It’s not often that you get the chance to drive a pre-production car in full camouflage down Sunset Boulevard. However, that’s exactly what I did with this pre-production model. This is the all-new 2021 Hyundai Elantra N. Under the hood lies 276 horsepower and 289lb-ft of torque, from a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.
The Elantra uses a similar power plant to Hyundai’s Veloster N. However, in the new Elantra it makes 1 extra horsepower and 29 extra torques. Both a six-speed manual and an 8-speed DCT are available. If you option the DCT, you also get a sunroof and an electronic parking brake.
The Elantra N has a special active exhaust which, when activated, gives the car a mean streak. In the open setting, loud pops and bangs accompany its low baritone growl. On-board computers are responsible for both the suspension and the limited-slip differential as well. Out front the Elantra N uses larger 13.6″ front brake rotors and 12.4″ brakes in the rear.
The prototype’s interior features blue stitching and blue seatbelts rather than the red accents used on the lesser Elantra N Line. The gauge cluster is upgraded to a digital screen like the highest end Elantra models, and the steering wheel features a couple of additional buttons.
First and foremost, you have a drive mode switch, which allows you to adjust the Elantra N’s throttle response and overall attitude. To the right sits a red button which toggles the active rev matching on the manual models. Above the rev matching button is a switch for your active exhaust.
The interior of the Elantra N Line shares most of its materials and features with the rest of the lineup. However, Hyundai included many of the best components from each Elantra, making the car altogether more appealing. The driver’s seat moves back automatically when you exit, and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are always welcome features.
Though none of these are groundbreaking features, it is a step towards a more premium vehicle. The higher power figure also helps in that area. 276 horsepower is a potent figure for such a small car, and a lot of fun to drive. The six-speed manual is easy to learn, and the steering is precise, though not the most communicative.
The Elantra N’s handling is firm, with minimal body roll. To sum it up in two simple words, the car as a whole is confidence inspiring. Whether you’re just learning manual, or its your only mode of transport, you will feel right at home with the Elantra N’s manual transmission.
The biggest drawback by far is the ride comfort. If you live near a lot of bumpy roads, this won’t be the car for you. Over rough sections of highway, the Elantra N bobbed up and down like a buoy. But those are the compromises you expect in a sporty car.
If you want a compact car that is more fun than most, the Elantra N is certainly worth a drive. Hyundai has yet to reveal pricing and availability, but the N will certainly carry a premium over the $25,095 Elantra N Line. For more information on the Elantra N, check out the video below.