I’ve already established that sedans and coupes are becoming rare beasts thanks to the fanatical, almost cult-like, love everyone has for the SUV. Even rarer is something with a manual transmission. I owe that to the Millennials. After all young people don’t like doing anything more than they must, so why take all that time to reach all the way down to a gearshift and move it to the next gear. It’s bad enough they have to move the gear selector into drive for an automatic transmission.
Surprising that they haven’t come up with some way to tie in their voice activated gizmo to do it for them: “Hey Alexa shift to drive.” After all this is the generation that seems to be embracing self-driving cars; something I shudder to think about. The only time I want to be driven anywhere is when the hearse carries by cold dead, fat, body to the morgue.
For now though there are still a few sedans and coupes around. Hyundai has some. Recently I had a chance to spend a week with an Elantra; the compact sedan that’s one of the few cars that can be had with a manual transmission.
The last week I spent with the Elantra was in 2019 when I had a week with a Limited. Since then, there’s been a few changes. The seventh generation debuted in 2021. There’s a new longer wheelbase, a wider stance and a lower roofline. Basically, the update gave the Elantra a nice more modern look.
There were no changes for 2022. For this latest week I was sent the N Line, which isn’t like the N. Stay with me for sec.
In Hyundai speak the ‘N’ designation is reserved for the sportier variants. The N Line sets above the Limited in the lineup and owing to the N it has some upgrades like a more powerful engine (a turbocharged 1.6 liter with 201 horses, as opposed to the 2.0 liter non-turbo charged engine of the rest of the lineup which comes in with 147 horses) and has an independent rear suspension instead of the base car’s standard torsion beam, as well as larger front brakes, stiffer roll bars and revised shock tuning with stiffer springs.
The model with no ‘Line’ designation, just an N, is the top of the lineup and has the most powerful engine, a 2.0 turbocharged 4-cylinder with 276 horses. It also has larger alloy wheels (19-inch versus 18 of the N Line), bigger brakes, a variable sport exhaust, electronically controlled limited-slip differential, the same sophisticated rear suspension design from the N Line, plus adaptive dampers, a unique exterior fascia and sport front seats with additional bolstering.
My N Line had a black exterior and interior with lots of red contrast stitching on the inside, giving the overall look a more upscale look and feel.
On the road the N Line responded nicely, had plenty of power, and a cool button on the dash to select the drive mode (Normal, Sport, Smart), and the 7-speed dual clutch transmission kept up with the demand just fine.
Sure, an Elantra may not be on top of a sports car enthusiast list, but with an MSRP of $26,690, it is affordable for just about anyone. And by god you can get it with a manual transmission. If I’m looking for an everyday sedan to do all the normal everyday things I need to do, then I want to enjoy the drive. The Elantra N Line is affordable enough to give me that and not drain the bank account.
For the record the MSRP for the full-on performance N model is $33,195. A few bucks more, but still not out of the range of most of us.
It’s a case of enjoy it while you can, however. The Elantra is part of the rare breed of beasts made rarer still with the availability of a stick shift, and there may come a time not far off when the sedan will only be seen in a museum. Whatever generation that come after Millennials will probably stare at it and say something like “You mean that actually had to drive it?”
The 2022 Hyundai Elantra N Line
MSRP (as tested): $26,690
Engine: 1.6 liter I-4, 201 horsepower @6000 rpm, 195 lb-ft torque @ 1,500 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed automated manual
Fuel Mileage (EPA) 28 city, 36 highway, 31 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested mixed conditions), 33 mpg
Curb weight: 3,020 lbs.
Exterior Dimensions (inches)
Overall Width without Mirrors: 71.9
Ground clearance: 5.5
EPA interior volume: 113.6 cu.ft.
Cargo capacity, all seats in place 14.2 cu.ft.
Front Seat Dimensions
Front head room: 38.7 in.
Front leg room: 42.3 in.
Front shoulder room: 56.5 in.
Front hip room: 53.4 in.
Rear Seat Dimensions
Rear head room: 37.3 in.
Rear leg room: 38.0 in.
Rear shoulder room: 55.6 in.
Rear hip Room: 50.5 in.
Basic: 5 yr./ 60,000 mi.
Drivetrain: 10 yr./ 100,000 mi.
Rust: 7 yr./ unlimited mi.
Roadside: 5 yr./ unlimited mi.