Life comes at you fast. If you’re in your 20’s or early 30’s, you may fall into quite a few different scenarios by now. But let’s say you have, or are working towards a mortgage, or at least paying rent. Maybe kids are in the picture, or on the horizon, and then throw in a little spending money for a night out every once in a while with friends, and suddenly that solid paycheck (or paychecks) that shows up every two weeks suddenly doesn’t seem to stretch as far as it once did. So what happens when it comes time that your old, beat up hand-me-down car gives up the ghost by blowing a head gasket on the interstate during rush hour traffic? Well, it’s time to start looking for your first new car.
Sure, used cars are a great option, but when you have a life, responsibilities, possibly kids, and kid related activities to worry about, sometimes it’s nice to know you have a warranty to fall back on. But new cars are expensive, and more so if you are actually someone that truly enjoys driving. Entry level cars don’t lend themselves particularly well to being super driver friendly — they are usually just basic transportation. But that philosophy is changing, slowly, and we’re starting to see a few cars show up that might just be the saviors to every young auto enthusiast with a family. Specifically, we’d like to introduce you to the 2019 Hyundai Elantra GT N-Line.
What is an N-Line you ask? Well, good question. If you haven’t noticed by now, just about every car company is trying to nab and trademark a letter of alphabet to distinguish their performance division. This started getting big when BMW’s M lineup was challenged by Mercedes’ AMG brand. Then Cadillac showed up with the V line, Honda used Type-R, Acura used Type-S, Infiniti jumped in with the IPL, and well, you get the idea. So needless to say, Hyundai, as a budding superstar in the automotive world, has decided to throw their letter in the alphabet soup and has chosen N, which is interestingly close to the aforementioned M of BMW … and we’re not so sure that wasn’t on purpose to help subtly suggest that these two subdivisions are similar. But that might be conspiracy theorist in us talking,
Anyway, the Elantra N-Line, is an Elantra, but sported up a bit. Starting with a feisty 1.6-liter DOHC turbocharged inline-4 that makes a solid 201 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and nearly matching 195 lb-ft of torque at a very low 1,500 rpm, this little pocket rocket has some getup and go. Power is routed to the front wheels via an optional seven-speed dual clutch automatic, or to much surprise and glee, a legit, slick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission. Those front and rear wheels are shod in performance-minded 225/40ZR-18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires that hide massive 12.0-inch front brakes as well as 11.2-inch rears.
That sticky rubber definitely helps the Elantra GT in all manner of performance. 0-60 mph takes just 6.5 seconds, while the quarter miles races by in 15.0 seconds at 94 mph, and 0-100 mph takes just 17.0 seconds flat. Braking back down from 70-0 mph takes only 157 feet, and most impressively is the 0.93 g skidpad number the GT posts. There are cars three times as expensive that can’t do that, and as a matter of comparison, all of those performance numbers surpass just about every car in the Elantra’s class in an embarrassingly impressive way. Fuel economy comes in at a less than impressive 23/30/26 city/highway/combined MPG, but to offset that fact, the good news is that the GT runs on regular 87 octane,
Stylistically, the Elantra has a surprisingly mature exterior design, which helps stave off the boy-racer motif that so many other entry-levels gravitate towards. Not everyone that likes going fast wants or needs to look like they want to race all the time, so thank you Hyundai for acknowledging that. Inside, the interior exceeds expectations for a car with a base price of $24,220 (and a ceiling of just another $115 max). The two-tone interior replete with contrast stitching curiously reminds us of some Bimmers we’ve been in … surprise, surprise … and the infotainment setup is very intuitive and organized well. The dash is driver-centric and feels as if everything is well within reach. There is a distinct lack of the typical chintzy, plasticy, cheap interior pieces so often adorning budget level cars.
So for a car that is designed to be affordable first, we have to say that the Hyundai Elantra GT N-Line does a great job of being that affordable car, but they’ve added some serious sport and speed to match its frugality. And that’s a good thing because life comes at you fast, and at least now maybe you’ll have a better chance of keeping up.