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We live in the age of slow-burn marketing, leaked images, and sneak peeks. And honestly, we eat it all up. The internet practically breaks when things that should not yet be seen are revealed, especially for long-awaited items with a strong customer base. 

For gearheads, whispers of prototypes and early sightings of new vehicles are like a gift from the gods, and we’re right there with you. That’s why the prototype of the latest iteration of the Hyundai Elantra N is just so darn enticing. What’s even more exciting is having whispers of details about what the final product might look like, including its flaws

So, what exactly is the word on the street where the Hyundai Elantra N prototype is concerned? And does it bear a striking resemblance to the Honda Civic Type R? Let’s take a closer look at just what’s being said around town and pretty much all over the internet. 

What’s under the hood of the Hyundai Elantra N prototype?

A camouflaged 2021 Hyundai Elantra N driving down a city street
A camouflaged Hyundai Elantra N | Photo via Hyundai

Hyundai introduced its Veloster N high-performance model just a couple of years ago, and it’s been quite a hit. Now, the Hyundai Elantra N seeks to replicate that success by copying everything that the Veloster N does right.

Hyundai previously attempted to meet consumers’ demands looking for a sporty compact with the Elantra GT N Line hatchback. However, that model didn’t quite live up to the lofty standard set by the Honda Civic Type R. Now that a redesigned Civic Type R is on the horizon for the 2022 model year, Hyundai needed to step up its game.

The Hyundai Elantra N prototype seems to have hit the mark, according to Steve Ewing of CNET’s Roadshow. Ewing got behind the wheel of the prototype for a brief test drive, and he detailed the car’s positives and negatives.

This upcoming sporty compact is much more powerful than Hyundai’s previous attempt at a souped-up Elantra. It’s powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that kicks out an estimated 275 hp. Plus, it comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission for a more hands-on driving experience. However, an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is available for those who prefer a relaxing drive.

Does the Hyundai Elantra N have the agility to back up its power?

Strength is nothing without finesse. With that in mind, many gearheads must be wondering how the Hyundai Elantra N prototype actually handles.

Thankfully, the Hyundai Elantra N might just give the Honda Civic Type R a run for its money in this department. Ewing wasn’t disappointed in the small amount of time he got to test the limits of the sport compact.

“The Elantra N is thrilled to be chucked into corners, diving into sharp bends and holding on tight through hairpins,” Ewing said. “The throaty exhaust constantly snorts and crackles and pops.”

However, Ewing criticized the responsiveness of the paddle shifters on the dual-clutch transmission. Although this comes with the caveat that Hyundai might remedy this on the final product.

Style, price, and availability

We don’t have all the answers to what lies ahead for Hyundai’s latest sport compact. The manufacturer wrapped prototype models in camouflage and has yet to set a release date. However, there are plenty of clues we can take from what’s been made available.

The Hyundai Elantra N has a slightly redesigned front end that mirrors the car’s aggressive nature. Plus, it features larger exhaust pipes, larger brakes, and 19-inch wheels.

Meanwhile, CNET speculates that the car will be sold for around $35,000, which will likely undercut the rival Honda Type R. Those looking to upgrade into a sport compact in the near future may want to keep their eyes on the Hyundai Elantra N. This newcomer may just have what it takes to become a leader in a heavily contested segment.


2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line vs. 2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI