Friday, February 24, 2023

Hyundai Elantra N - The Perfect Performance Family Sedan?

 I've been away for a few weeks so finally have a chance to put up a quick post inspired by my two grandkids. I have a 4 year old and a 9 year old I'm watching for the week- both boys.  You can imagine the mischief they get into. But when it comes to taking a ride in the car, they want to take the race car- my Elantra N.

I like these cars so much I bought a second one.  Here's my 2022 with the DCT:

And here's my six speed filling up with Shell 93. Both cars have aftermarket wheels that I think make them look all that more special.  Either flavor, automatic or stick,  both give you a fantastic driving experience. 


But don't take my word for it. Here's a new video that was just posted by Everyday Driver and it tells the story better than I could.  I agree with their impression of the cars; a very good and balanced review.  And regarding the reference to taking kids in the back seat- I haven't given them the puke test yet.  Don't want to mess up the alcantara!

                           Click Here For Video:
                                       (1) Hyundai Elantra N - Constant Applause - Test Drive | Everyday Driver - YouTube

                        For now, it is back to the beach here in Florida to watch the future car enthusiasts.

                        Watch this blog for new updates soon.  Hope you enjoyed the video.

Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher and author of "Echoes From The Glen"
                                             Follow on Instagram @wownowpics

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Elantra N Automatic DCT or 6 Speed Manual?

 This is a topic that comes up often on the Elantra N Forum, so I put this post together for anyone thinking of buying an 'N' but are not sure which way to go-  8 Speed DCT or Six Speed Manual?

I've owned the DCT version since August and the six speed for three weeks. I had the opportunity to take the six speed for a spirited drive this week over a 150 mile run on some back roads that have made up for the short time of ownership, giving me a good basis for comparison. Here's what I found.

Sound:  The forums have said the manual is louder, I disagree. There is no big differece in how loud they are, but there is a difference in the way the sound comes out.  The DCT has a satisfying change in tone with each gear change when accelerating from a stop and you don't have to be hammering the throttle. It does this even in normal mode and the tone change is more pronounced in sport mode. I really like it as it sounds a lot like a Porsche with a DCT.  (I owned a 2014 Cayman with the 6 cylinder)
This exhaust system is magic as I have not heard a better sounding 4 cylinder turbo motor.
With the six speed you have full control on how you make your sound by keeping it in gear to your liking. You can wind it up or short shift it. You can change the modes from Normal to Sport to 'N' and you get different effects. It really is the best of all worlds involving engine and exhaust sounds.

Strangely, the DCT seems to be a little more deep throated and a little meaner sounding, but the manual is more versatile for altering the sounds.  Hard to say which is better- they are just different.

Handling - This is subjective because it depends on your purpose at the time. Are you on a back road with lots of curves, are you on a track, or are you crusing in traffic?  There are advantages to both depending on the situation.  The DCT is definately quicker and it can be controlled by the paddles or gearshift giving lots of options.  For sheer fun, the manual has the advantage though. Each car handles extremely well, they should as that's what they were designed to do but the you can feel a slight difference between them because of the weight difference. Not a lot- around 120 pounds but I would give the edge to the manual because it is lighter. But that's where Hyundai makes it harder to pick because the DCT has a little more horsepower estimated by all accounts to be about 15  ponies. On an overall scale, they are very, very close in the handling department.

Fun Factor - Again this is subjective. If you like shifting and don't mind being in traffic, the manual is the choice. With the Rev Match system, even a novice can look good in the 6 speed. It is a very easy shifter to operate and although not as rigid as a Honda Si shifter in some ways it is easier. Yes easier than a Honda! Many of you might disagree but I drove the new gen Honda Civic Si for a year and on my 50 mile torture test in traffic on Rt 19 in Florida I feel more rested and relaxed shifting the Hyundai. This route is one I take twice a month to visit my daughter and I can make this claim!
The Honda's shifter is wonderful but it feels like the difference you feel wearing a shirt and tie all day vs wearing a comfortable tee shirt with the Hyundai. The Hyndai shifter is a little more loosey goosey, but in a good way.  The shifts are still crisp and precise, just not as crisp.  The clutch might be the difference, or the fact you have a 2.0 liter vs a 1.5 liter engine.  The clutch is just a bit easier to operate in the Hyundai.
But back to comparing the two Hyundais.   The DCT is easy as it gets and it make the engine sounds that you love as you accelerate up through the gears. Yes, you can have a ton of fun with the DCT, and it is super quick.  Which is better?  Hard to say and a personal choice. Overall most people will probably like the DCT is my guess.

