Hyundai Elantra N: An (Almost) Very Good Car

May 19th, 2023 at 3:36pm


I like small, fast, nimble, affordable cars. Always have. They suit my driving tastes and needs. So I really looked forward to test driving the Hyundai Elantra N. And I found it rewarding—for the most part.

If you’re not familiar with the Elantra N, it’s essentially an Elantra with some really good bits bolted onto it, like a chassis brace that’s located behind the rear seat. And just so you (and the friends you point it out to) can’t miss it, it’s painted bright red.

The springs and shocks are stiffer, the steering gear is pretty quick, and the brakes respond sharply. It rides on 19” Michelin Sport Cup 4S summer tires mounted on 8” wide wheels.


There’s also a number of aero bits attached around the car, including a splitter up front and rocker extensions along the sides, accented in red so that everyone notices them. A black wing on the trunk complements the package.

Inside you get noticeably bolstered seats, a thick grip steering wheel and some fun switches, buttons and paddles to play around with. You can pick different driving modes, including a launch mode, and there’s a limited slip differential that’s electronically controlled to help turn the car through corners quicker.


It’s all powered by a 2-liter turbo four with 276 horsepower and 289 foot pounds of torque with all that power going through an 8-speed DCT.

That’s a good amount of power and this is a fun car to drive. It’s responsive, corners hard and stops fast. At light throttle the exhaust note is throaty but understated. Punch it and it responds with a raspy growl. But I found the sound to be more braaatttty than I prefer.


I also don’t like the look of the front end. Hyundai chose a garish, jagged blackout scheme for the front fascia that wraps around to the front fenders. The test car I drove was painted a powder blue and that raccoon mask up front was a jarring contrast that almost everyone seems to find off-putting. A black or dark colored car will probably hide that, which is good, because the rest of the car has some nice sharp angles to it.

The current price of the N is $35,515 including destination charges. I think most enthusiasts looking for a daily runner that they can autocross on the weekends will find this to be an affordable car that slakes their need for speed.

–John McElroy

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One Comment to “Hyundai Elantra N: An (Almost) Very Good Car”

  1. Gary Seguin Says:

    A replacement for the Fiesta ST? 35% more expensive, no clutch, not as tossable. Oh, for the old days.

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