Disguised as a compact econo sedan appealing to shoppers looking to squeeze every possible mile out of every drop of fuel, the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N is a performance beast offering a driving experience commonly limited to performance makes bearing luxury labels.
New for this year, the N version of the Elantra, which earned top honors as 2021 North American Car of the Year in its traditional mild-mannered form, sits at the top of the food chain in the South Korean’s compact sedan portfolio.
Instead of a 147-horsepower 4-banger mated to a CVT or gas-electric hybrid drivetrain, however, the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that sends 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque to its front wheels. Various reports give it a zero-to-60 mph clocking of around 5 seconds, which is at least 3 seconds quicker than a standard Elantra.
Want a shot of more power? Click on the red button below the steering wheel crossbar marked NGS. It stands for “N Grin Shift” and works sort of like the “push-to-pass” in today’s Indy cars, giving the Elantra N a 20-second boost of 10 horsepower, not to mention a quick sound blast out the dual large-bore exhaust pipes.
Of course, you are not going to get the low fuel mileage figures you see with the lower Elantra trims, but the N’s numbers of 20 miles-per-gallon city, 30-highway, and 23 combined with the automatic are not outrageously thirsty considering what you get in the way of performance. The downside is that premium fuel is recommended for the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N.
The 2022 Hyundai Elantra N comes with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard and an 8-speed dual clutch automatic is available for an extra $1,500. Starting MSRP for manual models is $32,150 and for the automatic $33,650.
That is a pretty good premium over the over the traditional Elantra, which starts in the lower $20,000 range, but the good thing is that the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N comes with such a long list of standard features little has to be added on to enjoy all it has to offer.
Among standard features in the roomy cabin (42 inches of legroom up front, 38 in the rear) are a navigation system with a 10.25-inch display screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, Bose premium sound, dual automatic climate control, heated front sport bucket seats with leather trim and suede inserts and N markings, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, voice recognition, and a wireless charging pad.
Safety systems on the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N include Forward Collision Avoidance with Pedestrian Detection, Blind-Spot Warning, Lane-Keepimg assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, and Safe Exit and Driver Alert warnings.
Parking Distance Warning and Hyundai’s Blue Link Connected Car Services also are included. LED headlights, fog slights, and tail lamps. and rear-wing spoiler also are standard. A power tilt-and-slide sunroof comes with models with the automatic transmission. (I’ll catch my breath now.)
The freight charge is $1,095, which means you have a very good chance of getting out of the showroom for under $35,000.
An alert is called for here. The 2022 Hyundai 2022 Elantra N is not to be confused with the N Line model Hyundai added to the Elantra lineup for 2021. The 2022 Elantra N Line is a very solid alternative if the N’s $30,000-plus price tag scares you off.
But if you are averse to compromises, the Elantra N is the way to go.
What I liked about the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N: The throttle response is breathtaking and fuel mileage won’t set records but is still pretty good considering what you get in the way of performance. The handling is crisp. Even when pushed, cornering is very steady.with little body roll. Infotainment features are plentiful and very user-friendly. The roomy restyled cabin is very comfortable, though those with tender ears may not fully appreciate the full-throated dual exhaust. Trunk space is good for its class. The exterior gets distinctive styling touches like a red underline around the body and snazzy wheels that give it a sportier look than your average Elantra.
What I didn’t like about the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N: Whatever you do, don’t drop your key fob between the front seat and the center console. It takes someone with long, very skinny fingers to retrieve it, assuming you can even see where it has wound up. The only issue I have with the tech features is that there is no knob to turn to surf the radio dial. You have to push and hold arrow buttons to change stations.
Would I buy the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N? Yes. Stylish looks, lots of standard features, and great performance all combine a very attractive package.
*Photos furnished by Hyundai