The U.S. version of the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N was originally supposed to make its debut at the 2021 New York Auto Show but the rapidly rising threat of the Delta variant of COVID-19 forced show organizers to cancel the event. Hyundai had a plan B and took to the internet to formally unveil the newest member of the growing N brand family which aims to potentially dethrone the Honda Civic Si and other compact performance entries.
Elantra N A Sharper Instrument Of Sportiness
The standard Elantra is already a very sporty compact sedan with the recent revamp it received helping it establish firmer ties with the bigger Sonata sedan. When it came to the task of designing the N version of the Elantra, Hyundai stylists focused on enhancing some of the elements of this already highly desirable package. The front fascia for example is supposed to be inspired by the battle-ready appearance of a drivers racing helmet with the piece being slathered in dark black. The N exclusive red strip that we have seen in other N models makes its appearance here again with the strip moving from the front fascia all the way to the side valence.
The rear fascia features a large rear diffuser that not only helps channel air out from under the car but also enhances its styling profile too. A trunk-mounted rear spoiler is also added into the mix with Hyundai claiming it helps push the rear of the car down during spirited driving with the whole look being rounded out by a dual single tipped exhaust. While we’ll have to wait for the next-gen Civic Si to appear to see how the two fare in a beauty contest, the Elantra is noticeably more youth-oriented than the Jetta GLI which prefers restraint and maturity over outright brashness in its lines.
Familiar Cues Define Elantra N Interior
If you spent time behind the wheel of a Veloster N, chances are that you will be right at home in the Elantra N. The interior follows the script when it comes to the N brand with the steering wheel being replaced with a tiller that’s more inviting to the hands. Buyers can choose from either a six-speed manual transmission or an optional eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. The choice of transmission plays a role in what goes on with the steering wheel, with DCT models being equipped with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Other goodies include metal pedals, lightweight N sport seats with N illuminated logo in the backrest, and a slightly lowered driving position for improved high-speed control. The steering wheel also houses two blue-hued controls, one activates N mode while the second one controls the NGS system. NGS (N-Grin Shift) serves as the hub where drivers can customize various aspects of the car including the suspension, and other parameters. We had plenty of praise for the standard Elantra’s interior so look for the N version to enhance many of our favorite things while also adding some new things to spice up the driving experience.
Spunky Turbocharged Four-Cylinder Carries On Family Legacy
Performance for the 2022 Elantra N comes from a spirited 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that also sees duty in the Kona and Veloster N models. In the Elantra, it makes 276 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque. Hyundai claims that the engine can also briefly engage over-boost (a feature that we have seen on other N models) when NGS is in play which temporarily pushes power up to 288 hp and is supposed to enhance off the line acceleration.
Hyundai also improved the Elantra’s handling manners with the Elantra N being the first N model to make use of an all-new technology called the Integrated Drive Axle (IDA) which is derived from similar technology that’s already in use on the brand’s rally cars. As the full name implies, IDA integrates the driveshaft, wheel bearing and hub into one unit which helps cut a few lbs of flab from the car and also improves durability. As a bonus, IDA helps enhance handling when the car is thrown into sharp corners. The suspension also benefits from a dual compound front insulator which works with other bushings and components to improve ride quality and NVH figures.
But what if you’re a buyer that looks at the stock exhaust note and thinks it could be better? Hyundai has thought of that and has used the Elantra N to debut a second new add-on called the N Sound Equalizer. Fancy title aside, the system does what a few others of its kin do in other models and helps pump fake exhaust noise into the cabin through the speakers. However, the system here actually allows drivers to adjust each individual sound (exhaust whine, etc) and can even change it to sound like a TCR rally car.
When Can I Buy A 2022 Elantra N?
Hyundai did not reveal official pricing or exact availability figures for the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N, but look for the model to possibly make its way to Hyundai showrooms in early 2022. Look for pricing to follow roughly the same script as the 2022 Veloster N with pricing for that model starting at $32,500. If the Elantra N follows this path, the sedan would be in the crosshairs of some of the best in the segment. It will be interesting to see how Hyundai will help reduce the risk of the Kona N cannibalizing sales from the Elantra, but reps that we spoke with seem very confident that this will not be an issue.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.