Sunday, December 4, 2022

Is The Elantra N as Fast As A Civic Type R?

 This just in- Tested by Grassroots Motorsports at the FIRM race track in Florida!   A very interesting video that you must see. Is this a great alternative to the mighty Type R?   Is the Type R worth $10,000 more?

Watch the video and you be the judge.

Which Is The Best Track Car?



Is the type R worth the additional price?  Is Hyundai a better car than you thought?

Brought to you by Carcamerastory.com.  Follow on Instagram @wownowpics.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Why Would you Buy Two?


We have two Hyundai Elantra N cars showing here. There is a dilema though. Which one to buy?

                                            This one has a wet dual clutch 8 Speed DCT
                                          And this one has a manual six speed stick.

So do you go with the automatic or do you opt for the old fasshioned, row your own gears? That's a problem because each is so good in its own way. I have been following YouTube for months trying to figure this out and my conclusion; if you have the means, get one of each.

The sun is setting on the age of ICE powered cars and here are two of the finest examples of that, short of a Porsche 911 or a BMW M3 of old. I predict that in 20 years we will look back upon these 'N' cars and say, dam I should have bought one, or two and stored them for car buffs of the future to admire. Sort of like we today wish we had bought a couple of Muscle cars from the 60's and hung on to them.

Why are these cars special?  It comes down to how they make you feel.  Just starting up an Elantra 'N' tells you immediately this is no ordinary sports sedan. The sound of the car just idling reminds me of my 1987 Buick T-Type ( As in Grand National Turbo)  That  V-6 Buick Turbo and this 4 Pot Rascal had the  same voice coach. Just idling the 'N' sounds muscular. Blip the throttle and she revs like the dickens and may even give you a few pops on cold start. The car vibrates with a feeling like it wants to take off, just like my old Buick.

God does the Elantra 'N' sound good. And that's before you put it in gear. Once you do, everything is as it should be.  The steering is precice and communicates what the front tires are doing, the electronic limited slip diff saves you too many times to count when cornering and the suspension is perfectly tuned by the best engineers in the business, lead by Albert Biremann- That Albert Biremann - who made BMW M cars ledgendary. 

I could prattle on all day but to demonstrate I have a video for you.  Feel free to fast foward through it or if you want to see all the things I'm trying to say, put it on full roll. Now this is the six speed version.

Driving The 6 Speed Manual Elantra 'N'

After seeing that you have a sense of what this car is all about and why you want one. The other choice, the 8 speed DCT is just as intoxicating

Here's another video of an Elantra 'N' with the DCT chasing a Mclaren and a Ferrari at Road Atlanta. The fact the car can keep up with them is a testament to how good this car is. Listen closely and you can hear the lightning fast shifts of the automatic.   And the best thing is, not many people know anything about this car!  I hope it stays under the radar so the price stays where it is- mid $30K.  Incredible value for the performance. Check this out:

Click on the link to see video.

So in conclusion my advice is go buy one of each and you will never regret it- if you like driving a performance car. And in the grand scheme of things it won't break the bank, with pick ups and EV's costing the same as buying two 'N's.

And if you want more convincing about howfar Hyundai has come with their N brand of cars, here's a bonus video for fun!

Hyundai Motorsports Is On A Roll!


Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher Carcamerastory.com and author of "Echoes From The Glen".

On sale now on this website.    Follow on Instagram @wownowpics


Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Honda Civic Si vs Hyundai Elantra N Which is Better?




 After owning both cars for over three months, I'm able to come to a conclusion on this question. And the answer is not entirely clear because on any given day I can say it depends on my mood.  That sounds silly, but to a degree it does matter what mood I'm in- and maybe what mood you might be in when you get behind the wheel as to what you are looking to get out of your car that day.

Are you looking for excitement, an easy drive to the store or something in between?  My explanation below will hopefully shed light on the personality of each of these cars and are they direct competitors.


