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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright friends, I managed to get my hands on an Elantra N today. I did a whole walk around, sat in every seat, explored every nook and cranny, and really put it through its paces. Here’s a list of pros and cons and a full summary.

PROS:

1). It’s an absolute hoot to drive and an emotional driving experience.
2). It looks much more attractive in person-seriously, pictures don’t do it justice.
3). The exhaust note is sonorous.
4). The steering feels direct and well weighted.
5). Responsive and progressive brake feel that isn’t jerky at all. The brakes definitely inspire confidence.
6). There’s ample space in the interior and trunk.
7). The DCT makes the one in my GTI feel like a torque converter. It’s that good.

CONS:

1). The interior is the opposite of the exterior-it looks good in pictures but in person it’s a mess. Tons of low rent materials and it very much feels like an econobox.
2). The seats absolutely SUCK. I’m of pretty average size (about 5’10 and a little under 200 pounds) and in decent shape, but they felt very constraining and would be a nightmare on a road trip. Also, the materials they’re made of feel very fake.
3). The Hyundai dealership experience is as miserable as ever-as soon as I said I’d only pay MSRP they told me they’d never sell me one, and that even if I ordered they’d slap an ADM on it. Absolute ass clowns, as always with Hyundai and Kia.

My conclusion: wait for the GRC

SUMMARY:

First and foremost the car looks amazing. I did a full walk around and really took it in at every angle, and the pictures don’t do it justice. The car looks special in person and is an attention getter, particularly in performance blue. I wasn’t really sold on the looks before I saw one in person, but now that I have I definitely think it’s an attractive and distinctive car. That being said, all of this is subjective.

However things take a nosedive when you sit down in it. I’m not expecting a Mercedes or Lexus interior in this segment, but a heavily modified performance sedan should feel special inside to a degree, or at least better than the car it’s based on. The Elantra N does not. The materials look good but they feel awful. Scratchy plastics abound, and the fake alcantara and leatherette feel…well, fake. Very fake. The leatherette in particular feels like cheap vinyl and was searingly hot. If you’re prone to swamp ass or lower back sweat, these seats will be a challenge.

However, room is excellent. I could fit behind myself with room to spare, and there’s plenty of space for the driver and passenger. That being said the back seat is really spartan. There isn’t even a center armrest, and the front seats are performance oriented to a fault. If you’re tracking it I’m sure they’re great, but for normal driving they’re very, very constricting. As I said above, I’m a pretty average sized dude and after 20 minutes in the car I was uncomfortable. If you’re on the smaller side or are very lanky you might be fine, but if you’re stocky like I am or overweight you’ll need to try them for yourself.

For me personally they were a dealbreaker. I understand that it’s a 30 something grand performance oriented car and you want good bolstering…but these are too much for me to want to road trip in or daily. But I digress, let’s talk about the drive. I had it out on mixed highway and suburban roads. I set everything set to Sport + except dampers, which I left in their softest mode, which felt soft enough for daily use.

This is where the Elantra N really shines. The throttle is responsive and there’s good power and torque throughout the rev range. Power delivery is also very linear-I didn’t notice any turbo lag, and no matter where you are in the rev range there’s power for you. The steering was way better than I expected as well. It’s direct, there’s very little understeer, and in the sportiest settings it’s very well weighted and provides adequate, if unremarkable, feedback.

The exhaust note is downright hilarious. I was giggling like a kid whenever I let off the throttle…it pops and bangs audibly and gives you a nice WHOOSH when changing gears. It definitely doesn’t sound like a four popper, and in this segment that’s a huge plus as many spicy sedans and hatchbacks sound like vacuum cleaners…even the mighty Civic Type R.

The brakes really impressed me as well. They’re firm and progressive and somehow they’ve tuned all the hurky jerkiness out of them. I find that in a lot of performance cars the brakes are hard to modulate and can be an all-or-nothing proposal. Not these, and with how the brakes, steering, and throttle work together it’s a fairly easy car to drive slowly and in traffic. Hyundai definitely deserves a lot of credit-the thing is a pleasure to drive. The DCT is great too. Absolutely instant responses and it’s never in a rush to put you into a higher gear. The paddles actually work well too. They’re not just there for decoration.

