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Test Drive: 2022 Hyundai Elantra N Line

2022 Hyundai Elantra N Line

Sporty New Trim Has More Power, Still a Good Value

  • Trim Tested: Elantra N Line with manual transmission
  • Price as Tested: $25,260 (including destination charge)
  • Likes: Peppy engine; available manual transmission; roomy; good value; easy-to-use infotainment features
  • Dislikes: Bumpier ride than standard Elantra; a few cheap interior materials

The last time I drove the new Elantra I complained that it wasn’t at all sporty. Compact sedans such as the Honda Civic show that buyers can get sportiness without sacrificing comfort – the best of both worlds. Well, Hyundai has an answer: the new, sporty version of the Elantra, the Elantra N Line. I tested the N Line for a week and these are my impressions.

2022 Hyundai Elantra N Line Manual Transmission
2022 Hyundai Elantra N Line Manual Transmission / Credit: Hyundai

How It Drives

The big difference between the N Line and the regular Elantra is performance. Where the standard Elantra isn’t that fun to drive, the N Line is lively. The N Line has a 201-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine – 54 more hp than the base Elantra – and the power difference is noticeable. The base Elantra felt pokey, whereas the N Line zips through traffic. The standard 6-speed manual transmission helped me make the most of the little 1.6-liter engine, which pulled especially hard at higher revs. A 7-speed dual-clutch automatic is optional.

Handling is sharper in the N Line than the base Elantra, though it does come with a downside: a bumpier ride. That’s likely because the Elantra N Line has larger tires than the base Elantra (18 inches vs. 15) and a stiffer suspension.

The N Line has other performance parts that help it out on winding roads, including stickier tires, an independent rear suspension, and larger front brakes.

2022 Hyundai Elantra N Line Interior
2022 Hyundai Elantra N Line / Credit: Hyundai

Interior Comfort, Quality & Technology

Purchased new, the N Line costs about $4,000 more than the base Elantra SE. Not only do buyers get 30% more horsepower; they also get more comfort and convenience features, such as wireless phone charging, heated front seats, a sunroof, a power driver’s seat, advanced keyless entry, and automatic climate control. That’s a lot for 4 grand. I would recommend the N Line over the top-of-the-line Elantra Limited based on the superior performance and long list of features.

The only feature I missed on the N Line was adaptive cruise control, which is only available on the Elantra Limited and SEL.

In keeping with the sporty intentions of the N Line, the interior has red accents throughout and sport seats up front. The seats have larger side bolsters, which could make them uncomfortable for larger people, and although their synthetic fabric grips pants and helps hold drivers in place, it doesn’t feel particularly premium. The sport seats are also taller than the standard seats, so headroom is down 2 inches compared to other Elantra trims, though the Elantra still had plenty of room for my 6-foot frame up front and in back.

2022 Hyundai Elantra N Line Front Seats
2022 Hyundai Elantra N Line / Credit: Hyundai

There are a few design choices in the Elantra that baffle me, such as the large plastic handle separating the driver and passenger, and the illuminated white circle to the left of the gauges, which looks important but does nothing. There is also a fair amount of hard plastic in the interior, including on the windows sills; most competitors have padded window sills.

The Elantra comes with a plastic insert that slips into the front cup holders to accommodate smaller cups – it’s a little chintzy and would be easy to lose. Competitors have better-integrated solutions.

I love how easy-to-use the Elantra’s touchscreen is, though. Simple menus and separate volume and temperature controls help. There’s also a tuning knob, which is increasingly rare in cars and makes scrolling through the satellite radio stations easier. All of the buttons are large and have clear labels.

Carfax vehicle overviews let shoppers compare a vehicle’s specs against its competitors. However, some aspects of a vehicle – performance, comfort, usability – can only be evaluated through actual driving. That’s why we evaluate as many vehicles as we can, so you’ll know what to expect.

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