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Hyundai Ioniq 6 Limited AWD
New Car Reviews

Hyundai Ioniq 6 Limited AWD review: A masterful display of honesty and quality on wheels

Welcome to a society where seemingly the only way to encapsulate buyers is through toys, toys, toys! Flash, flash, flash! Gimmicks galore, and give us more! We love it when companies tout an upcoming product so heavily, placing it on a gilded pedestal for prospective buyers and investors to gawk. We also love it when said product becomes the center of ire and controversy in the public eye and when said products tend to fall apart, not do what they’re claimed to do, or backpedal on their original promises. But to cleanse our palettes and present to the world something refreshingly honest, we’ve been gifted the Hyundai Ioniq 6, South Korea’s entry into the affordable-ish electric sports sedan fray.

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Hyundai Ioniq 6 Limited AWD
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Price and specs

Key notes. The Ioniq 6 has few trims and a handful of powertrain configurations, including a base model with 240 miles of range, all-wheel drive, and rear-drive “Long Range” variants that achieve 316 and 361 miles, respectively, and less-frugal rear-drive models on 20-inch rollers that score 305 miles. This Limited Long Range tester on its 20-inch wheels has the big kid 77.4-kWh battery and dual-motor all-wheel drive, good for 320 horsepower, 446 pound-feet of torque, and 270 miles of range, plus all the goodies that come with being the top-rung Ioniq 6.

Base price:$50,150
As-tested price:$55,480
Motor/battery:Dual motor + 77.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack
Drivetrain:all-wheel drive
Power:320 horsepower
Torque:446 pound-feet
Weight:4,578 pounds
0-60 mph:4.4 seconds
¼-mile:13.2 seconds @ 103 mph
Top speed:124 mph
MPGe:111 city, 94 highway, 103 combined
Range:270 miles

Ioniq 6 exterior design

The Ioniq 6 is unique, sleek, and sporty from some angles. It’s also weird, bulbous, and fugly from other angles. It’s tough to decipher what exactly Hyundai was going for, but I’ll give them props for delivering us a unique shape from the brick Polestar 2 and bubbly Tesla Model 3, and neither of them is that much of a looker anyway.

The side profile screams Mercedes CLA and CLS, which is likely a call to Hyundai’s European influence and their bid to out-German the Germans. The mid-level tailgate spoiler and rear lip spoiler give mild WRC vibes, like a Ford Sierra Cosworth or Escort Cosworth. Hell, add a support beam connecting the two and lift it on Fifteen52 wheels, and you have a Gen Z rally car.

In typical Ioniq fashion, squares and cubes define the little details of the Ioniq 6, and they can be found everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Check the seats, steering wheel, rearview camera, trunk release, exterior lighting, etc. It’s a CLA that’s been in Tron and back and has the pixels to prove it.

What’s hot?– Strong, sports car-like acceleration
– Well-tuned, easy to modulate brake and throttle pedals
– Far more premium driving experience than some key rivals
– Buttery smooth action of the many driver assists
– Abundant rear seat legroom
– Ergonomic interior with brainless controls

Ioniq 6 pricing breakdown

Hyundai makes speccing an Ioniq 6 really easy. Ready? Choose from the SE Standard Range, SE, SEL, and Limited trims. The latter three, with the bigger Long Range battery and more powerful motor, can be optioned with a rear-drive single motor or with dual-motor all-wheel drive. There are not really any major option packages on any trim aside from wheel locks, floor mats, road safety kits, etc.

A 2024 Ioniq 6 Limited starts at $50,150 and includes much of the same equipment as the lesser trims, from the digital displays to the safety aids and the 20-inch wheels. That fancy-schmancy Limited moniker does earn it a large power sunroof, power-folding side mirrors, a 12-volt outlet in the rear seats, and adjustable powertrain sounds for overgrown children who like it when their EVs make Star Wars speeder noises.

It’s me. I’m Overgrown Children.

Dual-motor all-wheel drive adds $3,500 to the price tag, while my tester’s pearly Serenity White paint tacks on another $470. Factor in carpeted floor mats for $210 and a $1,150 destination charge, and my tester rang the bell at $55,480, up there with the refreshed Polestar 2 and Tesla Model 3.

Ioniq 6 interior and tech

The digital gauge cluster and 12.3-inch infotainment screen are perfectly legible and have an adjustable blue light filter for nighttime driving. Bitching. Adaptive cruise with lane centering is standard. Yes, please. There are 360-degree parking cams that seem silly in operation but turn out to be real life savers when you realize you can angle them to peek just ahead of blind corners. Smart, indeed. There are not one, not two, but three methods of blind spot warning: A light in your mirrors, a visual indicator in one of the gauge cluster screens, and blind spot cameras on either side. Oh, yes! Uncrashable? No. But the Ioniq 6 will make you really hard to defend if you do crash one.

Built-in navigation with destination searching and EV charger locating is included. Hallelujah! But should you prefer to bring your own navigation from home, wired CarPlay is standard, and you can sit your phone nicely on the charging pad just beneath the dash controls, which feature a mix of haptic touch and hard buttons and knobs.

If you really want to get silly, the higher-trim Ioniqs come standard with a nearly infinitely adjustable ambient lighting setup and adjustable EV powertrain sounds, which can scale from “Off” to “Annoyingly Loud.” It’s a goofy and playful feature that emits fun sounds, like a sci-fi speeder or spaceship. It can just be set to irritating volumes, is all.

A brainless EV to commute in

Comfort done Korea’s way

I’ve only driven a Polestar 2 around a parking lot during the LA Auto Show, and I’ve only driven older, pre-facelift iterations of the Model 3, so I’ll hold back driving comparisons until I can get proper seat time in newer versions of both. But I can say this Ioniq 6 deserves a place among them, if not above them.

The cabin is wonderfully airy, and the contrasting accents and ambient lighting do a great job of breaking up the sea of black “bio-based” leatherette enough to ward off the feeling of bleakness German interiors are infamous for. The power sunroof amplifies the airiness, and the seats are perfect when running down every last mile of its 270-mile EPA range, although the roofline raises concerns in the rear seat for anyone over six feet. At least the legroom and trunk space are quite generous.

While initially drawing skepticism, the haptic touch climate controls work flawlessly, and every icon falls right into hand. The hard buttons for media controls are handy in a pinch, and Bluetooth and CarPlay are near-instantaneous to connect. Why no wireless CarPlay? Beats me. That’d be a knock against it in the eyes of younger buyers who love wireless everything nowadays, but at least what you’re given works exceptionally. Just give us a real frunk next time.

Perhaps the only real strike against the Ioniq 6 inside is the abundance of hard plastics reminding you of this car’s $37,500 base car roots and that Hyundai badge on its nose. But I can take the plastics knowing it’s screwed together far tighter than any Tesla I’ve ridden or driven in recent memory, completely devoid of squeaks or rattles, even over broken pavement and deep potholes.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 Limited AWD
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

A driving experience worthy of luxury car branding

Around town, the Ioniq 6 feels authentic to itself rather than trying to be more of an appliance than it already is. It’s just a car, and it’s just a nice, well-insulated, compliant one with a little bit of spunk and classiness. The aforementioned driving aids work smoothly with inoffensive beeps and gentle operation of the adaptive cruise and lane-centering systems. There are four levels of brake regen, adjusted via repurposed paddle shifters, which change the in-town flavor of the Ioniq to whatever you’re craving, from full-regen with one-pedal driving to nearly off with normal car coasting.

Although this is the insultingly named “Long Range” Limited with a 270-mile rating, the second lowest in the lineup, my mixed driving returned a frugal 3.8 miles per kilowatt-hour. Times that by the 74 usable kilowatt-hours in the 77.4-kWh battery, and that’s a mixed driving range of 281 miles. Still not stellar, but better.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 Limited AWD
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

The steering is sharp enough to make parking lots a cinch, further aided by the cameras, sensors, and short bumper overhangs. Again, shame on you if you so much as ding this thing. And while the ride is mostly comfortable, you can’t help but feel it’d ride leagues better with the lower trims’ smaller wheels and fatter tires, but such is the trend of “RIMS real big.” Still, the occasional firm impacts can’t shatter how well-engineered this car feels and how endearing it is. One can only imagine what it’d be like if it wore the Genesis badge.

Now, did I say spunk earlier?

