Hyundai is one of the handful of automakers promising to remain in the sedan market even as millions of motorists migrate to SUVs and CUVs – which is why many of the Korean carmaker’s fans were surprised and disappointed to learn that it was dropping the Elantra GT and GT N Line models for 2021.
Well, dry those tears. Turns out Hyundai is just simplifying the line-up and we’ll continue to have a sporty version of the compact sedan come 2021.
In line with what we reported way back in April, there’s an all-new 2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line coming and it starts out with the same compelling design language we see on more mainstream versions of the compact sedan, but it boasts a number of appropriately sport upgrades, including a spoiler, diffuser and unique 18-inch alloy wheels. Of course, what matters most is the 1.6-liter turbo-four under the hood making an impressive 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque.
“The N Line model, characterized by N specific design and performance-enhancing elements,” said Hyundai in confirming the new model, “offers an attractive entry point to the Hyundai’s high-performance N Brand lineup and will expand Elantra’s appeal to a broader range of customers.”
Hyundai is clearly committed to remaining in the passenger car market, even as other manufacturers, such as General Motors and Ford, trim back their offerings or quit all together. The logic is simple: the sedan market may be shrinking but the Koreans are betting they can pick up a significantly larger share of what remains, as there are plenty of buyers who simply don’t want a utility vehicle.
Don’t think Hyundai is ignoring the SUV side of the equation, of course. It has seen its sales soar with the addition of vehicles like the Kona and Palisade. But it is investing substantial sums to update and upgrade the passenger car side of the line-up, including models like the Veloster, Sonata and Elantra. And a key to the strategy is beefing up performance with various N-badged models.
Some simply get sporty trim enhancements. Others, like the 2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line, deliver matching improvements in performance.
That starts with the 1.6-liter GDI turbocharged engine now shared with the Veloster Turbo model. Punching out a peak 201 hp and 195 lb-ft, customers can order one up with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed Double Clutch.
Along with the turbo engine, the Elantra N gets several other welcome upgrades, including a stiffer, grippier suspension, including a multi-link independent rear, as well as those 18-inch alloy wheels and larger front brake rotors.
The latest-generation Elantra has already been winning kudos for what Hyundai calls its “Parametric Design,” which gives the sedan a lower, wider look than the old Elantra. Along with the custom N Line badge, Hyundai has added arrow-shaped air curtains up front, new side skirts, a diffuser and a small rear wing to enhance aerodynamics.
Inside, the N Line sedan gets sportier front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and metal pedals, among other things, as well as more technology. Standard equipment will include the new, wireless versions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the Hyundai Digital Key which lets you open, operate and lock the car using your smartphone.
On the smart safety front, standard gear includes: automatic emergency braking, both lane-keeping and lane-follow assist, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic warning and automatic high-beams.
Hyundai has not released fuel economy numbers, nor has it offered up precisely when the 2021 Elantra N Line will reach showrooms later this year. If the outgoing Elantra GT N Line offers any indication, pricing should start somewhere at or just under $25,000.
The sporty model isn’t the end of line, so to speak. Hyundai also plans to launch a new hybrid version of the 2021 Elantra. The first gas-electric version of the sedan in 11 years, it will go on sale in Korea in the next month and, Hyundai said, “sales in global markets will follow soon after.”