As we looked at the lineup of cars for this year's Midwest Automotive Media Association's spring rally, we were excited to drive some vehicles because they are all-new models and others because of their off-road capability. And then there were cars that came out of the left field to surprise us with their excellent street performance. The 2019 Hyundai Elantra GT N Line falls into the last category. The new N Line trim boldly enters Hyundai's lineup to replace the outgoing Elantra GT Sport and gives this hatchback the handling and steering it deserves. These are the top features that make the new Elantra GT N Line a performance bargain worthy of a test drive.
Hyundai's new N Line trim aims for a sportier design which is evident in the hatchback's exterior styling. Borrowing cues from its European hot hatch sibling, the i30 N, the Elantra GT N Line shows off a more aggressive exterior to mirror the improvements of the performance. A new version of the signature cascading grille unique to Hyundai, blacked out side mirrors, a lower front spoiler to improve aerodynamics and N Line specific 18-inch wheels leave a lasting impression. Choosing the 6-speed manual transmission outfits the wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires. Hyundai ties up this new package nicely with a unique rear fascia branded with the N Line badge and N Line logos throughout the interior.
Interior and Tech
The styling updates of the Hyundai Elantra GT N Line are not just skin deep. As soon as we stepped into this hatchback to start our test drive around the local roads surrounding Road America, we were impressed by the well-made and sporty cabin. The interior matches the more driving-oriented aesthetic of the exterior with premium dark leather seats with contrasting red stitching to make a bold statement.
The attention to detail in this new model is evident in the leather-wrapped perforated steering wheel, the heated seats with the N Line logo and the matching N Line gearshift with leather and metallic accents. Taking the Elantra GT N Line for a few laps around the local roads of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, we found the seats to be comfortable and supportive thanks to side bolsters and extended seat cushions. Although we only got about a half hour behind the wheel of this hatch, we can bet it would be comfortable for long drives thanks to the effort put into the seat design.
There is no shortage of tech features to be excited about in the Elantra GT N Line. The 8-inch infotainment screen is fast and responsive. The all-new instrument cluster is well laid out, easy to read and adds to the sporty interior design. A technology package includes a panoramic sunroof, ventilated and heated seats, Infinity Premium Audio with seven speakers, and a wireless charging pad. Hyundai's Smart Sense safety tech package offers features like Smart Cruise Control, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, High Beam Assist, Lane Keep Assist, and Driver Attention Warning.
Powertrain, Performance, and Pricing
Even with the noticeable upgrades to the exterior and interior styling, the biggest changes that come with the N Line trim are in the performance. So what did Hyundai do to make the N Line so much better to drive? They tweaked almost everything besides the engine. The Elantra GT N Line's 1.6-liter turbo inline-four engine carries over from the GT Sport and offers 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. It can be mated with a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual clutch transmission which we tested.
The hatchback's acceleration is quick (an estimated 0-60 in the mid-6 second range) and though we didn't get the change to push it to its limits, the horsepower was more than adequate for passing slower vehicles we encountered on the route. The responsive steering and crisp handling we noticed driving around the winding roads of Elkhart Lake can be attributed to new suspension and steering tuning. Plus, revised powertrain mounts and multi-link independent rear suspension with larger front and rear brake rotors offer noticeably improved noise and vibration harshness.
With all the changes that make the N Line stand out, we figured there'd be a substantial price increase from the Hyundai Elantra GT Sport. The good news is the N Line continues to be a great value for the money. The Elantra GT N Line paired with the 6-speed manual transmission starts at $23,300 (about $50 more than the GT Sport) and the N Line with the dual clutch transmission starts at $24,400. With the all-new exterior styling, upscale interior and improved performance, we'd call that a bargain.