The pleasantly sporty sports sedan

Ah, yes. How can I forget? The dual-motor EV with the sizable battery and oodles of torque just so happens to be capable of snapping your head back into the headrest like it’s attempting a G-force-actuated chiropractic service. The Ioniq 6 Limited AWD is no Ioniq 5 N or Model 3 Performance, and we’re yet to see if an N version will come to fruition. But 320 horsepower and 446 pound-feet from its dual motors and 77.4 kWh battery are plenty. That 270-mile range might not attract many buyers when Tesla exists, but it can surely make every mile a blast for those hopping out of their Elantra leases into one of these.

The comfortable suspension squats and exaggerates the feeling of acceleration, making the Ioniq 6 feel quicker than its reported 4.4-second 0-to-60-mph run, but it doesn’t flop on a twisting road or tight freeway on-ramp. The sharp steering, while devoid of feel, as is typical in this class, is well-weighted and less video-gamey than I remember in pre-facelift Model 3s and feels about on par with the Polestar 2. The firm, easy-to-modulate brakes can be adjusted in feel in the drive modes and in a Custom Mode individual setting. I felt little difference in either available mode, but either brake feel mode felt easy to get to grips with.

Just like how it’s easy for the Pirelli PZero all-seasons to get to grips with, well, the road and getting this roughly 4,600-pound brute to stick to the tarmac. I’d prefer a more eco-minded tire over what I’d call overkill, as I’m sure most normal buyers would, but this is dandy. The Pirellis, low center of gravity, clever suspension tuning, and 50/50 weight distribution result in an enjoyable driving experience, even when well out of the environment most Ioniq 6s will call home.

Want some extra spice with that spunk? Turn on the powertrain noises, and let them ramp up through the nonexistent rev band as they activate a Star Wars hyperdrive-like sound once you get up there in speed. For an added challenge, try braking using only the regen paddle shifters. Let the brain rot take hold, and you might actually think you’re engine braking. Man, the Koreans sure do know how to have fun with even their more sedate and mature cars.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 Limited AWD
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco
What’s not?– Polarizing styling
– Fastback roofline may impede rear-seat headroom for taller occupants
– Range is only okay in Limited AWD guise
– Plasticky interior
– Ride quality would be better with smaller wheels
– Laughable “frunk”

A masterful display of quality at an agreeable price

The Ioniq 6 exudes confidence without being egregious. Yes, there’s a sea of plastics, but they’re tightly bound and styled in an efficient yet attractive manner that appeals to both the tech-savvy and the traditionalists. It’s comfortable and can be more so if you step down in trim and wheel diameter. Its range isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s plenty for most metropolises and, as I’ve proven, has the potential to yield more than its EPA rating. The Ioniq 6 is surefooted and surprisingly fun when flogged just a wee bit, and everything blends together in a well-executed and cohesive manner that’s becoming less common in cars nowadays.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 Limited AWD
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

The Ioniq 6 isn’t necessarily the definitive commuter car for me, but I can easily see it being the definitive commuter car for many. Rarely do I see present-day cars this likable right off the bat without pulling any sort of rabbit out of its hat to draw our attention away from any glaring deal-breakers. The Ioniq 6 doesn’t have to because it has no deal-breakers, except maybe having to rely on stupid Electrify America until Hyundai follows in Volkswagen’s steps and the revised Model 3 promising improved quality and performance at competitive pricing that’s tough to ignore.

However, in a refreshing turn of events, here’s an EV that’s not jingling keys for investors and hype beasts. Instead, here’s an EV that’s just an excellent car by an excellent company that’s still going through the glow-up of the century.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 Limited AWD
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

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Hyundai Kona N
Used Car Reviews

The Hyundai Kona N is a superb used car bargain for those who can’t afford a Macan

On the first day, Albert Biermann created the Hyundai N division so that Korea may have the means to stand up to its incessant German and Japanese rivals. On the second day, Biermann created the Veloster N so that Road & Track staffers’ heads may explode in ecstasy over Korea’s newfound affinity for affordable driving dynamics. On the third, he crafted the Elantra N so that I could go to the mall for Donut Media stuff (no, seriously). And on the fourth, he spawned the Hyundai Kona N so that young urbanites and small families may, too, experience the wonders of burble tunes and dual-clutch gearboxes.

Alas, the Kona is a relatively new face in a saturated segment, having only begun life in 2017 and the N joining the lineup in 2021. A second-gen car had only recently appeared as of 2023, yet the Kona has proven to be a favorable choice and a hot seller among buyers. Heck, all of Hyundai has proven favorable in recent years. So, how about a used one? Is a used Hyundai Kona N worth the coin for that discerning enthusiast who may be looking for a sporty daily or a higher-riding alternative to the typical GTI? Hmm, let’s see.

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Hyundai Kona N
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

(Author’s Note: Special thanks and shoutout to my friend for loaning her 11,000-mile Kona N for a couple of afternoons to gather driving impressions.)

Price and specs

The Kona N sold with an MSRP of roughly $35,000 before taxes and fees, approaching a base model GR Corolla or a loaded Subaru BRZ tS. However, unlike those two, the Kona offers a taller seating position and more ground clearance for the urban rally stage and, for better or worse, front-wheel drive with an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox only. Like the Elantra N, the Kona shares its 2.0-liter turbocharged heart that spews out a healthy 286 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque, enabling 0-60 in as quick as 4.8 seconds. At roughly 3,340 pounds, the Kona N is just a touch heavier than the Elantra but about on par, if not a bit lighter, than a current-gen Subaru WRX.

New prices (2024):$34,950
Approximate used prices:$24,000 to $30,000
Engines choices:2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four
Transmission choices:8-speed dual-clutch automatic
Drivetrain choices:Front-wheel drive
Power:286 horsepower
Torque:289 pound-feet
0-to-60 mph:4.8 seconds
1/4-mile:13.4 seconds @ 105 mph
MPG:20 city, 27 highway, 23 combined
Fuel capacity:13.2 gallons
(Author’s Note: Performance numbers reflected in Car and Driver’s review from July 2022)

Not bad for a family crossover, and fuel economy is quite good by performance car standards, if unremarkable by crossover standards or four-cylinder cars in general. But by eyeing the N model in particular, you ought to know what you’re getting into. It’s a family car built to go from Namyang to the Nürburgring, not just the elementary school to Costco. Kona Ns are fairly well-appointed, featuring CarPlay and Android Auto, built-in GPS navigation, heated seats, a digital gauge cluster, and single-zone automatic climate control.

No sunroof or all-wheel drive options are available, but all Kona Ns are backed by Hyundai’s generous and well-received five-year, 60,000-mile basic and 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranties. One whole decade. Given the Kona N’s infantile age compared to other sport compacts, this warranty ought to still be well within its timer and of great use to prospective buyers for years to come.

What’s hot?– Unmistakably fast
– Corners like a champ despite tall height
– Snappy, smart-shifting dual-clutch programming
– Ergonomic interior with comfortable seating
– Eager, playful demeanor
– Quick-responding, easy-to-reach infotainment

First-generation Kona N and the only N so far (2022 to 2023)

Hyundai Kona N
Image credit: Hyundai

Huzzah! There she be. The first-gen and, so far, only-gen Kona N, running for only two years in the United States with pretty much no major revisions or additions, only to be snuffed out by the arrival of a new-gen Kona, which more closely follows Hyundai’s current design philosophy. All Kona Ns, like my tester, are specced exactly the same: turbo-four ganger routing 286 horsepower through an 8-speed DCT to the front wheels only. Your options are colors and any available dealer accessories. And then there’s that super angular love-it-or-hate-it styling that grows on you after a while.

Second-generation Kona with no N model as of yet (2024 to present)

Hyundai Kona N-Line
Image credit: Hyundai

You’d be hard-pressed to believe the outgoing N is a Kona if you’ve only seen the new generation or be dumbfounded thinking the new one is a Kona if you’ve only seen the first generation. The new Kona sports standout styling akin to an Ioniq having a child with a Genesis, complete with front and rear light bars and the Elantra’s signature “Z” body lines carved into the doors. The outgoing Kona is also a significantly smaller car as the new model grows an inch in height, an inch in width, seven inches in length, and over two inches in wheelbase, all in the name of cabin space and refinement. While there’s no full-on N model yet, there is the peppy, 190-horsepower N-Line, but the increased size translates to increased weight, which has reportedly taken a toll on handling and performance. This presents a challenge for any future N variant to overcome, but it’s certainly nothing Biermann’s crew can’t handle, should they decide to make one.

