2024 Hyundai Elantra N Review – Tightening Up


2024 hyundai elantra n review tightening up

Perhaps the 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N we featured isn’t your speed. Too tall, too expensive, too electric. Give me an old-school small sports sedan, you say. Give me internal-combustion and real exhaust noise and a trunk – hatchbacks have too much utility for me!

Oh, and maybe you’re one of those weirdoes who wants to shift their own gears, too, using three pedals. No paddles for you! Well, the 2024 Hyundai Elantra N satisfies all those requirements, and if you don’t want an automatic transmission, you don’t have to have one.

What’s that you say? You know about the Elantra N? It’s not new, you howl. Well, that’s true – it’s mostly the same car that launched a couple of years ago. But there are minor changes, and some of them seem to address the complaints I leveled at launch.

2024 hyundai elantra n review tightening up

(Full disclosure: Hyundai flew me to Monterey/Carmel, California and fed and housed me for two nights. The company left us a tire inflator that I took home and a hat that I did not. I did take a notebook and pen, too.)

We were ostensibly in Northern California to drive the Ioniq 5 N, but Hyundai carved a little time for us to drive the Elantra N on the street, as well as six passes – three with each transmission – on an autocross course. Sadly, while we were at Laguna Seca, we were only able to track the Ioniq 5 N. Too bad, because the Elantra N would likely be fun on track.

The changes are minor for 2024. They start with a reinforced engine-mount membrane – this is done to reduce vibration and improve power delivery and shifting performance for both the available six-speed manual and dual-clutch, eight-speed automatic transmission. Next up, a reinforced G-bushing is meant to improve yaw response at corner turn-in, along with steering precision. It also is meant to make trail-in while cornering more consistent.

Next is a new rear-suspension S/ABS insulator that goes from rubber to urethane. This is meant to improve rear damping. The electronically-controlled suspension gets software updates to match the mechanical changes with the goal of improving both on-track and on-road performance.

2024 hyundai elantra n review tightening up

The 19-inch wheels are now a lighter weight forged alloy that reduce unsprung weight, while the steering system gets a universal steering joint that should reduce friction along with software updates. Again, the software update are meant to match the mechanical changes and also make the steering feel more precise.

Finally, the front bumper and air guard are changed to make the cooling system more efficient while also directing airflow over the brakes so that the binders can stay cooler by improving heat dissipation.

That’s a lot of small, minor changes that are too technical for the average buyer to care about, but in theory, the car should ride and handle a bit better and be more resistant to brake fade.

The styling is tweaked, too, with a new front fascia and grille, new LED headlights, and a redesigned rear bumper fascia and diffuser. Those 19-inch wheels are shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer rubber.

2024 hyundai elantra n review tightening up

I don’t know if my rear end is finely tuned enough to really notice the changes – I’d probably need to drive the new and outgoing model back-to-back to get a sense of any differences in terms of dynamics. That said, the N did feel a little more buttoned-down and slightly less high-strung during my street drive. The steering also felt a bit more precise and natural compared to what I recall from spring 2022.

I was assigned a DCT for my run over the mountain and back, and while I’d prefer the stick, the automatic is well-tuned for this duty. My biggest beef was noise – while loud exhaust noise is baked in (and reduces a bit when the car isn’t in a performance drive mode) – the sounds coming out of the rear intrude on conversation. That’s not appropriate at the end of a nice dinner, and it’s similarly annoying here when you’re dealing with traffic. Unless you’re pushing the car – in which case the noise is welcome – you might find it tiresome.

2024 hyundai elantra n review tightening up

The manual shifted crisply on the autocross, and the clutch is nice and heavy with easy take up. The automatic may be very good, but I’d recommend the stick.

Acceleration is still swift – the carryover 2.0-liter turbo four (276 horsepower/289 lb-ft) remains well-suited to sporty driving.

Available comfort and convenience features include LED in the rear as well as the front, a rear spoiler, seats that have leather trim and microsuede inserts, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and starting, Bluetooth, wireless cell-phone charging, dual USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, Bose audio, digital key, and satellite radio.

Safety systems include forward collision-avoidance assist, blind-spot collision warning, lane-keeping assist and lane-following assist, front and rear park distance warning, and rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist.

2024 hyundai elantra n review tightening up

The Elantra N still occupies a weird spot when it comes to on-street tuning and NVH. It’s less boy-racer than the Honda Civic Type R and slightly more civilized than the Subaru WRX but not as commuter-friendly as the Volkswagen Jetta GLI or Acura Integra A-Spec. It would be on my shopping list – especially since the price tag is pretty nice at $33,700 (plus $1,150 for D and D) for the manual and $35,200 plus destination for the DCT.

Fuel economy is listed at 20/27/23 for the auto and 21/29/24 for the stick.

At the very least, the Elantra N continues to hold its own in the compact performance sedan segment. Personal preference and price may be a bigger purchase driver than performance numbers, and if so, the Elantra N deserves a look. Whether it finds a home in your driveway may come down to how genteel you want your ride to be when not being driven hard.

2024 hyundai elantra n review tightening up

Last time around, I thought the N was quite good but a bit too loud on the street and a bit too divisive in terms of styling. Now it looks a little more attractive and it’s still loud on the street, though perhaps a bit sharper in terms of dynamics.

It’s still competitive with the rest of the segment, and it’s mildly improved. Sometimes, incremental improvement is just enough.

[Images © 2024 Tim Healey/TTAC.com, Hyundai]

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