But when all was said and done…the car just didn’t add up for me personally, and as is the usual for Hyundai and Kia the salespeople were absolute asses. As soon as I said I wouldn’t pay over MSRP I got laughed at. The guy literally said something like “you won’t but I promise you someone will”. I then said “well if it sits for a few weeks and you’re ready to talk MSRP maybe we can touch base again”. He then got even more defiant, and said that they would never sell me an N car at MSRP. I responded with “well, what about if I ordered one?”, to which he said “we’ll still mark it up, no one is doing MSRP or orders anymore, you don’t know what you’re talking about”.

I then walked out. I was fully prepared to deal with a bunch of stealership jackwagons at Hyundai, but I think it’s the constant condescension that truly gets me with their brand’s sales approach as a whole. They consistently treat me like an idiot teenager and none of them ever want to sell me a car….when the reality of the situation (I’m not trying to brag here either, just telling it like it is) is I’m way more qualified than their average buyer and absolutely know more about the cars than their frat house salespeople do.

But whatever. That’s on them 🤷‍♂️ All in all, I think if it’s solely the drive that you care about and we’re talking about the car in a vacuum, then the Elantra N is a great option. It’s a blast to drive. You can tell that Biermann and his group really left no stone unturned as far as the experience is concerned, and they should be lauded for it.

But as a complete package? I’m not so sure. The seats and horrid interior quality really made the car harder for me to enjoy, then factor in the famous Hyundai sales experience, and I concluded that for my own needs, this particular car isn’t it. If you’re willing to pay over MSRP (and clearly based on how the jackass salesman was talking to me-you will!) and the crappy interior doesn’t bug you/you can fit comfortably in the seats, then it’s a worthy option.

Or, if you’re going to mainly track it and/or nothing matters more to you than the drive, then check one out. It’s a great driver’s car and at MSRP it’s a very compelling choice. But finding one anywhere near that price is probably a fool’s errand, and compared to the competition you’re definitely going to have to make compromises when it comes to everyday comfort and the interior.
 

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With all the money Hyundai puts into improving their cars, the next step is to change their dealership experience and to build better engines.

Might be time for them to build their engines in Korea.

I enjoyed driving the N products, as far as interiors go it’s still a Elantra (Civic, Corolla, Sentra competitor)

Great write up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
With all the money Hyundai puts into improving their cars, the next step is to change their dealership experience and to build better engines.

Might be time for them to build their engines in Korea.

I enjoyed driving the N products, as far as interiors go it’s still a Elantra (Civic, Corolla, Sentra competitor)
I’ve had several interactions with their dealerships and all of them have been dreadful. I legitimately wonder if their network wide approach is “bully people into cars”. I’m a really easy going person but I don’t appreciate salespeople that openly tell me I don’t know anything and that laugh at the idea that I have my own terms Id like to negotiate from. That’s just being an informed shopper, and I think they rely on people that don’t know what they’re doing.

Agreed on the interior, but with a caveat…when you look at the competitors, they’ve all been touched up nicely to make the car feel more special than the econobox it’s based on. The new Civic SI has an amazing interior that’s more special than a base Civic’s. The GTI has always had a bunch of cool touches that separate it from a normal Golf. Hell, the TRD Camry even gets some cool interior upgrades.

…but the EN interior feels like a stock Elantra that they’ve slammed some fake suede onto with double sided tape. It’s just not a very pleasant place to be.
 

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I’ve had several interactions with their dealerships and all of them have been dreadful. I legitimately wonder if their network wide approach is “bully people into cars”. I’m a really easy going person but I don’t appreciate salespeople that openly tell me I don’t know anything and that laugh at the idea that I have my own terms Id like to negotiate from. That’s just being an informed shopper, and I think they rely on people that don’t know what they’re doing.

Agreed on the interior, but with a caveat…when you look at the competitors, they’ve all been touched up nicely to make the car feel more special than the econobox it’s based on. The new Civic SI has an amazing interior that’s more special than a base Civic’s. The GTI has always had a bunch of cool touches that separate it from a normal Golf. Hell, the TRD Camry even gets some cool interior upgrades.

…but the EN interior feels like a stock Elantra that they’ve slammed some fake suede onto with double sided tape. It’s just not a very pleasant place to be.
The N is suppose to be a Type R competitor so that’s bad. Lol.

The Civic has one of the best interior layouts next to the Mazda 3 as far as Asian manufacturers go.