Review round-up

Existing for only two model years, it’s tricky to gauge the Kona N’s long-term reliability. But I’ll take the internet’s word that the Hyundai N family, in general, is usually nothing short of bulletproof. Some higher-mile examples across CarGurus barely crest 60,000 miles, just timing out of their basic warranties but still well within their powertrain warranties. Perhaps the biggest complaint about an N is that it can be a little raucous to those unprepared to saddle themselves with something so focused and over the top compared to a run-of-the-mill Kona, Elantra, or Veloster. To some, the ride can still be a tad too firm, even in the softest settings, but thankfully, the Kona is graced with a comfort seat option that Elantras don’t get, and Velosters no longer offer.

Hyundai Kona N
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

The Hyundai’s grip is stupendous, and the wheel transmits steady chatter from the road, such that you feel in your hands when the pavement abruptly transitions from smooth and fresh on the North Carolina side to patched and parched in Tennessee. Detecting that we’re up to some hijinks, the Kona’s N Track Sense Shift transmission software starts aggressively downshifting for corners and holding gears to redline all on its own.

Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver instrumented test, July 2022

Around town, there can be a little head toss with the suspension in its firmer Sport mode, but the crossover is otherwise perfectly poised. Hitting our local canyon road, we were continually amazed by the grip levels. No matter how much we turned the steering wheel or otherwise tried to induce slip, it just never gave up traction. The Kona N simply sticks and goes no matter how hard you try to break its resolve. It’s unflappable.

Bob Hernandez, Motor Trend instrumented test, August 2022

The Kona N makes for a compelling solution to these hollow excuses [saying one can’t have an enthusiast car because it sacrifices practicality]. It’s small enough to parallel park in New York City, practical enough for a shopping spree, and economical enough that I didn’t feel like I was breaking the bank, even as I filled up with premium gas. 

Aaron Segal, The Drive review, September 2022

Driving the Kona N spiritedly on back roads is fun. It’s super quick. You get grippy Pirelli summer tires (miraculously, still on my test car in November), relatively spot-on steering and a lot of feedback from the road. But unlike a GTI or a Type R, it doesn’t feel ironed over at all. You have a high center of gravity and a short wheelbase — 4.5 inches shorter than the Elantra N’s — which adds up to less stability. Normally-smoothed-out features like torque steer, body roll and tires scrambling for grip are readily apparent.

Tyler Duffy, Gear Patrol review, December 2022

The Kona N is only going to make sense to a certain subset of people. Those people will really, really love it. It seems like Hyundai’s attempt to give us a hot hatchback in a shape that the market is really into right now, the compact SUV. As a former GTI owner, the Kona N still has some of the same characteristics of the GTI and other hot hatchbacks of days gone by: a practical shape for folding down the rear seats and shoving in a bike or a dresser on occasion, a reasonably small footprint, and performance numbers that will shock people who judge cars by their badge. The Kona is just a lot less subtle about all of it. The styling is good looking but definitely not understated,

Consumer review on 2022 Kona N, Kelly Blue Book

While all of this is great, what really brings it all home for me is the day to day livability, and in this regard I think the Kona N has a leg up on the Elantra N, which I’ve also driven. The seats are great. They hold you in but don’t feel too stiff, and the leather/suede combination (I’m not sure if they’re real or imitation materials, but they feel great) is nice. While the interior won’t be confused for a luxury car, it feels solidly built and all the touch points are nice enough that the car never feels cheap. All of the lighted interior parts illuminate in blue as well, which is a cool touch that people don’t seem to be talking about. As a daily driver it really gets the job done, and you can fit four average sized adults in it no problem… Although people above six feet will probably struggle in the back seat, so keep that in mind.

Consumer review on 2022 Kona N, cars.com

I wanted a car that was functional but also very fun to drive. In comes the Hyundai Kona N. It’s not your typical CUV, it has a drivetrain that can be found in the Touring America TC race series Hyundai Elantra and Veloster. I can tote around my mom and her wheel chair while having fun carving the mountain roads (safely of course).

Consumer review on 2023 Kona N, cars.com

This car is a hoot to drive, and it also causes lots of glances over as you tear away from other cars when you are simply just driving around. Even in Eco mode the exhaust has some nice notes. The only issue is the suspension, but that should be expected given that this is a track-ready car.

Consumer review on 2022 Kona N, cars.com

Again, the standout complaint seems to be an overly stiff ride, which varies from person to person. More on ride quality in my driving impressions. And again, reliability talk seems to take a back seat as the cars are too new to have many nasty gremlins rear their ugly heads. But if magazine long-term tests and social media banter about other N cars are anything to go off, reliability should be of little concern to prospective owners, with little-to-no major hiccups reported and only a few people experiencing odd flukes that were never replicated. Car and Driver’s Veloster N long-term car experienced an unknown electric fluke that a computer reflash solved, and it never appeared again.

If anything, forums have reported a few high-pressure fuel pump failures with track-driven or heavily modified Veloster Ns, but some users are quick to note that these are uncommon occurrences and that Hyundai has otherwise made big strides in the reliability of its entire lineup. Buyers should also note if the cars they’re shopping for have had a particular recall, Safety Recall 236, regarding the 8-speed DCT resolved or not.

Driving impressions

The cool parent’s crossover

Well, how does the “broke-person Macan” drive? Out-freaking-standing, I say.

In Normal and Eco drive modes (and paying zero attention to the paddle shifters and NGS button whatsoever), you’d be hard-pressed to believe it’s anything other than a solid, well-appointed compact crossover with hefty-ish steering. The tiny size, outstanding visibility, and taller ride height versus normal hot hatches make the Kona N one of the better daily driver options for urban car enthusiasts. CarPlay works like a charm, as does the built-in GPS nav, and the digital gauges are legible.

Most appealing has to be the comfort seats, which retain enough bolstering for spirited drives but with more padding for long hauls versus the Elantra N’s rock-hard buckets. They do a commendable job helping to iron out road imperfections, the harshness of which I find to be a bit overblown in other reviews, as the softest modes aren’t terribly stiff. Sure, it’s firm, partly due to the short wheelbase, and downsizing from the factory 19-inch wheels to 18s would also help, but it’s still totally livable. That is if you’re accustomed to a Focus RS or F80 BMW M3, I must say. Perhaps I’d say otherwise in torn and battered places like Salt Lake City, Reno, or parts of SoCal.

Interior materials are unremarkable econobox stuff, easily showing this once-$35,000-car’s $25,000 roots. Plastics are abundant, but they’re tightly bound and devoid of creaks, at least in my near 11,000-mile loaner. Fuel economy is so-so, as well. The average economy readout of my friend’s car indicated a hair below 24 mpg, which is on track considering the Kona N’s also-mid EPA ratings. Hey, it’s a hot hatch, folks! That 13.2-gallon tank should keep fill-ups relatively cheap, and they make a Kona Hybrid, anyway.

Road-going rally car

Like the Elantra N, the Kona N is a bonafide ripper and eager to take anything you throw at it with glee and ferocity, from sweeping corners to tight hairpins. It feels every bit of its M-influenced heritage and makes great use of its 289 pound-feet of torque, nudging you into your seat on every pull. The DCT is geared short and shifts snappily, always keeping you in the meat of your powerband during pulls. Manual paddle response is quick, but the gearbox is smart enough in Drive where you can leave it to its own devices, and you’d be just fine.

In German car fashion, the exhaust blats and snorts on downshifts and lift-off and changes tone between Sport/N modes and lesser modes, shifting from “kind-of sporty crossover” to “wannabe rally car.” Also in German car fashion, the engine pulls butter smooth, or at least as smooth as it can be for premium hot hatch pricing.

Hyundai Kona N
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Baby Porsche Macan? In this regard, sure.

But the most Porsche-like attribute one could point out is just how sharp and confident the Kona N is once you turn that big round thing in front of your face. Sure, it’s fast. But many sport compacts these days are fast. Few are as connected and razor-sharp as this, even with its ground clearance and humble family ute beginnings. After sampling this and the Elantra, I can say that Honda’s performance car steering is better. But Hyundai isn’t far behind. The steering weighs up nicely on turn-in, and the overall weighting is appreciably hefty in Sport, although the lightness in Normal mode feels more authentic to what the Kona N really is without sacrificing accuracy.