The bottom line is both the cars are miles ahead of where cars of this class were 5 years ago. The technology, the safety systems, handling, economy and quality are far better. Of course prices have gone up, but you are getting quite a lot for your money. For example, The Elantra N with the DCT at $35,000. feels every bit as good as my 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti Sport that cost $46,000. 5 years ago. To think a Hyundai could compete performance wise with a far classier and more premium car as the Giulia is insane- but true.  Also the new Civic Si delivers 40+ MPG consistently, while providing all the power most people will need on the street and handling that compares with many sports cars. ( Take that note from a Porsche Cayman owner that says he got beat in an autocross by a Civic more than once)


So here's my overall driving impressions.    Civic Si -  Feels light and nimble with a small turning circle. The car is not fast coming off the line with its 200 HP but it revs freely and gets stronger as the revs climb. It rides firm but not harsh and it is a masterpiece when taking turns. The limited slip differential pulls you out of corners and there's almost no oversteer until pushing the limits. It corners flat, feeling very planted and the seats are as good as you will find in cars far more expensive.

It is very easy to drive slow and smooth with a shifter as smooth as butter. (Every bit as good as my Porsche Boxster) You can take your wife or kids for a ride and they don't know you have a Go Kart sitting under you. Driving fast is a blast and the car makes you feel like a pro. It makes you look and feel good and there's even a little bit of engine sound pumped into the cabin to make it exciting.

For a sticker price of $28,595. (destination charge included) it is a great value in today's market. Dealer markups are the norm right now with $2,000 - $4,000. being the current situation. Still well worth it when you consider you can easily get 40MPG and have a fun, attractive and practical car to drive!

Elantra N - I'm implying these cars compete in the same space and to a degree they do but at $35,415. (including destination charge) the "N" is a half step up.  Dealers are also marking these up but the markups tend to be more in the $1,000. - $3,000 range with a few owners reporting they bought at MSRP with only a few required dealer installed options.

The difference in the driving is pronounced. The "N" feels and sounds much more muscular, because it is.  With 276 HP it wins but the car is also about 300 pounds heavier with the automatic transmission, which I have. It feels like a bigger car, yet the exterior dimentions are nearly identical as is the wheelbase. When driving the car you notice the chassis is stiffer and the ride surprisingly supple when in Eco mode. And here's a big difference, the car has an adaptive suspension.  When in Sport mode or N mode everything stiffens up and you go from family car to race car with the push of a button! The one thing I do notice, for all its race car like qualities, the turning radius is bigger than the Honda's so you feel like you are driving a bigger car despite them being the same size.

From a thrill standpoint the Hyundai 'N' wins hands down. The active exhaust valves open in Sport and N modes and you get pops and cracks like gunfire. You really have to be careful where you deploy this little 'firecraker' because we know of one owner being ticketed for the car being too loud.   My advice- head for a country road and pop and bang to your hearts content- guaranteed to make you smile!

From a handling standpoint, the 'N' also wins as Hyundai has the superior suspension that is more track focused. In fact some car reviews put it on the same level for handling as the Si's big brother, the Type R.  The seats are very much like the Honda's, well bolstered and very comfortable. I do like the interior seat materials better in the Hyundai, yet the plastics look and feel cheaper than in the Honda so it's a draw when rating the interiors. Visibility out of both cars is excellent and by removing the rear seat headrests in the Hyundai, the view out the back is better in the "N".

So to sum up, I give the edge to the Hyundai in spite of the additional cost. It is a $50,000. performance sedan for $35,000. while the Honda is so good at around $30,000. it still is a half step below the "N" car. Which would you buy?  It all depends on your budget and the last factor- looks.  The Honda is eye candy for anyone while the Elantra N is something that grows on you. I love the rear 3/4 view and I'm beginning to like the front view as I get used to seeing it. Everyone has an opinion on it- you either like it or you don't. 

                                                            Si with factory wheels


Only time will tell which one wins out. Will the "N" car culture grow and become a classic like the Civic Si?   What do you think?



