2024 Hyundai Elantra N Review: They Made It Even Better

Now that automakers are collectively realizing that mass EV adoption isn’t happening quite as quickly as some hoped it would, there’s still plenty of room left for refining and perfecting anything running on good ol’-fashioned gasoline. The proof is no more apparent than in the 2024 Hyundai Elantra N sport compact, which has undergone a handful of upgrades and updates to make it better than ever—aesthetically and functionally.

It’s been a couple years since I’d last driven the spicy Korean sedan, so it was nice to not only get reacquainted but also feel out what’s different after these various revisions. It also reaffirmed my belief that the N division truly knows what’s up when it comes to producing excellent-to-drive enthusiast platforms.

Peter Nelson

The Basics

Then again, the Elantra N was always a great car, and Hyundai hasn’t messed with what works. Gone unchanged are the immensely comfortable front seats, well-thought-out infotainment system, that ravenous 2.0-liter turbo engine, and relatively spacious interior dimensions.

For $34,850 to start, 276 horsepower and 289 lb-ft of torque will launch the Elantra N’s 3,186-pound stature to 60 mph in around five seconds with the standard six-speed manual transmission. Opting for the quicker-accelerating eight-speed dual-clutch automatic tacks on an additional $1,500 and 110 pounds of curb weight. For more thorough insight, check out our full review and deep dive of the 2023 model.

Functional Facelift

On the outside, the 2024 Elantra N is largely the same as it was before, save for three changes: A different face and rear bumper, as well as a new set of wheels. Up front, new headlights are more stoic and, to my eyes, more pleasant—it’s all very clean and horizontal. Chiseled into the new mug is bigger ducting to not only improve radiator cooling but to send air to the front brakes as well. Keeping temps in check in these areas bolsters reliability and performance in demanding conditions, such as ripping laps at a track day.

The updated rear bumper doesn’t really possess any function improvement, but it certainly looks different. However, the N now sports 19-inch forged wheels wearing 245/35/19 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. These cut out an impressive 8.25 pounds of unsprung weight per corner or 33 pounds total. Less unsprung weight means better overall acceleration, braking, and handling, and it’s impressive seeing this type of performance improvement on something right off the showroom floor.

A Lot of Minor Chassis Revisions, Big Net Improvement

When it comes to the Elantra N’s handling characteristics, the pre-facelift model wasn’t exactly lacking anywhere, but Hyundai still went to work with a handful of minor upgrades 

Kicking it all off, the rear suspension bushings are now made of urethane as opposed to conventional rubber for better yaw response (meaning, how the vehicle reacts to weight shifting to the left or right from the center-of-gravity), as well as overall damping; improved chassis stiffness means the dampers can do their job more effectively.

Then, improved control arm bushings up front improve turn-in and steering precision. The steering rack has been retuned and a low-friction U-joint was fitted to bolster this even further. Hyundai says the engine mounts have been reinforced to not only cut down on driveline vibration but also improve shifting performance. Finally, N adaptive dampers—which are historically known for being spine-shattering when set to full-stiff—have been retuned for better overall comfort.

What this all adds up to is a more refined and precise driving experience. Out on a canyon road, as well as through a technical autocross course, the four-door N never ceased to impress.

In Practice

First and foremost, its front end felt incredibly solid and well-stuck to the ground, particularly through long, fast sweepers. I was able to make good use of the turbo-four’s rousing output no matter how tight and technical the tarmac ahead got. An OK amount of feel made its way through the steering rack, but both ratio and weight were top-notch. The front end felt precise and easy to place at any speed—on-road and on-course—yet in no way felt too edgy.

Peter Nelson

When it came to putting the Elantra’s adaptive dampers through their paces in their stiffest N mode, body roll was very minimal. As it was pre-revision, except now, the ride quality was much better over beat-up and choppy bits of road, which I didn’t think could be possible in a Hyundai N car. You never forget that you’re in an enthusiast-centric sport compact-slash-TCR-racer-wannabe (I mean that with all the love) but it no longer feels like the wrong pothole at just the wrong speed will obliterate a vertebrae.

The Elantra N’s chassis definitely makes the most of its tires’ contact patches, which is bolstered further by its electronically controlled limited-slip differential. On the autocross course, understeer began to rear its ugly head under short yet intense bits of trail braking as I pushed harder and harder, but it maintained excellent traction through fast left-to-right-to-left transitions, particularly through the finish line. Not to brag too much, but sending it hard through the final third of the course got me within a second of the fastest time of the day. So, I got that going for me.

Peter Nelson

FWD Perfection

The Hyundai Elantra N was already a great sport compact pre-2024-refresh—and quite potent—but the handful of upgrades to both its exterior and chassis truly make it one of the best ever. It’s sharper and grippier than before and feels so ready to eat up lap after lap.

The go-fast Elantra is also an excellent all-rounder; spacious, comfortable, and well-appointed for its mid-$30K sticker price, yet would be such a solid steed for driving to, on, and home from the track. Additionally, unless someone’s trying to mount up substantially wider meats, having lightweight forged wheels from the factory is appealing to anyone who wants to rip laps and autocross runs, but doesn’t necessarily want to lug around a second set of wheels.

Peter Nelson

Whether you select the six-speed manual or eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, you really can’t go wrong with the amount of out-of-the-box performance the 2024 Hyundai Elantra N offers. It’s impressive that Hyundai’s invested so much in this chassis, even with the crackingly sweet Ioniq 5 N now out there as the talk of the fast Korean car town. The future of Hyundai performance may be bright, but so is the present.

2024 Hyundai Elantra N SpecsMTDCT
Base Price$34,850$36,350
Powertrain2.0-liter turbo-four | 6-speed manual | front-wheel drive2.0-liter turbo-four | 8-speed wet dual-clutch automatic transmission | front-wheel drive
Horsepower276 @ 5,500-6,000 rpm276 @ 5,500-6,000 rpm (286 with NGS)
Torque289 lb-ft @ 2,100-4,700 rpm<<
Seating Capacity5<<
Cargo Volume14.2 cubic feet<<
Curb Weight3,186 pounds3,296 pounds
EPA Fuel Economy21 mpg city | 29 highway | 24 combined20 mpg city | 27 highway | 23 combined
Quick TakeLittle refinements have made one of the best sport compacts even better.
Score9/10
Peter Nelson
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