Speaking of which, the modes appreciably make a considerable difference. It’s not a case of, “Oh, it’s a little sharper or a little stiffer than earlier.” No. Sport and Normal really are transformative, from the steering to the exhaust and the tuning of the engine and diff, bouncing between a firm family crossover with sporty steering and nothing else and a true driver’s car.

Hyundai Kona N
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Thankfully, the Kona shares its stablemates’ N buttons, allowing drivers to custom tailor their experiences to have riotous engines but soft suspension or a more or less aggressive e-LSD mode. Keep the Kona N in its softer suspension settings, and you can tackle most tattered canyon roads without worrying about upsetting the chassis or your passenger spilling their drink in their lap… Ask me how I know. Custom drive modes for the win.

And yeah. It’s a sport compact in 2024. If you want to add extra go, grip, or glamor, there’s a sizable aftermarket ready to take your money, as the local Hyundai N clubs have proven.

What’s not?– Firm ride to some, especially in sportier drive modes
– Unremarkable fuel economy
– Unremarkable cargo space
– Might be cramped for taller individuals
– Front-wheel drive only
– Fuel pump concerns for modified or track-driven N cars

Should you buy a used Hyundai Kona N?

So. Baby Porsche Macan. Broke Porsche Macan. Blue-collar Porsche Macan. Am I crazy for making all these Porsche comparisons? Yeah, probably. It’s far from a real Porsche. But that should speak to how enjoyable the Kona N is to even think of such a brand when you start to egg this little guy on. It’s a silly endeavor, turning a Crosstrek fighter into a track-ready hot hatch on stilts. But Hyundai did it. And Hyundai wound up with one of the most enjoyable compromises in the affordable performance car market, even if it only stuck around for a couple of years.

Hyundai Kona N
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Should you buy one? You can probably guess what my answer is and the answer of any auto journo or previous owner. The question you need to ask yourself is if you can deal with the compact size and cargo area typical of this class. Is this doable, or do you need something to haul more than one or two medium-sized things from IKEA? And can you tolerate the firm suspension and ho-hum fuel economy in exchange for driving enjoyment at any opportunity? The Kona N is still indeed a usable family crossover, but it’s one Hyundai twisted and bastardized into the antithesis of an HOA Karen’s ideal SUV and a car lover’s dream (affordable) daily driver. If that sounds even the least bit appealing, then have at it, and pick yourself up one of the most unique and lovable gifts to the automotive world since, well, the last two Ns.

Keep Reading

At $239/month, the Hyundai Ioniq 6 is an electric car bargain

Riiight. Let’s not beat around the bush. Cheap electric cars (plus infrastructure) are what we need for widespread adoption of the breed, but the market seems scarce on any super appealing options. Sure, the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range, Chevy Bolt family, and Nissan Leaf are effective and dandy vehicles, but they’re not really model citizens in style, quality, or character, and the Fiat 500e is still on its way. We need more, I say! Well, Hyundai seems like it’s here to help since you can now score their Ioniq 6 EV for as low as a $239-a-month lease. Two-three-nine. Sick.

Hyundai Ioniq 6
Image credit: Hyundai

For reference, a comparable Model 3 can be leased for as low as $329 nowadays. Late last year, Bolts were leased for $299. And Polestar is currently advertising Polestar 2 leases for as low as $379. At an econobox-rivaling $239, the swoopy-droopy-looking Ioniq 6 has been making headlines and fueling social media banter for being the cheapest EV lease on the market today, creating an alluring deal for urbanites searching for a solidly built, comfortable, and stylish electric car devoid of egg-inspired aesthetics or questionable leadership ethics.

The stipulations are just as intriguing as the payment itself, leading to some questioning its validity and whether it’s all some pending April Fool’s prank that we’re bracing for. $0 down. 24 months. Mileage not disclosed. Still, not bad for two years with one of the more well-received grocery getters currently on sale. Alternatively, SE AWDs will lease for $349 for $349 down, while SEL AWDs will go for $449 for $449; both deals run for 24 months, should you care. Perhaps the biggest catch is that prospective lessees must act fast, as the deal expires on April 1.

The Ioniq 6 isn’t a bad car, either. With an MSRP of $42,450 for the SE trim and $50,150 for the Limited trim before incentives or fees, it’s not the most expensive nor the cheapest EV to buy. Rear-drive Long Range variants output 225 horsepower and 258 pound-feet, which is good for 0-60 in roughly six seconds and a Hyundai-estimated range of 361 miles. Dual-motor all-wheel drive saps range down to 316 miles but boosts performance to 320 ponies and 446 pound-feet. Non-Long Range variants make do with 305 miles of range while driving only the rear wheels or 270 miles with all-wheel drive. Battery capacity is either 53 or 77.4 kWh, depending on the range variant. In the unavoidable looks department, its fastback silhouette is clearly inspired by the likes of the Mercedes CLA and CLS, and its compact footprint makes it a sweetheart in urban commuting. The “borderline luxurious” interior, as described by Motor Trend, is typical Hyundai, which is to say modern, ergonomic, and totally functional.

Hurry and cop one quick if you’re in the market! April Fool’s is just around the corner. A shame such a good thing can’t stick around forever, especially for something that’s a fresh break from the bottomless sea of Teslas and Priuses. But that’s life and the cruel, cruel world of the auto industry.

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2024 Hyundai Santa Fe
New Car Reviews

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe first drive review: Finally, some personality (and a third row)

Every previous iteration of the Hyundai Santa Fe has been perfectly acceptable, but only the bargain-priced, V6-powered first-gen crossover raised any eyebrows. Since then, the South Korean utility player has been content to provide its owners with adequate driving dynamics, decent packaging, and a great warranty, as is the trend with Korean automakers in general lately. As for individuality, well, the Santa Fe was about as forgettable as they come.

That changes with the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe. One need look no further than the bold, pixelated styling for proof of personality. In the name of detail, the boxy crossover now features a standard turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder, three rows of seats, extensive technology, and a surprisingly rugged XRT trim level. Hyundai’s wallflower is blooming and bloomin’ great.

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe
Image credit: Hyundai

Price and specs

Base price:$35,345
Price as-tested: $49,695 (Santa Fe Calligraphy AWD)
Engine choices:2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four
Transmission choices:8-speed dual-clutch automatic
Drivetrain choices:Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive
Horsepower:277 horsepower 
Torque:311 pound-feet
Weight:4,486 pounds
Towing capacity:3,000 pounds, 4,500 pounds (XRT)
Cargo space:14.6 (third row up), 40.5 (third row down), 79.6 cubic feet (third and second row down)
MPG:20 city,  29 highway, 24 combined (FWD), 20 city, 28 highway,  23 combined (AWD), 19 city, 26 highway, 22 combined (AWD XRT)
Fuel capacity:17.7 gallons

What’s new?

Eight-bit styling

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe is an all-new design, sharing little with its predecessor. Numbers? It rides on a 110.8-inch wheelbase, up two over the old Santa Fe, and overall length is up by 1.8 to 190.2 inches total. The new, so-called MX5 platform—no relation to the Mazda roadster, obvi—also gives the Santa Fe a shorter front and longer rear overhang, which is good news for cargo space.

Hyundai made the most of that larger footprint by giving its mid-size SUV a boxier, more upright design. The square rear end provides the Santa Fe 40.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row, up from 36.3 on the previous version, and the liftgate opening is a staggering 5.7 inches wider and 2.0 inches taller. There’s also a standard third-row seat, with a surprisingly healthy 14.6 cubes of cargo room with all the rear seats in place. Overall interior room is class-leading, beating out the five-seat Honda Passport and Subaru Outback, as well as the seven-seat Kia Sorento.

The cubist exterior looks nothing like any other Hyundai before it. “We want our cars to look like a chess set, not Russian nesting dolls,” said Hyundai North America Head of Design, Kevin Kang. The rook of the group gets a bluff front end, H-pattern daytime running lights, vertical roof pillars, and funky-cool gloss black wheel arch surrounds that make the fenders look beveled and square. To top it all off—literally—there’s a battlement of roof rails standing tall and proud. Despite this squared-off design, the Santa Fe achieves a commendable 0.29 coefficient of drag thanks to air curtains in the front bumper and clever underbody aero management. 

