Let’s face it: Midsize sedans not often excite. Examples just like the Toyota Camry epitomize the concept of a transportation equipment, little greater than a chilly assortment of automotive components for many who simply need to get from A to B. Because the market shifted towards crossover SUVs, although, shopping for something with out plastic fender cladding and AWD now seems like an fanatic transfer towards the grain.
Of the choose automakers nonetheless devoted to constructing sedans, just a few provide performance-oriented variants that reap the benefits of that fanatic market. Our desire has been for the Honda Accord Sport 2.0T over the Toyota Camry TRD. With a completely redesigned Hyundai Sonata on the town and the affect of the Korean automaker’s newly confirmed N division, we could must rethink.
The second mannequin 12 months of this redesign brings the 2021 Sonata N Line, a brand new sport-focused variant of the midsize Hyundai. Though it is not an all-out N automotive like the riotous Veloster N or upcoming Elantra N, the athlete of the Sonata vary options an engine with almost 100 hp greater than another variant plus distinctive wheels, twin exhaust retailers, and N Line entrance and rear styling.
Hyundai was variety sufficient to lend us a production-spec prototype Sonata N Line to place to the check. How does it maintain up? Frankly, it is wonderful.
The Numbers Recreation
You may discover the largest distinction between the N Line and an ordinary Sonata below the hood. Rather than the piddly powertrains at work in the base car and the Sonata Hybrid sits a model of the two.5-liter turbo-four supplied within the Genesis G80 and GV80.
On this utility, the engine develops a hearty 290 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. These numbers evaluate favorably to the Accord turbo-four’s 252 hp and 273 lb-ft, and the Sonata’s powerplant provides fewer horses however extra torque than the Camry’s 301-hp, 267-lb-ft V-6. We’ll notice that the Sonata works with an eight-speed dual-clutch automated routing energy to the entrance wheels as a substitute of the eight- and 10-speed typical autos within the Camry and Accord.
Efficiency isn’t on the prime of most sedan patrons’ precedence lists, however amongst this firm, it issues. With newfound energy and torque, this Sonata slings to 60 mph in simply 5.Three seconds, tying the discontinued Ford Fusion Sport for the quickest non-luxury midsize sedan we have examined. The Honda and Toyota are a few half second behind to 60 mph, and the hole stays the identical on the quarter mile.
Drivers are probably to really feel the distinction in passing energy. Hyundai’s N-modified Sonata accelerates from 45 to 65 mph in 2.5 seconds in comparison with 2.Eight within the Accord or Camry. The Sonata is faster ‘spherical our determine eight, too, chatting with superior braking efficiency (stops from 60 mph in 110 ft are 6-9 ft shorter) that helps ship larger common grip in that check.
So sure, the Hyundai Sonata N Line is a confirmed athlete, however that would not imply a lot if it have been a nasty teammate. That’s not the case. This Sonata’s cabin is as ethereal and spacious as its much less performance-minded siblings, and for the N Line the seats are upholstered in black leather-based and microfiber with purple particulars.
The entrance sport seats are one other model-specific contact. They do not simply look nice, in addition they characteristic extra lateral bolstering to maintain the driving force safe below excessive cornering hundreds. The bolsters are adjustable, too, so you possibly can tighten them to maintain your self from sliding round within the mountains and open them as much as calm down on the drive dwelling. Though this characteristic is on the market in some luxurious automobiles, it is extraordinary at this value level.
The Sonata N Line’s normal tech can be spectacular. A 10.3-inch middle infotainment show trounces the 7.0- and eight.0-inch touchscreens within the Camry and Accord, though it is smaller than the non-compulsory 11.6-inch system within the Subaru Legacy. That mentioned, Hyundai’s interface is responsive and straightforward to make use of, even for drivers unfamiliar with the system. Hyundai additionally features a 12.3-inch instrument cluster show with totally different themes for every drive mode.
Hyundai’s Freeway Driving Help semi-autonomous tech is included as normal, too. It combines adaptive cruise management and lane centering for a system that performs extra confidently than the one within the $80,000 long-term Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 I drove to the check observe. Even the shortest following distance left sufficient house for a automotive to scoot forward of me, however aside from that, it is excellent.
Candidly, I like almost all the pieces about this inside. The local weather management system makes use of good-looking, properly weighted knobs and arduous buttons. The elongated armrests will not be solely comfy, they create an extended, ergonomic seize deal with for tugging the door closed.
Sitting within the again behind my just-over-6-foot self, there are about Four inches between my knees and the seatback. Regardless of the sloping roofline, there’s even first rate headroom entrance and rear, though I would not need to be a lot taller.
As quickly as you flex your proper ankle, it turns into apparent this can be a Sonata in contrast to the others. Each the Sonata Hybrid and the usual automotive with the non-compulsory 1.6T engine can really feel wheezy and underpowered; the N Line has sufficient grunt to flash the traction management mild even in Regular mode. This 2.5-liter turbo-four does not sound nice (few four-cylinders do), however as soon as on increase there’s sufficient torque to compress the seat padding behind you at a second’s discover.
Journey high quality is on the firmer facet, which is sensible for a sporty variant like this. You be taught extra concerning the imperfections of the street than you’d in an ordinary Sonata, however it’s not punishing. Tire noise is noticeable. Some staffers additionally famous a little bit of dual-clutch transmission clunkiness within the shifts between gears.
Driving some noodly bits of tarmac main as much as Mount Baldy, I actually started to understand the N Line. The physique management is excellent; this automotive strikes like a single mass fairly than a set of cobbled-together components. It is as if Albert Biermann—who famously joined Hyundai after years main BMW’s M division—chiseled the factor from a single billet of Korean metal. This ranks as considered one of only some non-German autos to show such Germanic high-speed composure.
I carried extra pace by way of these bends than I anticipated to. The steering is weighty and instantly correct off-center. Grip is spectacular, too, thanks partly to the non-compulsory 245-section summer season tires fitted to our check automotive’s normal 19-inch wheels. Via a nook, although, the entrance tires give manner earlier than anything, and turn-in suffers at larger entry speeds.
Within the tighter bits, the front-end limitations and open diff imply the N Line struggles to place down energy, however provided that the driving force assaults the apex with rather more aggression than the standard midsize sedan purchaser. Have been Hyundai to make a whole-hog Sonata N (not simply an N Line), I might advocate a limited-slip entrance differential just like the one at work between the entrance wheels of the Veloster N.
Ought to I Purchase It?
It is at someplace round six-tenths that the Sonata N Line feels the most effective, confidently linking apexes and finessing by way of corners as a substitute of crushing them, and that is the way it appears this automotive will likely be pushed. For that one twisty part in your night commute, the shock mountain cross on a street journey, that fleeting second of enjoyable buried amid hours of the freeway slog, the N Line is a succesful, prepared, participating companion.
And the N Line executes the slog properly, too. This Sonata’s driver-assist tech is properly tuned and genuinely helpful, its cabin generously proportioned and thoughtfully designed, and its infotainment system straightforward to make use of. That is the Sonata to purchase. We can’t make any grand statements till we are able to drive them again to again, but when this Sonata N Line prototype is any indication, that Accord higher maintain on to its lunch cash.
|2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$34,395|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Entrance-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||2.5L/290-hp/311-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|TRANSMISSION||8-speed twin-clutch auto|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3,496 lb (62/38%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||192.9 x 73.2 x 56.9 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.Three sec|
|QUARTER MILE||13.9 sec @ 103.5 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-Zero MPH||110 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.88 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||25.Eight sec @ 0.72 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||26/35/29 mpg (est)|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||130/96 kWh/100 miles (est)|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.66 lb/mile (est)|