easily be excused by the extra power, better on-road manners, more refinement, and comfort without sacrificing any performance. I will say that I would select an Elantra N Line over a 10th generation Civic Si.

Bottom line: I really like the Elantra N Line.

2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Trending Now

Hyundai and Michelin to Develop Tires for Premium EVs

The goal is to create more eco-friendly tires. And importantly, without compromising performance. Emissions emanating from tires have made headlines on a few occasions...

Production of the GMC Hummer EV will be Suspended to Prepare the Factory for New Models

The Hummer EV is made at the factory Zero in Michigan The Chevrolet Silverado EV and the GMC Sierra Denali EV will also...

Images of the Upcoming Toyota Crown Have Been Leaked

This sedan-like SUV could replace the Avalon in North America It could offer hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains The images show a resemblance...

FedEx Received Their First 150 BrightDrop Zevo 600 Vans from GM

BrightDrop is a new company set up by General Motors to build electric delivery vans FedEx is the first customer, with an order...

The First Ever BMW M3 Competition Touring

It’s finally real! It will only be offered in maximum firepower Competition xDrive guise. The M3 Touring is a 503-horsepower family hauler. It’s like...
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.