They really need to fix that dealership situation though. For MSRP the Elantra/Veloster/Kona are great cars performance wise for the money, but if you have bad dealers that cancels out any of the pros the car has.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The N is suppose to be a Type R competitor so that’s bad. Lol.

The Civic has one of the best interior layouts next to the Mazda 3 as far as Asian manufacturers go.

They really need to fix that dealership situation though. For MSRP the Elantra/Veloster/Kona are great cars performance wise for the money, but if you have bad dealers that cancels out any of the pros the car has.
Exactly. This dealership wanted 38k for the Elantra N and it doesn’t make sense at that price. That’s decent CTR territory. Like I said, the dude got legitimately angry when I said I wouldn’t pay over MSRP, and then doubled down and said he’d even mark up one that I ordered if I tried to go that route. Real nice guy lol…
 

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Exactly. This dealership wanted 38k for the Elantra N and it doesn’t make sense at that price. That’s decent CTR territory. Like I said, the dude got legitimately angry when I said I wouldn’t pay over MSRP, and then doubled down and said he’d even mark up one that I ordered if I tried to go that route. Real nice guy lol…
I would’ve reported him. Lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would’ve reported him. Lol.
…report him to a Hyundai dealership? They’d probably give him a raise 🤣

But all jokes and flaws I brought up aside, it’s hard to overstate how well the Elantra N drives. It’s easily the best FWD car I’ve ever piloted, but to be fair I’ve never driven a CTR. If a potential buyer can get one at MSRP and doesn’t mind the seats/drab interior Id still recommend it. I’ve been letting the whole experience marinate for a few hours and I really do think it’s a great driver’s car.
 

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…report him to a Hyundai dealership? They’d probably give him a raise 🤣

But all jokes and flaws I brought up aside, it’s hard to overstate how well the Elantra N drives. It’s easily the best FWD car I’ve ever piloted, but to be fair I’ve never driven a CTR. If a potential buyer can get one at MSRP and doesn’t mind the seats/drab interior Id still recommend it. I’ve been letting the whole experience marinate for a few hours and I really do think it’s a great driver’s car.
You can always tell corporate, I’m saying lmao. But I mean if you never buy one it’s not that serious.
 

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Maybe Hyundai don't really want to produce that many elantra N (or Kona N) models. They just need a few Ns to please car reviewers and build brand reputation, so that they could sell more econoboxes and SUVs with radical designs soon to be oldfashioned.
 

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…report him to a Hyundai dealership? They’d probably give him a raise 🤣

But all jokes and flaws I brought up aside, it’s hard to overstate how well the Elantra N drives. It’s easily the best FWD car I’ve ever piloted, but to be fair I’ve never driven a CTR. If a potential buyer can get one at MSRP and doesn’t mind the seats/drab interior Id still recommend it. I’ve been letting the whole experience marinate for a few hours and I really do think it’s a great driver’s car.
I've also never driven a CTR, but I've heard it's not the best driver's car, priamrily because the steering feels 'video game'-y. As in, it works perfectly, without issue, every time, and goes directly where you point it, but has no feedback outside of turning the car. That's apparently part of what allows it to set records on so many rings. Again, never driven one. Just going based on what I've heard from reviewers.

Maybe Hyundai don't really want to produce that many elantra N (or Kona N) models. They just need a few Ns to please car reviewers and build brand reputation, so that they could sell more econoboxes and SUVs with radical designs soon to be oldfashioned.
Despite the era of SUVs and Trucks, it seems sports cars still sell brands. I know at least 2 people who bought a Rav4 because they thought the Supra was the coolest car ever and wanted something from the same brand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I've also never driven a CTR, but I've heard it's not the best driver's car, priamrily because the steering feels 'video game'-y. As in, it works perfectly, without issue, every time, and goes directly where you point it, but has no feedback outside of turning the car. That's apparently part of what allows it to set records on so many rings. Again, never driven one. Just going based on what I've heard from reviewers.


Despite the era of SUVs and Trucks, it seems sports cars still sell brands. I know at least 2 people who bought a Rav4 because they thought the Supra was the coolest car ever and wanted something from the same brand.
Precisely. Sporty cars might not sell in huge numbers but they serve to bring attention to the brand, not to mention they must sell decently enough that the bean counters at these major companies can justify keeping them around. For whatever reason the sports compact segment seems to be alive and well these days. We lost a few icons over the last 5-10 years (Focus ST/RS, the Evo, and STI) but we’ve gained a few more interesting offerings too, such as the N cars and of course the GRC.

