Increases the Fun Factor Without Being any Less Relaxing to Drive
When we recently tested the all-new 7th generation Hyundai Elantra, we said it delivered exactly what compact cars are supposed to deliver. Well, if you’re looking for something a little more eye-catching, they’ve got you covered there, too, with a new Elantra N Line.
By now, you’ve probably heard all about Hyundai’s N performance division, launched here in the U.S. with 2019’s Veloster N hatchback. The Kona utility and Elantra sedan are next in line to get the high-performance treatment, and we’ll have full tests of those very soon. But first, just to whet your appetite, is this 2021 Elantra N Line.
Now, to ensure we’re all on the same page; if there’s just an N following the name, it’s the full high-performance version; while N Line vehicles merely take inspiration from the N division. Meaning it gets a much milder upgrade in performance, yet looks a whole lot sportier than the standard Elantra; very similar in specs to last generation’s Elantra Sport.
The N Line treatment features an upgraded cascading grille in a unique front fascia. There are black sill extensions down the sides, as well as an updated rear with chrome exhaust tips integrated into a new diffuser, with a deck-lid spoiler up top.
Window trim is blacked out, a sunroof is standard, there are upgraded head and LED tail lights, and, of course, new wheels; 18’s with all season tires if you get the 7-speed DCT, while summer tires come with the manual. Yes, you can get a 6-speed manual transmission.
Either transmission is attached to a 1.6-liter turbocharged I4 engine with 201-horsepower and 195 lb-ft. of torque. While that’s far from an extreme amount of power, it’s 54 HP more than the standard Elantra and increases the fun factor without being any less relaxing to drive.
Inside, you’ll grip a perforated leather sport steering wheel, sit in N Line sport seats with leather bolsters, get information from a unique N Line gauge cluster, and have plenty of red stitching and metal trim to look at.
Fortunately, there are chassis upgrades too: stiffer engine mounts, firmer springs, thicker stabilizer bars, new shocks, quicker steering ratio, and 1-inch larger brake rotors up front. And finally, N Line drops the standard Elantra’s torsion beam rear axle suspension for a multi-link independent setup.
Something we couldn’t wait to experience at our alternate headquarters at Mason Dixon Dragway.
Through the cones, it was very quick to respond; whipping in and out with ease, and providing great feedback through the wheel. Also, well-composed with very little body roll. We had to push quite hard to find some understeer; and once found, it was easy to modulate.
Both the clutch and the gas pedal are a little soft and vague, making launches a little more difficult than they need to be; but, as the tach needle sweeps past 4,000 rpm, power pours on quite effectively, taking us to 60 in 7.1–seconds. That’s more than a second quicker than the standard Elantra with the naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter. The manual shifter is easy to work; and we shifted our way to a 15.3–second ¼-mile at 90 miles-per-hour.
The upgraded brakes felt great; good firmness to the pedal, appreciable feedback, and fade-free consistent stops from 60 of only 101–feet.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings with the manual are 25-City, 34-Highway, and 28-Combined. We averaged an acceptable 26.8 miles-per-gallon of Regular. That’s slightly better than average for the Energy Impact Score; 11.8-barrels of oil consumed and 5.3-tons of CO2 emitted annually.
The N Line slots just below top Limited trim in the Elantra hierarchy, starting at $25,105 for the manual transmission, $26,205 for the DCT.
Tweener models are all about compromise and that’s not always a bad thing. Not everyone wants to drive a track-ready, stiff-clutched temperamental high-performance hot rod on the street every day; but most, if not all of us, appreciate the integration of a little more performance into our daily drives without sacrificing livability. The 2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line hits that sweet spot just right.
Engine: 1.6L Turbo I4
Torque: 195 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 7.1 seconds
1/4 Mile: 15.3 seconds at 90 mph
60-0 Stopping Distance: 101 feet
EPA: 25 City / 34 Highway / 28 Combined
Starting Price: $25,105