Let’s face it: Midsize sedans hardly ever excite. Examples just like the Toyota Camry epitomize the thought of a transportation equipment, little greater than a chilly assortment of automobile 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 appears like an fanatic transfer towards the grain.
Of the choose automakers nonetheless devoted to constructing sedans, a number of supply performance-oriented variants that benefit from that fanatic market. Our choice has been for the Honda Accord Sport 2.0T over the Toyota Camry TRD. With a totally 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 automobile like the riotous Veloster N or upcoming Elantra N, the athlete of the Sonata vary options an engine with practically 100 hp greater than some other variant plus distinctive wheels, twin exhaust shops, and N Line entrance and rear styling.
Hyundai was sort 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 will discover the most important distinction between the N Line and a regular Sonata below the hood. Rather than the piddly powertrains at work in the bottom automobile and the Sonata Hybrid sits a model of the two.5-liter turbo-four provided within the Genesis G80 and GV80.
On this utility, the engine develops a hearty 290 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. These numbers examine favorably to the Accord turbo-four’s 252 hp and 273 lb-ft, and the Sonata’s powerplant gives fewer horses however extra torque than the Camry’s 301-hp, 267-lb-ft V-6. We’ll be aware 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 couple of half second behind to 60 mph, and the hole stays the identical on the quarter mile.
Drivers are almost certainly 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, talking to superior braking efficiency (stops from 60 mph in 110 ft are 6-9 ft shorter) that helps ship greater 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 pink particulars.
The entrance sport seats are one other model-specific contact. They do not simply look nice, additionally they characteristic extra lateral bolstering to maintain the driving force safe below excessive cornering masses. The bolsters are adjustable, too, so you may tighten them to maintain your self from sliding round within the mountains and open them as much as loosen up on the drive house. Though this characteristic is on the market in some luxurious automobiles, it is unprecedented at this value level.
The Sonata N Line’s commonplace tech can be spectacular. A 10.3-inch heart infotainment show trounces the 7.0- and eight.0-inch touchscreens within the Camry and Accord, though it is smaller than the non-obligatory 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 commonplace, 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 monitor. Even the shortest following distance left sufficient house for a automobile to scoot forward of me, however apart from that, it is good.
Candidly, I like practically all the things about this inside. The local weather management system makes use of good-looking, properly weighted knobs and laborious buttons. The elongated armrests aren’t 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 respectable 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 not like the others. Each the Sonata Hybrid and the usual automobile with the non-obligatory 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.
Trip high quality is on the firmer facet, which is smart for a sporty variant like this. You be taught extra in regards to the imperfections of the street than you’d in a regular Sonata, nevertheless 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 automobile strikes like a single mass reasonably 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 one in every of just a few non-German autos to show such Germanic high-speed composure.
I carried extra velocity via these bends than I anticipated to. The steering is weighty and instantly correct off-center. Grip is spectacular, too, thanks partly to the non-obligatory 245-section summer season tires fitted to our check automobile’s commonplace 19-inch wheels. Via a nook, although, the entrance tires give means earlier than the rest, and turn-in suffers at greater 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 way more aggression than the everyday midsize sedan purchaser. Had been Hyundai to make a whole-hog Sonata N (not simply an N Line), I would 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 perfect, confidently linking apexes and finessing via corners as a substitute of crushing them, and that is the way it appears this automobile can be pushed. For that one twisty part in your night commute, the shock mountain go on a street journey, that fleeting second of enjoyable buried amid hours of the freeway slog, the N Line is a succesful, keen, participating companion.
And the N Line executes the slog effectively, too. This Sonata’s driver-assist tech is effectively 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 cannot 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)|