Some folks are dubbing it the hot hatch resurgence. I’m not sure if I’d go that far, but I’m definitely happy that in a world of NPC blob crossovers and small SUVs there are still enticing sub 40k practical performance options. We all have our individual preferences, but variety is the spice of life. Also, if we want to keep these cars around we’ll need to talk with our money. We can’t keep going with the “I’m gonna wait 5 years and buy one used” approach. We need to pony up and show these companies that if they make these cars we’ll buy them.

Also…I’m gonna be real y’all, I’m still thinking about the Elantra N drive. I’m still not sure if I could get over the low rent interior and stiff seats, but man was it a treat to put that car through its paces.
 

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I did exactly what you did, and had many of the same thoughts, and ultimately bought the car. A few thoughts:

1. Hyundai dealers do suck, but it's possible to find this car at MSRP! I bought mine at MSRP after a few weeks of looking.
2. It took me a while to get the seats in a position I liked, but I did and now they're comfortable. Coming from a Fiesta ST, though, I prefer the Recaros in the Fiesta. But these are good if you fit in them and take some time to adjust them.
3. The interior is not awesome but does have all physical controls. Like, I'd rather be in here than a GTI. But I'd rather be in a Mazda 3 or Civic or probably Corolla than this. But the backseat room here is very large.

I also bought a DCT even though I've only owned manuals. It's very good. I couldn't stop smiling and laughing during the test drive, and that's ultimately why I bought it (not the one I test drove — that dealer wanted 5K over, hah).

I do think I'll try to get a GR Corolla eventually — I live in the PNW where AWD is useful, and I prefer both a hatchback and a shorter car than the Elantra N. But it's a really, really fun car, and if I can't get a GR Corolla (or if it doesn't turn out to be as good as we think) I am satisfied with the EN. And, to be honest, I'm not sure the GRC will be more fun. Maybe it will, but everything about this car is so childlike and fun. I'd definitely recommend taking one for a test drive if you can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I did exactly what you did, and had many of the same thoughts, and ultimately bought the car. A few thoughts:

1. Hyundai dealers do suck, but it's possible to find this car at MSRP! I bought mine at MSRP after a few weeks of looking.
2. It took me a while to get the seats in a position I liked, but I did and now they're comfortable. Coming from a Fiesta ST, though, I prefer the Recaros in the Fiesta. But these are good if you fit in. them and take some time to adjust them.
3. The interior is not awesome but does have all physical controls. Like, I'd rather be in here than a GTI. But I'd rather be in a Mazda 3 or Civic or probably Corolla than this. But the backseat room here is very large.

I also bought a DCT even though I've only owned manuals. It's very good. I couldn't stop smiling and laughing during the test drive, and that's ultimately why I bought it (not the one I test drove — that dealer wanted 5K over, hah).

I do think I'll try to get a GR Corolla eventually — I live in the PNW where AWD is useful, and I prefer both a hatchback and a shorter car than the Elantra N. But it's a really, really fun car, and if I can't get a GR Corolla (or if it doesn't turn out to be as good as we think) I am satisfied with the EN. And, to be honest, I'm not sure the GRC will be more fun. Maybe it will, but everything about this car is so childlike and fun. I'd definitely recommend taking one for a test drive if you can.
Im going to be brutally honest-I’ve been thinking about how amazing the drive was since yesterday and am calling around to MSRP dealerships. Something about the emotional response the car elicited out of me has stuck with me, and the more I think about my gripes the more I think they’re something I can get over.

I’ve driven a wide range of stuff over the years-my parents have each had several Audis, I currently daily a GTI, I’ve driven a Golf R, a current gen Camaro, several Bimmers, assorted appliances as company cars and cars of my friends’, and my aunt lets me take her NA Miata out every couple weeks.

…nothing has driven as well overall as the EN did. It’s the most connected car I’ve ever driven other than the Miata, which of course is in a league of its own. The steering is direct and well weighted. The brakes are progressive and have good bite without being twitchy. It handles nearly as well as a purpose built sports car…and that exhaust note is intoxicating. It legitimately sounds like you’re driving a performance six cylinder. Idk how they did it, but they did.