Handsome, tech-focused interior

Inside, the Santa Fe looks a lot like other Hyundai products, especially the top-trim Calligraphy model with its matching 12.3-inch screens for both the instrument cluster and infotainment system. The instrument panel is very rectilinear à la Ioniq 6, although there’s some clear Range Rover influence in the four-spoke steering wheel. The tech suite is familiar, but Hyundai did add one crucial improvement. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have finally arrived on the automaker’s larger infotainment screen, made all the better with a pair of wireless chargers located side by side on the console.

Other new tech features include a more advanced version of Digital Key that no longer requires the driver to hold their phone up to the door to unlock or to the dashboard to start the Santa Fe—now you can just leave your phone in your pocket or bag, just like a proximity keyfob. Furthermore, Hyundai promises that Bluelink services will be free with no expiration for the original owner, a nice break from the subscription paywall that some automakers are erecting. Bluelink includes safety alerts and maintenance reminders, as well as smartphone-connected remote start, locking, and unlocking. It’ll also allow owners to set valet and teen-driver parameters for a little extra security and control.

In front of the passenger are three distinct storage areas: an enclosed bin on the dash fascia (with a UV-C sanitizing system on the Calligraphy), a conventional glovebox, and an open slot in between the two. There’s also a floating center console with storage underneath, a dual-action cubby armrest that both front and rear passengers can access, and a drawer-style bin for the second row. Add it all up, and there are plenty of places to stash road snacks, phones, wallets, pocketbooks, handbags, etc. Two USB-C ports appear everywhere on the console, with two more on the front seatbacks for second-row passengers. The third row even gets its own 120-volt inverter to keep devices charged.

Newly standard power and performance

Mechanically, the Santa Fe is hugely improved over its predecessor. For now, the only powertrain available is a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder, making 277 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque and mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard on the SE, SEL, Limited, and Calligraphy trims, with all-wheel drive available as a $1,800 option; the ruggedized XRT trim gets it standard, appropriately enough.

That XRT, by the way, offers Hyundai’s first-ever factory-fit set of all-terrain tires. It also gets 8.3 inches of ground clearance (up from the standard Santa Fe’s 7.0 inches), giving it more under-car room than the Kia Sorento X-Line and Honda Passport Trailsport—though the Subaru Outback still wins with 8.7 inches of ground clearance. The XRT doesn’t include an off-road driving mode, but Hyundai retuned the stability and traction controls for rough-road duty. The Santa Fe’s all-wheel-drive system allows for a 50:50 center differential lock, which is not always common in modern crossovers. 

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe
Image credit: Hyundai

Within the next few months, Hyundai will release the Santa Fe Hybrid, which will be offered in SEL, Limited, and Calligraphy trims. The electrified crossover will combine a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder, 44.2-kilowatt electric motor, and 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery to produce a total of 231 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, as is front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is again a $1,800 option.

What’s it like to drive?

On the open road

Thanks to the crisp-shifting eight-speed DCT and torque-rich engine, the Santa Fe gets up to speed smoothly and quietly. With more than 4,000 pounds to haul around, the powertrain isn’t outrageously fast, but I never felt concerned about making quick two-lane passes on hilly Tennessee backroads. The newly standard turbo engine is a huge upgrade over the 191-horsepower atmospheric 2.5-liter on the old Santa Fe, which felt lethargic when asked to hustle. 

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe
Image credit: Hyundai

Hyundai paid special attention to noise insulation, knowing that the boxier interior would naturally be more susceptible to booming noises. Yet, even over gritty pavement or gravel, the cabin remains serene and quiet, and the ride is well-damped and smooth. At freeway speeds, wind noise is generally well-controlled, although the elevated roof rails may have contributed to some rushing sounds I heard when traveling above 75 miles per hour. Only the pickiest ears will take umbrage, though.

The front row is very comfortable, especially on the Calligraphy trim that includes heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, a litany of power adjustments, and lovely Nappa leather upholstery. My driving position never felt quite right, and I found myself wishing the telescoping steering wheel would extend further so I wouldn’t have to scoot closer to the pedals. What’s more, the helm’s angle is slightly bus-like; when adjusted so I could see the entire gauge cluster, I felt like the wheel was angled toward my shoulders, not my chest. Still, I grew accustomed to the reach-rake after several minutes and never felt achy or uncomfortable in my four hours behind the wheel. 

The front right seat of the Calligraphy gets all the same comfort and adjustability as the driver, and occupants of the second-row captain’s chairs enjoy fore-aft and recline adjustments, deployable armrests, and a supportive seat profile to get themselves perfectly situated. The third row is small, and anyone measuring above five feet tall will get intimately acquainted with their knees on a long drive. But for kids, short distances, and emergency carpool situations, the standard way-back is a nice feature to have.

The confident ride begins to erode somewhat as the pace quickens, with some noticeable body lean in sweeping corners. But arguing about quick transitions in a family crossover is decidedly silly, so I’ll just say that the Santa Fe’s competent, sedate handling will inspire neither fear nor enthusiasm. Ditto the feather-light, accurate, and numb steering. It’ll do the job just fine, and that’s all one could expect.

Out in the woods

After several hours in a Calligraphy, I swapped into a Santa Fe XRT for a quick 30-minute jaunt on some of Tennessee’s easier off-road trails. Like other all-wheel-drive Santa Fes, the XRT has downhill assist control and the aforementioned locking center differential, but the real party piece is the all-terrain rubber sourced from Continental. The added ground clearance is a nice boon as well, imparting a bit more driver confidence when traversing the rough stuff.

The first segment of the off-road course was relatively easy, but the second portion included some rivulet crossings that maxed out the Santa Fe’s relatively limited articulation and left a front or a rear wheel hanging in the air. Here, Hyundai’s retuned stability control came good by letting me keep my foot on the throttle and letting the software send power to the wheels on the ground instead of the one in the air. Hard-core off-roading would require a low-range transfer case and more wheel travel, but a fire road or mountain trail needn’t deter the XRT driver from finding that perfect campsite or fishing hole.

A family SUV with some attitude

Whether choosing the value-oriented SE, the loaded Calligraphy, the ruggedized XRT, or anything in between, the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe is an impressive three-row crossover. Its starting price of $35,345, including destination, is dearer than that of the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Subaru’s Forester, and Outback, but the Hyundai is vastly more powerful and spacious than those products. Compared to the $42k-and-change Honda Passport, the Santa Fe is both torquier, cheaper, and more efficient, and it offers more cargo room behind the second row and the convenience of a third row when needed. 

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe
Image credit: Hyundai

Beyond those left-brain attributes, the Hyundai Santa Fe is also interesting to look at. It’s quiet and smooth on the open road, and it appeals differently from its predecessors. No longer bland and blasé, it is yet another boldly styled and well-executed product from the South Korean brand.

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Plugging in a 2023 Hyundai Nexo at a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) station

CES 2024: Hyundai has high hopes for hydrogen – even in the U.S.

After a couple of failed attempts to sell the Toyota Mirai and the Honda Clarity, it’s safe to say the hydrogen-based fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) hasn’t taken off here in the U.S. It doesn’t help that the only fueling stations are in California, where both the Mirai and the more recent Hyundai Nexo are exclusively sold, and that the infrastructure is otherwise nonexistent in the rest of the country. Still, Hyundai has big plans for hydrogen, including using it to power homes and businesses.

The Korean automaker said its hydrogen solutions include commercial trucks and buses, trams, heavy equipment, ships, generators, and air mobility. FCEVs use the element to generate electricity, which can then power an electric motor. Where burning fossil fuels creates carbon and all sorts of nasty emissions, water is the only byproduct of using hydrogen to generate electricity.

As part of its growth strategy, the automaker will bolster its supply chains and expand its control over “production, storage, transportation, and utilization.” Hyundai said it has affiliates across the supply chain, which gives it the ability to develop more tailored hydrogen solutions. It believes this structure will accelerate hydrogen adoption and improve technology. Hyundai is also working on capturing hydrogen from environmental pollutants, utilizing plastics that can’t be recycled as well as organic materials like food waste, livestock manure, and more. 

While Hyundai is testing its hydrogen ambitions in other countries, in the States, it’s using the technology to help build its next EV factory. The Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America in Georgia is under construction and will employ the automaker’s Clean Logistics Project, which focuses on building hydrogen infrastructure and supply chains. Once it’s up and running, the factory will also use Xcient Fuel Cell tractors to manage logistics as it heads toward its goal of producing 300,000 EVs annually.