                                Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher Carcamerastory.com
                                                  Follow on Instagram @wownowpics

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Fall Season , Cafe' Racers and New Cars

 Finally, I'm back at my desk after 3 weeks in New York and living through hurricane Ian. Fortunately Tampa Bay dodged the bullet, er, storm and we can live to drive our cars another day. We are so fortunate after seeing the videos from parts south of here. Fort Myers Beach is no more and from Naples up to Sarasota the devastation is unbelievable. Pray for all those that have to clean up and pick up the pieces.

Today we held a very well attended Tampa Bay Cafe' Racers lunch with a spectacular array of cars covering 1969 - 2022.  Check the pictures to see how many brands are represented.  As Florida goes, today was ideal with low humidity, temps in the '70's and great food on the porch at Mugs Sports Bar & Grill. ( I highly recommend it if you are in the Clearwater area.)  Here's the parking lot line up:



As you can see it was a picture perfect day and there were many stories of summer travels, races attended and races won by at least one in our group.  (Lime Rock Vintage Races)  Another in our group traveled 10,000. miles in 50 days of driving across the US and another spent 4 weeks touring the west in a Mustang convertible, among many other jaunts.   Back road drives and a spin down the Tail of the Dragon were part of those side trips.  And your author made a mad dash from New York to Florida in 19 1/2 hours covering 1300 miles to be back in time to ride out hurricane Ian. 

New Cars -  One of our members has a new Porsche GTS and an Audi R8 on order and I picked up a 2022 Hyundai Elantra N and a 2022 Civic Si up over the summer.  The car market has been crazy with used cars bringing record prices, consequently more reason to trade.

                          Honda Civic Si



                                                  Elantra N- Hyundai's 'M' Car

So there's excitement in the air as fall comes and new cars start showing up.  Good friends reunite and tall tales come alive as Tampa Bay Cafe' Racers gather every other week.  Watch this blog for more in the coming weeks, including driving impressions of the 2022 Honda Civic after a 1300 mile drive!

And if you are in the Clearwater/ St. Petersburg Florida area and want to attend one of our Cafe' Racers lunches, message me here or on Instagram @wownowpics.  We meet every other Tuesday at noon. Next meeting is October 18th.   



               Thanks for visiting this blog, brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher and
               author of "Echoes From The Glen".  




Friday, September 2, 2022

The End of Summer- August Wrap With an Elantra N

 August was a tough month.  Hot days, long waits in the airports, home remodeling and a powerboat race topped off  the last week with 4 days with 2 energy filled grandsons.  It never stopped and in between, I found another Civic Si searching dealer inventories at 4:30 am one day; my next car purchase.  Yes, another Civic Si only this time in Aegean Blue from Ralph Honda in Rochester, NY. I'll take delivery sometime in the next 3 months if Honda's supply chain gets refilled. I was planning on getting the new Civic Type R until my dealer that had me 1st in line said they were charging $10K over MSRP.  That killed the deal.  Maybe next year. In the meantime my Type R lite (Civic Si) will do just fine as it is an amazing car for the money.  I still prefer driving my new Elantra N though!

With all that activity, I got to drive my new Hyundai Elantra N from Crown Hyundai in St. Petersburg, FL about 400 miles.  I did find time to stripe the new N and install new tires and wheels and will report my findings below.

First, here's a few pictures from the APBA Powerboat race in Owensboro, KY where I helped in the pits during the weekend. It was a beautiful weekend with sunny skies and temps in the 90's.   Friend Jim Aid won all four of his heat races taking the championship trophy for 2.5 liter modified. Not bad for the first time out this year and with a newly rebuilt motor that had not seen water before we arrived on Friday, August 19th. In fact the first time in the water was the first heat on Saturday.  Here's a few shots of the action:

                                  APBA Powerboat races at Owensboro, KY August 19-21



And here's a view from the Pits:


                                            All boats have to be 'lifted' into the water.
                                          

                                           A beautiful motor- tuned perfectly!


                                           A few minutes to watch the other boats race.

                                            Jim Aid, receiving winners's flag and trophy.