I’m not pulling my name off the GRC list just yet, but if I can find a DCT EN in performance blue or cyber gray at MSRP Im probably pulling the trigger. It’s also hard to overstate how much a good auto will help my case. I can drive stick and enjoy it, but I live in the middle of the city and my fiancée doesn’t know how. Also, the back seats have way more room, and we have kids on the way eventually/a dog who likes his space.

Im sad to admit this here of all places, but I think it’s going to be an Elantra N for us. I honestly drove it to try to rule it out, but I was so struck by the overall experience that now I can’t forget it 🤷‍♂️
 

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Im going to be brutally honest-I’ve been thinking about how amazing the drive was since yesterday and am calling around to MSRP dealerships. Something about the emotional response the car elicited out of me has stuck with me, and the more I think about my gripes the more I think they’re something I can get over.

I’ve driven a wide range of stuff over the years-my parents have each had several Audis, I currently daily a GTI, I’ve driven a Golf R, a current gen Camaro, several Bimmers, assorted appliances as company cars and cars of my friends’, and my aunt lets me take her NA Miata out every couple weeks.

…nothing has driven as well overall as the EN did. It’s the most connected car I’ve ever driven other than the Miata, which of course is in a league of its own. The steering is direct and well weighted. The brakes are progressive and have good bite without being twitchy. It handles nearly as well as a purpose built sports car…and that exhaust note is intoxicating. It legitimately sounds like you’re driving a performance six cylinder. Idk how they did it, but they did.

I’m not pulling my name off the GRC list just yet, but if I can find a DCT EN in performance blue or cyber gray at MSRP Im probably pulling the trigger. It’s also hard to overstate how much a good auto will help my case. I can drive stick and enjoy it, but I live in the middle of the city and my fiancée doesn’t know how. Also, the back seats have way more room, and we have kids on the way eventually/a dog who likes his space.

Im sad to admit this here of all places, but I think it’s going to be an Elantra N for us. I honestly drove it to try to rule it out, but I was so struck by the overall experience that now I can’t forget it 🤷‍♂️
It’s a fun car man, no harm in driving something fun and falling for it
 

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I hope you're able to find a dealership who will sell at MSRP or will order it for you at MSRP. I'm a bit spoiled because many of the Toyota and Hyundai dealerships around me seem to be MSRP. Hyundai really turned it around in the past decade and their cars are great values for what you get.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
It’s a fun car man, no harm in driving something fun and falling for it
That’s where I’m at. Biermann and Co have essentially said that their goal with the N cars is for them to be an emotional, entertaining experience and that they’re not chasing pure numbers. At the end of the day that’s what I think I love the most in a car, and my biggest gripe with living with my GTI isn’t that it’s BAD per se…it’s just that the drive lacks personality and engagement.

It’s tame to a fault, whereas the EN is an unapologetic hooligan of a car. If the GTI is a nicely tailored suit the EN is like a Hawaiian shirt or a patterned button down. It can still be proper, but it’s here for a good time. And the rest of my life is pretty buttoned down and professional…so I think I deserve to let loose a bit with my daily.
 

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That’s where I’m at. Biermann and Co have essentially said that their goal with the N cars is for them to be an emotional, entertaining experience and that they’re not chasing pure numbers. At the day that’s what I think I love the most in a car, and my biggest gripe with living with my GTI isn’t that it’s BAD per se…it’s just that the drive lacks personality and engagement.

It’s tame to a fault, whereas the EN is an unapologetic hooligan of a car. If the GTI is a nicely tailored suit the EN is like a Hawaiian shirt or a patterned button down. It can still be proper, but it’s here for a good time. And the rest of my life is pretty buttoned down and professional…so I think I deserve to let loose a bit with my daily.
The N cars are underdogs for sure, I was telling @Wynorrific awhile ago how my friend bought a Kona N and while we were there I drove the Elantra N and Kona N. Their lineup has a lot of character.

They came from rebadging Mitsubishi's to essentially creating their own identity. A lot of people in Korea are proud of their performance division.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The N cars are underdogs for sure, I was telling @Wynorrific awhile ago how my friend bought a Kona N and while we were there I drove the Elantra N and Kona N. Their lineup has a lot of character.