Conclusion - If you are really on the fence, the safe bet is the DCT. Plenty of fun and you will not be dissapointed. You also get a sunroof and the NGS button with 10 extra horsepower and remove start. For $1,500. it is well worth it.  If you are used to driving a manual and want the maximum driver engagement the manual would be for you.  we are lucky that Hyundai gives you a choice and moreover, we are lucky Hyundai is bringing amazing performance at an affordable price. I've owned performance cars costing way more than this and they are not really that much better, if better!

I hope this has helped anyone seriously thinking of buying an Elantra N.   Here's some pictures of my two N's - the best two cars I've ever owned for the price.

                                         Cyber Gray Elantra N With Six Speed Manual

                                            Ceramic White Elantra N With 8 Speed DCT

           Thanks for visiting the Carcamerastory blog brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher

               Author of "Echoes From The Glen".  Follow on Instagram @wownowpics

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Elantra N Times Two

 I finally did it- I bought another Elantra N! I posted this news on Reddit and I got several comments asking why?

Here's the cars and you will see the why behind it below the picture.

Why buy two Hyundai Elantras?  Well for the past 2 years I have been trying out a number of new cars. I took the money I got selling an Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio and used it to buy two cars. Those were a Honda Accord Sport and an 11th Gen Honda Civic Si. Those were fine cars but the Accord was a big family sedan and the Civic was perfect for 90% of my driving needs but was lacking in power.  After several months of ownership of both Hondas my attention focused on the rave reviews on YouTube of the Hyundai Elantra N.

The Civic was the first to go, trading it for the Ceramic White Elantra N shown above. The Civic being a little too quiet (no exhaust sound) and a little uderpowered  (50 more HP would be welcome),  the Elantra N seemed to check all the boxes for me.  Boy, did it ever. That feeling came back where, on a Saturday morning I couldn't wait to get up and take it for a ride. The added power combined with the exhaust note had me hooked on the car. I also fell in love with the DCT (automatic transmission) that has a brain of its own, shifting exactly when it should and doing it faster than any human, and it even blips the throttle to rev match on the downshifts.

Then my story gets more complicated.  Having sacrificed my 6 speed manual Civic for the automatic 'N' car, I thought maybe it was time to get another Civic Si so I would still have a manual car to drive. You guessed it- I traded the Accord for a second Civic Si!  I had done so well with resale value on my first Civic and the used car market was still holding up I figured it was a good time to trade the Accord. It was August '22 and the used car market began to decline in July so timing was good to make a trade. My second Civic Si was a beautiful Aegean Blue and a real good looking ride. 

But then I watched a YouTube video of a manual Performance Blue Elantra N by Joe Raiti of Raiti's Rides. Of course it was one with a manual and the smile on Joe's face when he got 'On Throttle' with it had me thinking.  If I could get a good price for my Civic Si, it would not cost that much more to get into an Elantra N with the manual.  So my search began to find a Cyber Gray 'N' with the manual. It took about 6 weeks but I located 3 in Florida and called all three dealers.

Making a deal on the phone was not as easy as I thought as the dealers all wanted me to come in to talk. I had success with Rick Case Hyundai in Plantation, FL in making a great deal on the phone. I worked out my deal with Ryan Marcus who I highly recommend. He quickly put the numbers together after I told him what I was willing to do and if there was something I didn't want, like certain add ons he was able to get that taken care of. In the end, I got a great deal and they gained a satisfied customer. One thing that stood out with Ryan- he was either right there to answer my call or he would text or call back quickly if he was with another customer.  I would have traded my Civic in but with the market still strong for Civic Si's I sold it for more on Auto Trader, enough more so it more than covered my sales tax credit if I had traded it in.

So on January 3rd I flew to Ft. Lauderdale where Ryan had an Uber waiting to bring me to the dealership. Ryan had everthing ready with the beautiful new 'N' sitting out front. I was introduced to Andrii in finance who handled all the paperwork (Cash deal) and in less than an hour I was on my way back to St. Petersburg with what I truly think is a keeper. There will be fewer and fewer manual cars available in the future, let alone ICE manual cars. The Elantra N I predict will become one of the last, best performance cars available to buy.  

So if you think I'm crazy, maybe I am but I'm certainly happy with owning two of these fabulous cars! 

I'll soon be doing a full review comparing the two cars because I know a lot of you are torn which one to buy, the DCT or the Manual.  I think you will find that post very interesting.  In the meantime I'm staying around home for a couple of weeks after having driven 1800 miles between New York and Florida since New Years day.    Happy New Year everyone.

Brought to you by: Paul Ziegler, Publisher   Follow on Instagram @wownowpics

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  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 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
                                                  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".