Tuesday, January 31, 2023
First Reviews 2022 Hyundai Elantra N: Popiddy, Pop, Pop, Pop!

2022 Hyundai Elantra N: Popiddy, Pop, Pop, Pop!

Electronically controlled limited-slip differential, lightweight bucket seats, adaptive damping and launch control isn’t the lingo we typically associate with a Hyundai Elantra. The N is the most potent model in the Elantra bloodline and is the one where Hyundai went “all out.”

Before we begin, if you’re wondering what N stands for. It stands for Namyang, and Nürburgring. The former is the city that houses Hyundai’s R&D centre and the latter is, as you probably know, the race track known as the “Green Hell” where N models are tested.

Our Hyundai Elantra N test-drive took us to the heart of the Californian wine country in Sonoma, where the twisty, 4-kilometre Sonoma road course awaited us with its technical corners and altitude changes so we could give this traditionally inconspicuous sedan a run for its money.

Competition Inspired, Inside and Out

2022 Hyundai Elantra N | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

Outside, the Elantra N is available in a choice of six colours. It features numerous red accents scattered all over the body, with N-badged ground effects, a black grille and a spoiler. Inside, the first element that stands out right away is the standard lightweight bucket seats with illuminated N badge – which are impressively comfortable and supportive. Aluminum trim can be found at key places like the door sills, as well as on the sport pedals.

The fully digital instrument cluster is virtually the same as you will find in other newer Hyundai products like the Tucson and the Santa Cruz, but it adds specific graphics in N mode. The infotainment system houses the typical Hyundai apps and features, but adds various menus like an easy pick-and-choose Custom mode and lap timer.

All in all, the displays are easy to reach and intuitive, but are also supported by a series of analogue buttons and commands under the infotainment screen for easier access.

Top Shelf Mechanical Components, Trick Exhaust

2022 Hyundai Elantra N | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

First off, the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N is powered by a four-cylinder, 2.0-litre turbocharged unit that develops 276 horsepower and 289 lb-ft of torque. Its efforts are exclusively delivered to the front wheels, and the Elantra N can be fitted with either an 8-speed DSG, wet-clutched automatic or a good old 6-speed manual gearbox.

The engine is also fitted with an “Emotional” exhaust which can produce the “Pop, Pop, Pop” sound. It basically works by encouraging the post-combustion of gasses when they are coming out of the turbocharger. Admittedly, it adds to the emotional experience at the wheel, but your neighbours might call the police on you. Thankfully for them, it only works in Sport + mode.

Compared to the “normal” Elantra, this N has received quite the technical upgrade in terms of chassis components. Look into the trunk of this N-badged Hyundai and you’ll notice a red-painted reinforcement bar mounted. An electronically controlled limited-slip differential as well as adaptive dampers equipped with a solenoid valve link this Elantra to the road and can tweak the ride according to the selected driving mode.

Unshakeable Driving Character

2022 Hyundai Elantra N | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

When accelerating from a full stop and venturing down the straight, the Elantra N’s turbocharged system show minimal lag, thus delivering the power in an immediate fashion. The straight portions of the track are also great places to push the N Grin Shift (NGS) button on the Elantra equipped with the 8-speed tranny. It increases the power to 286 horsepower for 20 seconds by optimizing transmission and turbocharger calibration.

This transmission is fast and furious in its gear shifts, and is usable through the steering-mounted paddles. On the other hand, purists will love the slower, yet more flexible 6-speed manual gearbox which is mounted to a short throw shifter.

As you’re rapidly approaching the end of the straight and firmly plowing your foot into the brake pedal, you realize you probably acted too soon as the hydraulic system already prefilled itself when you lifted off the accelerator to pinch the ventilated brake discs (360 millimetres at the front and 314 at the rear) and give you that extra edge. These brakes are hidden by N-specific 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Sport tires.

Enter the corner and the electronically controlled limited slip differential along with the adaptive suspension work in unison to reduce any roll effect and follow the precise steering’s instructions.

Let’s go around again, but this time, faster!

For those who don’t plan on hitting the track, the Elantra N’s character slips out and the road and the ride might feel a little enthusiastic for some. But the dampers in normal mode do a good job at mitigating rough pavement in day-to-day driving.

Having driven the Veloster N on a few occasions prior to this review, we had a feeling (along with a few expectations) that the Elantra bearing the same letter wouldn’t be just smoke and mirrors. It doesn’t emulate the unique German sports sedan experience; it has its own character, imperfections and strengths. But it is a great exhibit of Hyundai’s commitment to delivering fun to drive cars. The 2022 Hyundai Elantra N will be available in dealerships as of January in one, all-dressed variant. Pricing will be revealed closer to this date.

2022 Hyundai Elantra N | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

2022 Hyundai Elantra N | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

2022 Hyundai Elantra N | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

2022 Hyundai Elantra N | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

2022 Hyundai Elantra N | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

2022 Hyundai Elantra N | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

2022 Hyundai Elantra N | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

2022 Hyundai Elantra N | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

2022 Hyundai Elantra N | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

2022 Hyundai Elantra N | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

2022 Hyundai Elantra N | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

2022 Hyundai Elantra N | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

2022 Hyundai Elantra N | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

2022 Hyundai Elantra N | Photo: Louis-Philippe Dube

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Louis-Philippe Dubé
Louis-Philippe Dubé has been contributing at MotorIllustrated.com for over a year, and for the NetMedia360 network for nearly three years now. His passion for everything automotive comes from a career as a mechanic, but also from the family vehicle collection that includes a 996 Porsche Turbo and a 2004 Ford GT. We've been bugging him to drive the GT, but he hasn't responded. Send L-P an email

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