Hyundai Elantra N

We drove a race-ready Hyundai ELANTRA N in Toronto and it dazzled us all week

Driving in Toronto is notorious for being a battle zone — you're fighting traffic, construction, and last-minute road closures. In other words, it's not exactly exciting.

But thanks to one dazzling 2023 Hyundai ELANTRA N, my mind has been completely changed about city driving, and yours will be too if you hop in the driver's seat.


I had the opportunity to test-drive the high-performance 2023 Hyundai ELANTRA N across the city, putting the vehicle's rigorous racetrack testing and meticulous craftsmanship to work, and I actually enjoyed driving in Toronto during rush hour. Here's why.

The N Brand

The Hyundai ELANTRA N is the motor company's most high-speed and pumped-up vehicle. It's been built, tested, and enjoyed just like a race car by expert motorsport engineers.

Decked out with a 2L turbo engine, double exhaust, dual-clutch, and racey Michelin tires, this isn't your grandfather's Hyundai.

hyundai elantra nThe flashy "N" stands for the Hyundai research and development centre in Namyang, Korea, and the Grand Prix Nürburgring racetrack in Germany, where the N Brand vehicles are extensively tested, researched, and revamped.

And it's not just under the hood where this ELANTRA N's race car technology is showcased, just take a look at its sleek body with wing-type rear spoilers, rear bumper and diffuser, red accents, designated 19-inch alloy wheels, and N-logo-engraved side mouldings.

An everyday sports car

Don't let its race-car capabilities fool you, this 2023 Hyundai ELANTRA N is an everyday sports car, whether you like it fast or slow.

The quick six-speed manual transmission (also available in an eight-speed, automatic wet-clutch transmission) with rev-matching smooths out every gear change for maximum efficiency and the blind-spot collision avoidance assist, lane following and keeping assists are incredibly handy to keep focused on the road.

hyundai elantra nIt's also super roomy unlike true race cars which are very compact; the ELANTRA N has ample leg space for passengers and drivers alike. The trunk is perfect for hauling just about anything and it did the trick when I made a trip to the thrift store to drop off some bulky donations.

The race car bucket seats with an illuminated N logo are extremely comfortable and offered me great back support while the wireless charging pad on the main console is another extra perk when your phone battery drops — an everyday occurrence in my life. 

Extremely fun to drive

Since many settings about this car are modifiable on the dual 10.25" touch-screen, driving the ELANTRA N on a quick trip to the grocery store is a literal dream.

hyundai elantra nSoup up the engine, exhaust sound, transmission, suspension, and even switch the steering to SPORT+ mode and you'll turn heads as this everyday sports car hums, purrs, and glides down the city streets.

Driving in a residential area where a loud car is not appreciated? It's no problem for the ELANTRA N, just lower the modifiable exhaust setting and now you have a silent race car in seconds.

hyundai elantra nI'll admit it: I drove almost exclusively with the SPORT+ setting, it was just so fun to hear the engine roar and watch other drivers stare as I drove past! Even just starting the car and hearing the engine come to life put me in an excited mood to pick up my dry cleaning.

The Bose premium audio system with eight speakers comes in clutch when you want to drive to your favourite tunes or, you know, listen to a podcast about reality television — both of which I thoroughly enjoyed in stunning surround sound.

Race car performance

The Hyundai ELANTRA N is all about superstar performance and features numerous amenities like the Electronically Controlled Suspension (ECS), which adjusts its damping force based on speed,
driver input, road condition, and driving modes to provide better ride
and handling performance.

The Electronic Limited-Slip Differential (e-LSD), for example, manages the torque distribution between the front wheels when turning, maximizing the vehicle's turning speed and traction.

hyundai elantra nDon't forget the outside of the car either — the rear strut bar offers enhanced body rigidity compared to other models while the SUPERSTRUCTURE™ (the core of the car) is made with high-strength steel which helps to absorb and redirect energy away from the passenger compartment in the event of an accident.

Of course, the ELANTRA N has race track capability thanks to its 2.0 L Turbo power engine that produces an astonishing power of 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque (that's super powerful).

This engine allows the ELANTRA N to go zero to 100 km/hr in just 5.3 seconds — thanks to the N Grin Shift, a pushable boost which gives the engine an extra 10 horsepower instantly.

hyundai elenatra NFor myself personally, driving the Hyundai ELANTRA N was the absolute highlight of my week (even though I loathe driving in Toronto and actively avoid it). Whether I was running errands, visiting my family, or just cruising down Lakeshore, feeling the power of the engine was such a fun experience and I'd gladly do it again.

So if you're like me and love to feel like a badass while you drive around the city, visit your nearest Hyundai dealership to test drive the 2023 Hyundai ELANTRA N and never "just drive" again!

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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