So after a quick flight back , I have had a few days to drive the new 'N' car and watch the boys.

                                                          Digging for treasure!

And finally,  here's the new 'N' car with new Enkei TFR wheels and Continental Extreme Contact DWS 06 Plus tires.  See performance summary below:


      Here's the new tire and wheel set up.   18 X 8.5, / + 45mm Enkei TFR rims and 18 X 245mm 40 R Continental tires as mentioned above.  The result is a slightly softer ride due to the 40 R vs 35R sidewalls on the original 19 inch tires. Pay atention to tire pressure- my tires came installed with about 3 lbs more than recommended and by adjusting down those few pounds of pressure made a huge difference in the ride.  Note that the original Michelins were also overinflated about the same amount from the factory and I deflated them as well to spec and achieved a much better ride.  My guess is that the ambient temperature where they were installed in both cases was less than our scortching 90-95 degrees here in Florida.

How do the Conti's Perform?

I highly recommend these tires. And I like the 18 inch vs the 19 inch set up for daily driving. Before everyone goes crazy, yes the Michelins are better performing. The turn in and handling is more crisp due to the softer compound and the skinnier sidewalls, but unless you are tracking the car or driving like a maniac on the street, the Conti's are the right blend of performance and comfort. I can also attest to their ability to handle rain and even light snow as I had a set on my Civic Si last winter. And since I will be driving up to New York on occasion, the Conti's just work better for me overall.
As for the wheels, I love the clean look.  The factory wheels are just too busy for me, although they are unique.  Bonus!    The wheel and tire combination in just shy of 10 pounds per corner lighter, saving almost 40 pounds of unsprung weight.  That's a huge performance benefit!

Last comments- I did my usual 'custom' vinyl treatment I do on all my cars- Here you can see what I came up with.  The best thing is it can all be changed if I get tired of it and the cost for the vinyl was less than 30 bucks.  What do you think?

Stay tuned for more mods on the Elantra and the upcoming Civic Si.

For more see @wownowpics.

Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher  carcamerastory.com
and author of "Echoes From The Glen"






Friday, July 29, 2022

Honda Civic Si and Elantra N Comparison

 In this corner... well it is not really a knock down, drag out boxing match, but in the automotive world these cars operate in the same space and compete for buyers.  This post will give you my impressions of each car based on real world experience as I have owned both.  My opinions are just that, my feelings about each after having the chance to drive them in everyday situations.

So here are the two contenders:  A 2022 Honda Civic Si


                      And a 2022 Hyundai Elantra N

   Fighter #1, the Honda Civic Si with a 1.5 liter Turbo 4 and Scrapper #2, a 2.0 liter Turbo 4. The Honda weighs about 200 pounds less but has 200 HP compared to the brawny Hyundai with the greater weight but more horsepower at 276 ponies.

The Si only comes in a manual and sports a 6 speed stick that's as good as my Porsche Boxster's and the N car has one of the slickest 8 speed, wet DCT's on the market. I thought the ZF 8 auto (not a DCT) in my Alfa Romeo Giulia was good- this is better.

All these numbers only tell a little part of the story. What matters is how do the cars drive? How do they feel?  This is where it is very subjective but I'll describe matters as best I can.

The Honda Si-  Looks - This is a great looking car, mature, simple, clean and a design that will age well over time. I get a lot of compliments at stop lights and even when at the grocery store. Of course the Blazing Orange Pearl paint and aftermarket wheels add to the looks IMO and others too.

Interior - This is where the car got rave reviews from many journalists when it came out. I agree to a point. The interior is spacious, you have great visibility forward and to the side, but after living with it for seven months the wow factor wore off for me. A couple of minor compliants are the armrest material that feels like burlap and poor visibility out the rear window with a massive hump in the middle for the center brake light. It really takes away from all the goodness of the forward visibility. There's a lot of hard plastics too so as Joe Raiti of Raiti's Rides would say, I'm giving it a few Zonks on the interior.  I must say the instrument cluster is one of the clearest and easiest to view and the Infotainment system is really nice. Very intuitive and easy to use with Apple Car Play.

