Highlights of the 2021 Hyundai Elantra

2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line
2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line.

Compact sedans remain the ideal entry place into the new car market for an untold number of Americans. With prices starting around $20,000, such models are within the reach of many first-time car buyers.

The Hyundai Elantra is an excellent example of a compact sedan as it is stylish, roomy, and affordable. For 2022, the Elantra line gains a performance “N” version. Our highlights, though, chiefly cover the 2021 model that was completely redesigned. It was also our test model over one sizzling August week.


Highlights of the Hyundai Elantra


Trims and Prices

Hyundai prices the 2022 Hyundai Elantra sedan from $19,850 for the SE trim. The next three trims include the SEL ($21,100), N Line ($24,250), and Limited ($25,600). Add $1,025 for the freight charge. The Elantra N arrives this winter. Pricing is not yet available.

The Elantra seats five and comes with front-wheel drive. Three powertrain choices accompany this model.


2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line Profile


Exterior Design and Features

The Elantra does a reasonable job of channeling the midsize Sonata sedan’s styling highlights. Its rakish silhouette suggests a far more expensive model. Its swift appearance includes a cascading hood, beefy grille, oversized cutouts, and ambitious body sculpting. Lastly, its fastback design works well here: the roofline line falls immediately behind the rear seating passengers, ensuring sufficient room inside while looking spectacular on the outside.

Depending on the trim, the Elantra comes with four wheel sizes ranging from 15 to 18 inches. All-season tires are standard, while the N Line comes with summer tires. LED lighting, power-folding side mirrors, chrome embellishments, and dual exhaust ports are features of note.

Interior Design and Features

While the exterior has the “wow” factor, the interior is more subdued. Although not precisely spartan, the cabin is simple, straightforward, and not especially dazzling. It is more minimalist compared to the powerful stance of the exterior. Lots of plastics, gloss black touchpoints, and brightwork trim dominates. The contrast between the interior and exterior is almost startling.

We do give the Elantra credit for seating four adults with ease and five with barely a pinch. The Elantra is as close to a midsize sedan you will find in this category. Further, the rear seat folds down, supplying access to a trunk measuring 14.2 cubic feet.

Cloth seats are standard and leather-trimmed seats are available. Beginning with the SEL trim, a power-adjustable driver’s seat and heated front seats come in. Other available features of note include ambient lighting, dual-zone climate control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.


2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line Front Seats


Safety Features

Hyundai equips the Elantra with a long list of driver-assist technologies. Beyond the requisite rearview camera and suite of airbags, Hyundai furnishes the Elantra with features such as forward collision warning. Likewise, all trims come with blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, and forward automatic emergency braking. Other features contain automatic high-beam headlights, lane keep assist, driver drowsiness monitoring, rear seat alert, and safe exit warning.

Also available, depending on the trim and package choices, are supplementary driver-assist features. These consist of adaptive cruise control, rear collision warning, cyclist detection, rear parking sensors, and highway driving assist.

Tech Highlights

An 8-inch touchscreen display is exclusive to the SE and SEL trims, while the N Line and Limited have a 10.2-inch touchscreen display bundled with navigation. Bluetooth, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and two USB ports are standard. Interestingly, plugged in smartphone connectivity accompanies the two top trims.

The base model comes with a four-speaker audio system, HD Radio, and two USB ports. Other features available comprise an 8-speaker Bose audio system, Bluelink connectivity, and wireless device charging.


2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line Dashboard


Performance Options

The standard engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. This engine works with a continuously variable transmission to send power to the front wheels.

Also available and exclusive to the N Line is a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Shoppers have a choice of a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission or a six-speed manual gearbox.

The engine choice for the Elantra N is mentioned later.

On the Road

Our test N Line had the upgraded engine and the automatic transmission. We were disappointed not to have the opportunity to “row our own,” but at least we had the more powerful version of the sedan to test.

The N Line gains several benefits over the other trims, including stiffer springs front and back. Furthermore, this model comes with an independent rear suspension and a rear stabilizer bar. Lastly, larger front brake rotors round out the changes. Yes, there is one more difference, depending on the transmission. Choose the manual and the N Line gains performance tires, while the automatic keeps the all-season radials.


Hyundai Elantra N Line


Somehow, with the many changes, ride comfort is not affected. The tautness is evident everywhere you drive with direct steering, responsive handling, and firm braking evident. The N Line stays relatively composed while navigating twists and turns. Just when you think that the sedan is about to roll, it stays righted. It may not carve corners with the exacting precision of a low-slung sports car, but it does not dive and pivot either.

In all, the N Line presents a middle ground between the standard Elantra and the beastly N. We think the range-topping model will deliver the power drivers want. We just hope that it supplies a correspondingly excellent driving experience.

Looking Ahead: 2022 Hyundai Elantra N

“N” stands for performance and it represents the ultimate expression of Hyundai power. Hyundai intends to spread the N love to other models – we see it on the Veloster hatchback and it is also available with the Kona crossover. Thus, the Elantra is the first sedan to get it.

The Elantra N rides on 19-inch, 245/35 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires with 14.2-inch rotors. It comes with an electronically controlled limited-slip differential and an independent rear suspension. Inside, a digital gauge cluster includes an N mode lap timer integrated into the infotainment. Further, it is linkable to a mobile app. Available N bucket seats include a lit N emblem embedded in the headrests.

Perhaps the most important feature is what is found under the hood. A 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 275 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque motivates this model. An 8-speed wet dual-clutch transmission or a 6-speed manual gearbox can be had.


2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line Rear


Hyundai Elantra Parting Thoughts


The Hyundai Elantra attempts to set itself apart in a segment dominated by the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and the Nissan Sentra. The Civic, like the Volkswagen Golf, has the performance chops available to take on the N Line as well as the N. Other models to consider include the Subaru Impreza, Mazda3, and the Kia Forte.

We think that any Elantra trim offers something worth considering. But then with more power at the ready, starting your search with the energetic N Line offers a more compelling choice. That a manual gearbox with short throws and a clean clutch uptake is available, adds a bit of intrigue to the segment. Manuals are increasingly rare, but some manufacturers still offer them. Kudos to Hyundai for taking this approach.

All in all, the Elantra is a strong entry. Its generous warranty plan, though, may be the deciding factor, yet another bonus for an already well-equipped model.


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Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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