Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2022 nominee


With the Elantra N, Hyundai has turned a boring compact sedan into one of the best values for enthusiasts.

The Hyundai Elantra N was barely a blip on our radar until late in the year when West Coast Editor Brian Wong drove it and insisted it should be part of the bumper crop of nominees for Motor Authority‘s Best Car To Buy 2022 award. Wong was floored at the value proposition the Elantra N presented for $32,925.

Multiple team members juggled schedules and worked with Hyundai to get behind the wheel of the Elantra N to see if Wong was right. We confirmed that the Elantra N is indeed a hoot to drive. Senior Editor Kirk Bell stepped out of the sport sedan and said, “Thank God for Albert Biermann,” in reference to Hyundai’s President and Head of the R&D Division, who is responsible for injecting fun into the N sub-brand.

2022 Hyundai Elantra N

2022 Hyundai Elantra N

The 2.0-liter turbo-4 under the Elantra N’s hood produces 276 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque, which flows to the front wheels through either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. If this all sounds familiar it’s because it’s right out of the Veloster N’s parts bin. The 6-speed manual is the enthusiast’s choice because we all love to #GiveAShift, but the quick-shifting 8-speed is best for fast lap times. Cars with the automatic also get an overboost function activated by the NGS button––which stands for N Grin Shift––that ups engine output to 286 hp and shortens shift times for 20 seconds (after which the system needs 40 seconds to cool down). The 5.0-second 0-60 mph time can’t match V-8s or powerful EVs, but getting there is the fun.

2022 Hyundai Elantra N

2022 Hyundai Elantra N

The economy car K3 chassis adds a cross beam behind the rear seat to improve body stiffness. The suspension features adjustable dampers with three settings that we’d call stiff, stiffer, and stiffest. We haven’t driven the Elantra N on broken Midwest pavement, and we are concerned about how tolerable this suspension will be outside smooth West Coast roads.

2022 Hyundai Elantra N

2022 Hyundai Elantra N

2022 Hyundai Elantra N

2022 Hyundai Elantra N

Hyundai makes the N’s body look sinister with side skirts, a rear wing that traces the contour of the trunk, a wide blackened face with additional cooling, and red accents. It’s an eyeful from the front, but it hints at the experience behind the wheel.

Inside, low-set sport bucket seats and dual 10.3-inch screens dress up the economy car cabin, but budget plastics still show signs of cost-cutting.

Can cheap speed win the day? Does an economy car with a pocket rocket’s powertrain and a chassis tuned for engagement have what it takes to best high-dollar, high-horsepower sport sedans and a new breed of super EVs? Will the Hyundai Elantra N be named as Motor Authority‘s Best Car To Buy 2022? Check back on Jan. 3 when we reveal the winner, along with the champs from our sister sites, The Car Connection, and Green Car Reports.



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