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You’d never know it by looking at them, but the 2023 Hyundai Elantra N and 2023 Toyota GR Corolla are closer competitors than you think. With similar starting prices, similar performance, and a similar dedication to the full-bore experience, these two affordable sports cars are the ultimate daily drivers.

How much horsepower is in the Hyundai Elantra N?

A gray 2022 Hyundai Elantra N is parked.
The 2022 Hyundai Elantra N | Hyundai

Packing a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the 2023 Hyundai Elantra N throws down 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque. That puts it in a rather unique contrast when compared to the GR Corolla.

The Toyota hot hatch uses a 1.6-liter three-cyilnder turbo with 300 horsepower. However, the GR Corolla is down on torque than the Elantra N, with just 273 pound-feet in its base model.

2023 Hyundai Elantra N vs. 2023 Toyota GR Corolla performance specs

GR CorollaElantra N
Engine1.6-liter 3-cyl turbo2.0-liter four-cyl turbo
Transmission6 MT6 MT
7 DCT (Opt)

Is the GR Corolla faster than the Elantra N?

2023 Toyota GR Corolla engine
2023 Toyota GR Corolla | Toyota

Of course, the Hyundai GR Corolla is quicker off the line than the Hyundai Elantra N. With all-wheel drive power, the Toyota hatchback gets to 60 mph in just five seconds, compared to 5.9 in the front-wheel drive Elantra N. This is despite the Corolla being 100 pounds heavier and offering less torque.

In truth, the all-wheel drive system is doing more work than you might realize when it’s time to launch these two affordable sports cars. Under acceleration, the car’s weight shifts to the rear tires. Or perhaps, more accurately, shifts away from the front tires. With just the front wheels pulling the Elantra N forward, just getting that 289 pound-feet of torque to the asphalt becomes a challenge.

In the GR Corolla, however, torque split options make it an acceleration monster. Use the 30:70 torque split, and you’re sending a majority of its turbocharged punch to the rear wheels, where all the weight sits. Adding that 30% of torque up front matches with the weight transfer under a hard launch. In other words, the GR Corolla is pulling as hard as it can, maximizing grip from all four tires under acceleration. And there is your one-second advantage in getting up to speed.

Noise, noise, noise, noise

If you didn’t read that header as if you’re The Grinch, I have some questions. But cartoon Christmas traditions aside, noise is the one thing that the Elantra N and GR Corolla have in common.

Both of these rowdy rapscallions will get you in plenty of trouble with the law in the wrong engine mode. Just ask this Elantra N owner in California. And when our own Joe Santos took the GR Corolla for a week-long test, he had this to say: 

“It’s high-strung. Push the “GR” branded start button, and the engine fires up with a hearty, booming exhaust note.”

Joe Santos, motorbiscuit

Interior and comfort comparison

Daily usability is where the Hyundai Elantra N claws back and has the advantage over the GR Corolla. The Corolla’s seats are excellent, especially for the price point. But the track-tuned suspension and rigid frame give it a harsh ride over America’s faltering infrastructure. The Elantra N gets those go-fast bits, too. But variable suspension settings allow for enough compliance to get you to work with all your teeth still in place.

That said, the hatchback setup of the spicy Corolla means more cargo space: 17.8 cubic feet vs. 14.2 in the Elantra N. Everywhere else, though, the Elantra N takes the GR Corolla to task.

Elantra N vs. GR Corolla interior comparison

2023 Toyota GR Corolla2023 Hyundai Elantra N
Front Leg Room42.0 in42.3 in
Front Head Room38.4 in40.6 in
Rear Leg Room29.9 in38.0 in
Rear Head Room37.6 in37.3 in
Cargo Space17.8 cu. ft.14.2 cu. ft

Choosing between the 2023 Hyundai Elantra N and the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla

For practicality, it’s hard to beat the Hyundai Elantra N. It delivers 90% of the Corolla’s performance with a 10-year warranty, more interior space, and a better ride. But if it’s a track weapon you want, there’s no denying the GR Corolla’s race-bred pedigree.

Related 2023 Toyota GR Corolla Review: This Fiery Hatchback Is a Breath of Fresh Turbocharged Air

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Review: This Fiery Hatchback Is a Breath of Fresh Turbocharged Air