Seat Comfort - I think seat comfort is one of the biggest factors that make you love or hate your car. Both of these cars excel in this area but I give the Si an 8 out of 10 here and the Elantra a 9 out of 10. Close but the Si is a little softer and less supportive and again the cloth material is good but not up to the materials used on the N car- more on that later.

 Handling and Steering -  The Honda is very nimble and reacts to steering inputs quite quickly but with the 40 ratio sidewalls, not as sharp as the Elantra. (I have Michelin PS 4S tires on it- same as the Elantra)  So this comparison should be apples to apples using the same tires, only the Civic's are 235/40R 18 while the Elantra's are 245/35R 19's.  The Civic turns in what feels like a lot smaller turning circle (I have not measured ) but the feel is of a smaller car even though they are almost the same wheelbase and the same in almost every other exterior dimension. You really notice it when pulling into a parking spot or doing a U turn.  The Honda rides stiff, but not rough. On smooth roads it is as smooth as my Honda Accord Sport. A very nice feeling ride. It helps that I'm in Florida and the ambient temperature is nearly 80-90 every day for the last several months. I have heard in cold weather this car can feel rough as there's no adaptive dampers. Honda has tuned this well- kind of a middle ground.

 Driving Fun Factor - Here's where comparing these cars is tricky. First, the Honda is a stick and the Hyundai is an automatic. The Honda has 76 less HP and there's 97 pound feet less torque. However both cars are FUN to drive for different reasons. The Honda is lighter, reacts well to downshifts and can be tossed around and in and out of traffic easily. All fun stuff. But there's little aural excitement, there's not much power and you barely hear the exhaust and it is slightly softer riding (not much) but enough to know it.

Overall Verdict on the Honda -  With it's far superior gas mileage (32 in town and 38 on the road that I observed for months), it's lower MSRP by about $6,000. compared to the Elantra with DCT it is a screaming deal for the money. It should satisfy 90% of those looking for a sport performace sedan. I enjoyed every minute of the car, but I traded it last week for contestant #2, the Elantra N.


The Elantra N - Looks-  Here's a point of debate by many- Overall I like the looks, especially as I get used to it. It is now not as alarming as when I first saw the front grill. I think the side and rear 3/4 view is agressive and tasteful.  The front grill is huge and the black mask look will either turn you off or you may say, that looks mean and aggressive. We shall see with buyers adding different wheels, stripes, aero kits and such to customize it but make no mistake you can't miss one of these when it is coming towards you. The snowflake wheels I can do without, leaning more towards the great wheels on the Civic Si.  ( I ordered a set of Enkei TSF's in Storm Gray today for the Elantra)

Interior - Here's where I disagree with almost every review I've seen on this car.  First of all it is a $35k purchase.  What do you expect to get?  In my opinion a lot nicer space to sit in versus the Civic Si. Sorry Honda fans but the plastics are just as hard and cheap in the Civic as they are in the Elantra and there's plenty of it. The cloth material in the Honda is just plain scratchy and cheap looking.  What's in the Hyundai- really nice door cards with Alcantara like material and the seats are far nicer looking than the red checkered cloth on the Civic. They even have the N badge light up at night on the Hyundai seats. The instrument panel comprised of two 10+ inch computer screens contain so much information you would have to have a co pilot to help read it all.  Everything you can think of is included in the menus.   Pilot training required!  But I like it. Anything you need is at your fingertips including on board telemetry like in a race car.  Fantastic!  Overall I rate the interior far superior to the Civic for these specific things. And visibility is quite good all around and the rear view is slightly better than in the Civic. So both cars rank a tie for visibility.

Seat Comfort - Totally subjective and subject to the size and shap of the driver, but for me at 6' 200 lbs, the Elantra seats are slightly better.  They fit me better, feel a tad more supportive and the seating position allows me to enter and exit the car easier. They are some of the most comfortable seats I've driven in.