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2017 Kia Rio front quarter view

Hyundai and Kia will recall over 3 million vehicles due to engine fire risk

Hold your horses on that used Kia or Hyundai purchase! A combined 3.37 million Hyundais and Kias from the previous decade are being recalled due to reports of an engine fire risk. Owners are being instructed to park outside and away from structures until repairs are completed. Such news of the Korean duo comes courtesy of a filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as detailed below.

Owners of the approximately 1.64 million select Hyundai and Genesis vehicles listed below should park their vehicles outside and away from homes until their vehicles have been repaired, due to a new recall for the risk of fire.

Hyundai’s safety recall (NHTSA ID: 23V-651000) applies to the following vehicles and model years: 2012-2015 Accent, 2012-2015 Azera, 2011-2015 Elantra, 2013-2015 Elantra Coupe, 2014-2015 Equus, 2011-2015 Genesis Coupe, 2013-2015 Santa Fe, 2013 Santa Fe Sport, 2011-2015 Sonata HEV, 2010-2013 Tucson, 2015 Tucson Fuel Cell, 2012-2015 Veloster and 2010-2012 Veracruz. 

Owners of the approximately 1.73 million select Kia vehicles listed below should also park their vehicles outside and away from homes until their vehicles have been repaired.

Kia’s safety recall (NHTSA ID: 23V-652000) applies to the following vehicles and model years: 2014-2016 Cadenza, 2011-2013 Forte/Forte Koup, 2015-2017 K900, 2010-2015 Optima, 2011-2013 Optima Hybrid, 2011-2017 Rio, 2010 Rondo, 2011-2014 Sorento, 2011-2013 Soul and 2010-2013 Sportage. 

The vehicle’s anti-lock brake system module could leak brake fluid internally and cause an electrical short. An electrical short could result in significant overcurrent in the ABS module, increasing the risk of an engine compartment fire while driving or parked.   

2015 Kia Optima front quarter view
Image: Kia

As reported by NHTSA, the engine fire risk is a matter of potential brake fluid leaks, which can lead to an electrical short, causing a fire. Hyundai has announced its plans to inform owners to have their ABS module fuse replaced at a local dealer. Owners should follow instructions to refrain from driving their Hyundai or Kia unless they bring it to their dealer to remedy.

Thankfully, this shouldn’t affect new buyers or used car buyers shopping for some Korean metal from the last few years. According to the release, the engine fire recall seems to only affect Kias from 2010 to 2017 and Hyundais from 2011 to 2015. So new buyers are, in theory, safe. But that’s still a fat chunk of cars to call back for a wellness check.

Such a recall is sure to blemish the reputations of the highly respected pair who have worked tirelessly to transcend their past associations with mediocrity with genuinely compelling products. This is especially disconcerting given how brake fluid, while flammable, is rarely ever a cause for car fires. But then again, this isn’t the first instance of widespread modern car fires, and it surely won’t be the last.

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2023 Hyundai Elantra N parked in the desert
New Car Reviews

2023 Hyundai Elantra N review: shattering Korean sports sedan stereotypes

Stop! Shut up for a sec. About this Hyundai Elantra N, you’re telling me the same company that made shitpile Sonatas back in the day is now selling a near-300-horsepower rocket sled with a stick or dual-clutch, handling to shame a 3 Series, and over 30 mpg on the freeway for under thirty-five grand?


But such is the 2023 Hyundai Elantra N. Once again, we receive yet another wonderfully unexpected gift from South Korea, like spa-grade skin care products and squid ink corndogs. We know it’s going to be good. Downright grand, even, especially given the now-defunct Veloster N, whose heart plus some bones were transplanted here. But just how good are we talking? Because in this segment, it doesn’t just pay to be merely good. 

For some time now, the sport compact breed has been an endangered species, a category of driver’s cars occupied by pan flashes of greatness and slivers of hope for the blue-collar enthusiast. Hyundai’s continued participation is nothing short of a breath of fresh air. But it takes serious performance cred to make an impact nowadays, something the Elantra N’s forebearer had no issue with doing. With the Veloster gone, the Elantra carries the torch as Hyundai’s champion in the category and all the expectations that go with it.

Thankfully, the Elantra N, with all that weight on its shoulders, was eager to show its true colors during three days of SoCal adventuring. This Hyundai had a lot to prove. And boy, were there some things to show for it.

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Jeric Jaleco

2023 Elantra N price and specs

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Lo and behold! The Elantra N does indeed boasts fairly admirable numbers. To summarize in one sentence, the N occupies a niche directly beneath Civic Type R, Volkswagen Golf R, GR Corolla, and the deceased Focus RS, but its stats are within a breath, if not on par, with all of them. 

  • Base price: $32,900
  • As-tested price: $34,465
  • Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four
  • Transmission: 8-speed DCT (as-tested) // 6-speed manual
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • HP: 276 horsepower (286 with overboost) @ 6,000 rpm
  • Torque: 289 pound-feet @ 2,100 rpm
  • Redline: 6,700 rpm
  • Weight: approx. 3,300 pounds (8DCT) //  approx. 3,200 pounds (6MT)
  • 0 – 60 mph: 4.8 seconds (8DCT) //  5.1 seconds (6MT)
  • ¼-mile: 13.4 seconds @ 106 mph (8DCT) // 13.8 seconds @ 103 mph (6MT)
  • MPG: 20 city, 30 highway, 23 combined (8DCT) // 22 city, 31 highway, 25 combined (6MT)
  • Observed MPG: 30.4 mpg
  • Fuel Capacity: 12.4 gallons

(Author’s Note: Performance numbers were pulled from Car and Driver, recorded in its review from July 2023)

2023 Hyundai Elantra N design

Yes, yes, yes, I get it. It’s a little ugly. It’d be a Catfish Camaro if witches hexed the Alpha-platform cars into being compact sports sedans. The Legend of Zorro body lines are love-it-or-hate-it. Oh, and the ZL1 called and asked for its pedestal spoiler back. However, that face is quite pretty if you sit it next to, let’s say,  a G80 BMW M3

But I’ll give them this. It’s interesting.

Jeric Jaleco

The Elantra N and I suppose the Elantra, as a whole, is a more aggressive and eye-catching shape than most econoboxes, hotted-up or not. And I wouldn’t say it’s egregious either, just strange in an almost-concept car sort of way. The 2024 model does clean up the face and is right around the corner.

With the Hyundai N touches, including the red accents and sharp wheels that appear as though they were plucked right off an Audi S7, this Elantra does look at home on canyon roads or sitting pretty at a Donut Media pop-up meet.

Jeric Jaleco

2023 Hyundai Elantra N colors

Right. Colors. Welp, you get a whopping five. Hyundai offered an extroverted shade of red but discontinued the color.

There aren’t any tasteless or gaudy hues, but they’re not exciting either. Although, it does match the mature and modern aesthetic of the Elantra N, especially when contrasting against the red on the badging, brake calipers, and side skirts. The white on my test car was the understated-yet-handsome choice, but Performance Blue is the definite power move.

The only choice for interior colors is a dreary black, which makes a slight but appreciable attempt at contrast via bright gauge colors in the digital display and an ambient light bar across the dash.

Exterior paint colors

  • White: $450
  • Performance Blue: $450
  • Intense Blue: $0
  • Cyber Gray: $0
  • Phantom Black: $0
Jeric Jaleco

2023 Hyundai Elantra N price

If gushy first impressions and snazzy shots don’t ruffle your feathers, maybe the price tag will. Amidst Type Rs and Golf Rs deep in the $40K range and even kissing $50K before markup, the Elantra N stickers for an astonishing  $32,900, or a smidge over $34K with handling fees.

For reference, that’s within range of top-shelf trims of the less powerful Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ twins. It’s priced lower than a base Toyota GR Corolla Core but a few thousand more than a base Volkswagen Mk8 Golf GTI. Do with that as you will, but that’s one hell deal given the performance-to-practicality ratio this car delivers, which we’ll ramble about more in just a sec.

Trim levels (before taxes and fees)

  • 6-speed manual: $32,900
  • 8-speed DCT: $34,400

The cars come loaded and stunningly well-equipped for their class, with only minor accessories available, such as wheel locks and roadside safety kits. The only real option is a good old-fashioned stick or the $1,500 rapid-fire wet dual-clutch.