They came from rebadging Mitsubishi's to essentially creating their own identity. A lot of people in Korea are proud of their performance division.
As they should be, they’re coming for some power players in the segment and by all accounts so far they seem to be holding their own. Obviously some people can’t get over the badge, but they’ve clearly put a competitive product out that offers something the more established cars don’t…and journalists have noticed, pretty much everyone loves the EN other than Doug but his video was weird and didn’t really focus on what the car’s good at…plus he had the manual one and I genuinely think the DCT is the way to go.

When Savagegeese got their hands on it a few weeks ago and absolutely raved about how great it was I really took notice. I trust Jack and Mark’s takes on cars over most peoples’, because they really know their stuff and unlike lots of other reviewers they don’t blow smoke up manufacturer’s asses. If they don’t like a car they’ll say it.

Now, whether or not it’ll hold up well is anyone’s guess, but Car and Driver put 40k on a Veloster N and had almost no issues at all…and the warranty is long enough that I’m not gonna lose sleep over something going wrong. Hyundai also now provides a full 3 years of complimentary scheduled maintenance, which is a huge help. Obviously catastrophic stuff happens…but IMHO the majority of common car issues occur because people don’t maintain them properly.

I think here in the enthusiast community doing your preventative maintenance is basically a given…but I don’t think the general public agrees. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled up a Carfax to find that a car went like 30k miles without so much as an oil change…and of course that car is instantly ruled out.
 

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As they should be, they’re coming for some power players in the segment and by all accounts so far they seem to be holding their own. Obviously some people can’t get over the badge, but they’ve clearly put a competitive product out that offers something the more established cars don’t…and journalists have noticed, pretty much everyone loves the EN other than Doug but his video was weird and didn’t really focus on what the car’s good at…plus he had the manual one and I genuinely think the DCT is the way to go.

When Savagegeese got their hands on it a few weeks ago and absolutely raved about how great it was I really took notice. I trust Jack and Mark’s takes on cars over most peoples’, because they really know their stuff and unlike lots of other reviewers they don’t blow smoke up manufacturer’s asses. If they don’t like a car they’ll say it.

Now, whether or not it’ll hold up well is anyone’s guess, but Car and Driver put 40k on a Veloster N and had almost no issues at all…and the warranty is long enough that I’m not gonna lose sleep over something going wrong. Hyundai also now provides a full 3 years of complimentary scheduled maintenance, which is a huge help. Obviously catastrophic stuff happens…but IMHO the majority of common car issues occur because people don’t maintain them properly.

I think here in the enthusiast community doing your preventative maintenance is basically a given…but I don’t think the general public agrees. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled up a Carfax to find that a car went like 30k miles without so much as an oil change…and of course that car is instantly ruled out.
My brother has a 10 year old Kia without any problems.

I understand they have some little and big hiccups (like other manufactures), but I usually tell people, how can a brand become good if people ALWAYS put them down? For example, someone will say "This brand sucks, they aren't reliable" but If they managed to make a reliable car, how would you know? Usually someone no matter what will say they're terrible. lol. Yes there are instances where manufacturers just don't improve.

As far as Hyundai goes they've only showed that they're trying to improve, which they do.

Im all about fun cars and the car community though, so I welcome anything people have fun with.
 

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That’s where I’m at. Biermann and Co have essentially said that their goal with the N cars is for them to be an emotional, entertaining experience and that they’re not chasing pure numbers. At the end of the day that’s what I think I love the most in a car, and my biggest gripe with living with my GTI isn’t that it’s BAD per se…it’s just that the drive lacks personality and engagement.

It’s tame to a fault, whereas the EN is an unapologetic hooligan of a car. If the GTI is a nicely tailored suit the EN is like a Hawaiian shirt or a patterned button down. It can still be proper, but it’s here for a good time. And the rest of my life is pretty buttoned down and professional…so I think I deserve to let loose a bit with my daily.
That's all I was hoping for in the GRC. I don't care if the numbers don't meet the competition, as long as it is fun to drive and engaging(and good in snow) that's all I cared for in my car search. A fun to drive AWD, manual Toyota? Sign me up.
@Jeonsa has wondered about Hyundai doing an AWD car in the states(since they have rally experience for a good AWD system) and it's something I'd be willing to consider if it ever did actually happen
 
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