Handling and Steering - Having only driven the car for 4 days it is a bit early to rate it but my immediate reaction is the car steers quicker than the Civic (35 aspect tires vs 40), is tight as a drum with all the chassis stiffening and the rear strut bar, yet it is amazingly adjustable.  From boulevard cruiser in normal mode to track ready tiger in N mode.  You get two different cars, a daily driver and a track champion for the weekends.  Not bad for $35k.  I would say the Civic would have been as good if they offered it with adaptive dampers like the previous gen Si.  Again, the Hyundai wins out with all the adaptabiliy.

Driving Fun Factor - There's not a contest here with the crazy options you can dial up on the dashboard for the N car. Just the sound of the exhaust alone is worth the price of admission. The dashboard feedback, the snappy acceleration, the handling, the seat of the pants feel when going through a turn. Oh is it good!   The only buzz kill is the average fuel economy compared to the Honda, but who cares. Horsepower costs money and that's why you buy this car.

Overall Verdict on the Hyundai - If you have a few thousand dollars more, the Hyundai is worth it. If your budget is tight the Honda will do just fine. It is a very good car. But if you want the best (even though it is slightly out of the Si's segment) the Elantra N is a fantastic buy for the money. And yes, there's things I miss about the Honda that the Elantra does not give me (Simple wireless Apple Car Play) but you can't have everything.

I want to give a shout out to Crown Hyundai of St. Petersburg, FL, They treated me fairly and did not play the mark up game many other dealers I talked to were doing. Jody Lindsey, my sales person is a car guy himself and we had many conversations about cars- not just how he could sell me a car, which is refreshing!  

Future Updates-  Look for future updates on the Elantra N and any mods I may do.  The first one is new aftermarket wheels ordered today.

See you all soon- Paul Ziegler, Publisher    Carcamerastory.com

                                                                    Follow on Instagram @wownowpics

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen and Michelin Pilot Challenge

 A huge crowd turned out for the Grid Walk prior to the race. Sunny skies and the sound of engines revving.  It's what the fans come for.  This post highlights photos from two of the racing events held the weekend of June 24-26.   The Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen and the Michelin Pilot Sport Challenge.














                                                       The Famous Grid Walk

Here's the start of the Six Hours of the Glen:

       The DPI class is joined with LMP2 and LMP3 cars, followed by GT Daytona Pro and                             GT Daytona cars.

                                                               That's a lot of  race cars.                                                                              
                 And that produces some incidents like this with unlucky #13 in the LMP3 Class


                                  Luckily no injury to the driver of this Duqueine D08 VK

   And here's the winner of the DPI Class - the Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05. Driven by Ricky               Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque.

                                 The winner in DPI-  Acura ARX-05 of Wayne Taylor Racing

And one of my favorite series- the Michelin Pilot Challenge where cars you and I can drive compete:

There's plenty of action in the Grand Sport and Touring Car classes.  Cars like Ford Mustangs and Chevy Camaros go up against  Toyota Supras, Porsche Caymans, BMW M4's and Mercedes AMG GT4's and Aston MartinVantage GT4's in the Grand Sport class and in the Touring Car class there's always a titanic battle with the Hyundai Elantra N's, Honda Civic Type R, and Alfa Romeo Giulietta and Audi RS3's.    Here's just a few shows from that series:






              And the winner is:  #33 in the TCR class- Hyundai Elantra N driven by MarkWilkins 
                                      and former Indycar driver, Robert Wickins

                                Here's some other pictures from the Grand Sport class:







And with that, I'll wrap up by mentioning that Hyundai is bringing it to the old guard with their  Elantra N's.  They have been on a win streak this season and with a win here by Mark Wilkins and Robert Wickens, it shows Hyundai is a force not to be taken lightly in this class. 


More coming soon, and an announcement about the author's new ride.


Paul Ziegler, Publisher  Carcamerastory.com and author of "Echoes From The Glen"

Follow on Instagram @wownowpics