And if we want to bring the used market into the fray, know that this car directly butts heads with Focus RSs and FK8-generation Civic Type Rs of old.

2024 Hyundai Elantra N interior and tech

Fine decor

Auto journos have praised Korean automakers for some time for how much they’ve advanced themselves in the past decade or so, and the Elantra N has rightfully earned the hype. Seriously, let’s get subjective as hell right now. Look at the posh, modern elegance of Genesis luxo barges, Kia SUVs, or even Hyundai econoboxes, and tell me they can’t hold a candle to a Camry or Accord. The freshly-minted notion that Korea will rule the car market has substance behind it, and it starts with where your booty meets with the bolstering. 

The Elantra N rocks an attractive set of heated bucket seats, with holes for harness straps and an illuminated N badge as the cherry on top. Leather bolsters match the perforated leather on the wonderfully-contoured steering wheel and flank a suede bottom cushion and backrest. Physical dual-zone climate controls and a centrally-mounted radio power and volume knob sit beneath the BMW-esque digital gauge/infotainment screen combo.

Jeric Jaleco

Of course, even for nearly $35K as tested, this is still a Hyundai-freaking-Elantra, the diminutive runt of Hyundai’s ranks, or at least not when compared to the Accent or Veloster (rest in peace, little Velo). The N is a compact sedan cut from the same cloth as a Civic, Corolla, or Focus, meaning plenty of hard black plastics, but the Elantra sets itself apart with soft-touch points and materials that at least look premium, even if they aren’t.

The trunk is cavernous enough to hold weekend luggage for a small family, although the red chassis brace means no converting the Elantra N into an awkwardly sleek cargo van. The backseats are plenty spacious with copious legroom, even with the front seats adjusted to accommodate my six-foot passenger. However, the lack of a center armrest and dedicated rear seat climate controls remind occupants of this car’s origins on the Enterprise rental lot. And the roofline and small back door opening raise mild concerns for those with longer torsos. Or bigass foreheads. 

Jeric Jaleco
Jeric Jaleco

Enough tech to quell the Silicon Valley nerds

Equally as useful is Hyundai’s expansive suite of safety aids. Parking cameras with moving guidance lines and sensors are always a godsend in any car, as are blind-spot monitors that illuminate in the mirrors and with a graphic on the gauge cluster screen.

Adaptive cruise control with lane following is present, although I admit I never quite learned how to enable it as easily as I have in other Hyundais. I blame the two hours of sleep I had the day I took delivery. If it works anything like the Santa Cruz I drove with the same feature, I’d say it’s a mostly intelligent and smooth-operating semi-autonomous system but still requires a watchful eye.

As the cherry on top, there’s even an audible chime and visual notification in the cluster when the lead car departs at an intersection. In case, you know, you’re on your phone reading Acceleramota articles or something. Very neat. Very useful. And very much a sign of our increasingly-inattentive society, and pretty soon, we’ll need a notification to check the notification. But I’ll take it!

How well does it do Elantra things?

A (mostly) premium commuting experience on a budget

As you can imagine, all that tech-ladden goodness in this nameplate from a repentant Korean marque experiencing the glow-up of the century equates to one hell of a 9-to-5 shuttle. And that’s the best compliment I can give to any econobox. 

Strip away the N badge and the sharp-colored accents. Take away the hot engine and the gobs of power and just drive this car for what it is at its core, an Elantra, and you’ll be amazed at how far Hyundai has matured. 

While the steering can be a tad hefty, even in its most sedate mode, it’s still well-acquainted with concrete jungles, and the quick ratio lets you dart between lanes and around parking garages with minimal inputs. The ride is mostly compliant in spite of its high-performance nature until you greet some of LA’s worst potholes. Then the firm dampers and thin tire sidewalls can send a frightening crash through the whole car. But that’s a seldom occasion on only the worst of ill-maintained roads, and the body exhibits no signs of quivers.

Jeric Jaleco

Having experienced (and loved) the same tech in a Hyundai Santa Cruz, the tech in the Elantra N expectedly worked without a single hiccup. Wired CarPlay was as brainless as always, but the in-system navigation is no less a piece of cake and features destination searching. The sound system was a literal banger, with the equalizer able to crank out enough bass to earn it a spot at lowrider meets. All sensors and cameras worked flawlessly, and every function within the screen was as intuitive as can be and easy to switch between.

Hey, I said “mostly.”

One minor complaint was that the red illumination of the blind spot monitors in the mirrors was a bit easy to lose in the sun. Thankfully, the gauge cluster notifications more than made up for it and quickly dismissed the need to see the light in the mirrors. 

And not to be that guy, but I will be that guy. Because these bucket seats, as cool as they look and as laterally supportive as they are, kind of suck as a touring seat. I get it. The N is the performance version, but it’s still an Elantra, and its seat comfort is a big strike against its grand touring cred. My local LA friend who accompanied me quipped how he sat in lawn chairs that were more comfortable. Both of us cited the annoying lack of lumbar support or adjustment. 

A slightly nitpickier flop is fuel economy if you go DCT over the stick. You get marginally less fuel mileage despite having more gears. Then again, I’m seriously nitpicking here. And, while you can theoretically hit the EPA-rated 30 mpg, I averaged over 30 during mixed driving of mostly highways, with some city and a wee dash of balls-to-the-wall canyon driving thrown in. Even more fascinating, Car and Driver saw a jaw-dropping 37 during their highway loop. 

Jeric Jaleco

So basically, don’t drive like a total dickbag and then complain about gas mileage. Or better yet, opt for the purists’ stick shift and boost your miles per gallon and your smiles per mile. Your call. Either way, you’re still better off than my Mustang, even on a good day.

Owners ought to consider themselves lucky, as it’s rare a car comes along that’s this good at the split-personality act. If you thought its credentials as a 9-to-5 shuttle were impressive, wait until you get the chance to run for the twisties.

How well does it wear that N badge?

Built by N, blessed by M

And run for the twisties, you must in this car. It should be criminal to buy something like this and never experience it the way former M daddy, Albert Biermann, intended. If the students of Todo School in Fourth Stage were present-day patrons of Korea International Circuit, they’d probably be rocking a fleet of these.

No, the N doesn’t quite seem to have the on-track pretentious of a Focus RS or Type R, nor is it as cutthroat. But there’s also no reason to believe it can’t give them a run for their money at local track days. This thing is a real bully in the canyons but in a composed, calculating manner that evokes memories of Germany’s finest. 

The steering and handling are wonderfully reactive, and the Elantra N just braces for every corner with a sense of enthusiasm found in lighter cars. 3,300 pounds doesn’t mean that much when it can hustle this fast around hairpins and sweepers, thanks to the 245-wide Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires and Hyundai’s electronic limited-slip differential.

Dancing With the Cars

Did you make a mistake and enter too hot? No worries. Just add more steering. Don’t even be afraid to give it a touch of throttle to power out halfway through the corner. The car just rockets around bends with hardly a lick of understeer. You can even get the tail to wag enough for a few giggles with the right amount of trail braking.

This anti-Jetta GLI inspires great confidence, from its performance to feedback and handling characteristics. Thanks to its level of cornering composure and turbo grunt, I beat back a Camaro SS 1LE and beat down a V8 Vantage into giving me a point-by in the LA canyons.

And of course that’s the truth! What choice do you have in reading this than to believe me? Try for yourself, and you’ll see. Utter brilliance! 

Unlike many rocket sleds from Germany, the Elantra N has somewhat natural steering with a much-appreciated sense of weighting under load, like a real sports car. It’s not what I’d describe as being alive with feel, but you still get a decent sense of the road and how close or far you are from the limits. There are faint wriggles and jitters through the seat and the chassis, letting you know every bit of the road without conveying a sense of harshness or cheapness. It’s genuine communication. Not that much, but it’s there. 

Jeric Jaleco

You can preset two custom drive modes to your liking: N Mode and your custom presets can be cycled between using the N buttons on the wheel. I found maximum kill for the powertrain with mid-level suspension and steering to be perfect, with a ride-handling balance that never upset the chassis and steering that never felt heavy to the point where you think the car put on some pounds. Like a BMW M car, it can be overwhelming at first. But then you learn what you like, set it, and forget it.

Brakes were rock solid, superbly easy to modulate in a way few modern performance cars can replicate, and fade-free, even after living out my Initial D fantasies on one of Malibu’s most dangerous and technical canyon roads. Do not attempt at home, kids! But not one complaint in the stopping department!

The little four-banger that could

But I bet you’re waiting to hear how this two-liter turbo engine feels. Well then.

By the numbers, the Elantra is on par with more focused and powerful peers, and it feels every tenth of a second as quick. It’s the perfect in-between for those who enjoy the brutal effectiveness of a German turbo motor but also the playful charm of a Japanese mill. And from one flick of a drive mode switch, it pivots from mundane commuter to wannabe rally car in a heartbeat.

Jeric Jaleco

There’s turbo lag that can be a treat to play with if you lug it to feel that power surge, but it’s only a tad bit tucked way down in the rev range. With the snappy, ankle-biting gearing of Hyundai’s dual-clutch, you’ve got to really be searching for lag to ever encounter it on spirited drives. Otherwise, you’re always neck-deep in that deliciously meaty powerband, which delivers its oomph in such a respectably silky manner for a four-banger that it’s easy to smash right into the hard rev limiter.

The party gets plenty more obscene with rpm-adjustable launch control and N Grin Shift (NGS), the latter working as an overboost function for 20 seconds to pump out ten more ponies.

At least the Elantra N lets you do just that, giving you greater control and autonomy over the car’s performance. Manual mode is manual mode. None of this auto-upshift at the fuel cutoff crap. You can lug gears to the absolute last second or send the revs straight to high heaven before grabbing the next via the metal shift paddles, which respond instantly to inputs and react eagerly to rapid successions of downshifts.

Jeric Jaleco

In auto, the gearbox does a fantastic job choosing gears, never hunting on the highway or holding gears for too long or too little in the canyons. There’s some real Goldilocks programming here. Porsche 911 PDK good? Nah. But it’ll give Volkswagen’s DSG a run for its money. 

I never sampled the manual Elantra N for those asking, but I did try the near-identical stick-and-turbo combo in a friend’s Veloster N. It’s great. Think of a slightly notchier Fiesta ST, from what I remember. Easy and accurate shifter gates with a friendly clutch. Almost a Honda but not quite.

The Hyundai Elantra N is a worthy warrior

Not too shabby for only the second entry into Hyundai’s growing N lineup. It’s a nicer Type R and a more civilized Focus RS. At the same time, it’s more frantic than the comparably sterile Golf R or GTI while being nearly as usable on the daily grind, granted you can get to grips with the bucket seats. Other than some admittedly trivial quirks, there’s no faulting how well this car plays the split-personality role in a way few cars on this side of a Fiesta ST can. 

And, uh, ahem, the Elantra N is a hell of a lot faster than a GTI or Fiesta ST. Dare I say it can run a Type R’s fade in the canyons with the right driver? It feels as punchy as its slightly more muscular foes and nearly as razor-edged, but it wears its bargain rack tuxedo with a little more class. Of course, it’s not perfect, and rivals do accomplish certain goals far better than this car ever could out of the box. But with the utmost confidence, I declare that Korea’s addition to the sports compact pantheon walks the line between sports car godhood and mortal commuter with beauty and grace. 

Jeric Jaleco

Now let’s backtrack here. You’re telling me the same company that made shitpile Sonatas back in the day is now selling a near-300-horsepower rocket sled with a stick or dual-clutch, handling to shame a 3-Series, and over 30 mpg on the freeway for under thirty-five grand?

You’re goddamn right.

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2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6: The sensible family sedan is held back only by EV tax credit guidelines

South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Company has grown from its roots as an economical alternative to a dominant force in the US. As a company of purely foreign brands, it’s second only to Toyota. The 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 sedan is the quintessential example of the brand’s ascendance to the top, taking home a trio of prestigious trophies – including World Car of the Year – at the 2023 New York Auto Show.

Though its vehicles aren’t currently eligible for federal tax credits (unless you’re the lessor), Hyundai’s electric lineup is nonetheless a compelling option. After years of recalls and even a class action lawsuit involving problematic engine fires, the EV arms race has breathed new life into the brand’s reputation.

The Ioniq 6, takes a bold design approach, flaunting futuristic styling and a tech-heavy interior. At a reasonable $45,500 for the base trim, the Hyundai Ioniq 6 checks just about every box on the list for the average car buyer. As is the case with other EV brands, the Ioniq 6 shares its guts with other members of the Hyundai Motors family, namely the Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, and Genesis GV60, which speaks to the flexibility of the platform.

We’re still in the car’s first year on sale, but there’s plenty we can infer about its future. Hyundai’s already promised a hotter N version of the Ioniq 5, so it’s likely we’ll see a performance variant of the Ioniq 6 as well. We might also get a lower-cost, entry-level model with a smaller battery and rear-drive-only. Buyers can configure the current car now, and it’s available for purchase in a limited number of zero-emissions vehicle states.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 price and specs

The 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 is available in three trims including both rear-wheel drive (RWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) configurations. Though it can be great for winter driving, AWD cuts range by enough to matter for most people. 

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 SE

  • $45,500
  • Up to 361 miles of range
  • Up to 320 Horsepower

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 SEL

  • $47,700
  • Up to 305 miles of range
  • Up to 320 Horsepower

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 Limited

  • $52,600
  • Up to 305 miles of range
  • Up to 320 Horsepower

The Ioniq 6 slots into the Hyundai lineup above the Ioniq 5 crossover and the smaller, cheaper Kona EV. The Ioniq vehicles ride on Hyundai’s E-GMP platform, while the Kona EV shares a platform with the gas versions. Hyundai has teased an Ioniq 7, which will be a larger three-row SUV similar in size to the Kia EV9. 

We know that Hyundai’s working on a hotter N version of the Ioniq 5, so it’s reasonable to expect the sleek Ioniq 6 to receive the same treatment. That likely means performance gains similar to what we saw in the Kia EV6 GT, which brought fantastic increases in speed and acceleration with a noticeable drop in range to pay for it.

Hyundai has not been secretive about the fact that the Ioniq 6 targets the Tesla Model 3, and the car’s pricing, performance, and striking design all aim to knock the popular American EV off its throne. Its upscale interior outshines the Tesla’s with a mix of physical and virtual controls and popular features that the Model 3 doesn’t offer, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Hyundai EVs: Hyundai Ioniq 6 vs Hyundai Ioniq 5

The 2023 Ioniq 6 shares much of its underlying structure with the Ioniq 5, though you’d never know it by looking at the two side-by-side. A shared platform enables drivetrain and battery pack similarities, but the two Ioniqs have different wheelbases and completely different body styles.

Hyundai markets the Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6 to different target demographics, with the Ioniq 5 aimed at young families and the Ioniq 6 at professionals. That said, the front cabin area and driver controls are hardly distinguishable between the two. While the cupholders and center console in the Ioniq 6 are more prominent than the 5’s, the interiors are otherwise functionally identical.

Where you’ll notice the difference is in the cargo hold, where the Ioniq 5 demonstrates its crossover utility vehicle chops. The Ioniq 6’s trunk holds only 11.2 cubic feet of cargo, while the Ioniq 5 can swallow 27.2 cubic feet of gear. 

Both vehicles have advanced 800-volt electrical architectures, allowing them to charge at blazing-fast speeds. The Ioniq 5 was one of the first EVs to feature the technology, and the Ioniq 6 takes advantage of the same setup. That lets the Ioniq 6 charge from 10-80% in 18 minutes, and the car can recover 65 miles of range in just five minutes on a DC fast charger.

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 news: Death and taxes

Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis have all struggled with recent changes to the federal EV tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act. The Korean auto family builds several vehicles in the United States, including the electric Genesis Electrified GV70, but its batteries come from China, which precludes it from qualifying. The automakers are working to domesticate their production efforts to qualify for up to a $7,500 credit, but it takes time to build new factories and reconfigure supply chains.

That said, Hyundai is deeply invested in its US presence, so it’s at no risk of falling behind or failing to push ahead with its EV plans. The automaker sells tons of electric cars in the states without the tax incentive and will likely continue to do so, despite its current share prices suggesting otherwise.

Looking ahead, Hyundai will likely have its US EV production operation running by 2025, and we know it has plans for new electric models to release in the next few years. Beyond the Hyundai Ioniq 6, there’s the upcoming Ioniq 7 expected in 2024, along with an Ioniq 5 N and maybe even a production version of the incredible-looking N Vision 74 Concept unveiled last July.

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