Updated: Apr 1, 2022
I've said it before, I'll say it again: Headlines are hard. N is actually for Namyang Proving Ground, and Hyundai is rolling out higher-performance variants of its cars badged as either N, as in the Veloster N, or N-Line as in our 2021 Hyundai Sonata N-Line.
We've talked before about the newest generation of Sonata, from the Sonata Limited with Smart Park, which packs 180 horsepower and gets an EPA-estimated 27 miles per gallon in the city, 36 highway, to the Sonata Hybrid Limited, which actually boosts power to 192 while delivering 45 miles per gallon in the city and 51 on the highway. The N-Line is very different from either of those two.
The 2021 Hyundai Sonata N-Line has the same turbocharged 2.5-liter inline four that powers the Genesis G80 and GV80. It brings an additional 110 horsepower to the party compared to the 1.6-liter turbo, 99 more than the standard naturally aspirated 2.5-liter turbo four and 98 more compared to the hybrid. That's 290 horsepower in an otherwise utterly practical family sedan. Sound like fun? You're right. With a standard eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the 2021 Hyundai Sonata N-Line is capable of 0-60 runs in a flat five seconds. Where you'll pay is at the pump, as the EPA fuel economy estimate heads south----23 city/33 highway. But that's only four mpg in the city and three on the highway less than you'll get with the 180-horsepower 1.6-liter turbo four. And that stat is like a flashing neon sign that says "Worth It!" And it's not just a go-fast-in-a-straight-line proposition. Hyundai's engineers have fitted the Sonata N-Line with larger brake rotors and suspension upgrades that make the car a revelation on winding back roads.
Best of all, the 2021 Hyundai Sonata N-Line is actually a few dollars less than the top-of-the-line Sonata Limited, with a base price of $33,300. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see for yourself, but among the standard equipment highlights at that price are a full suite of active safety features, a panoramic sunroof, dual automatic temperature control and a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system with a nine-inch subwoofer.
The window sticker below has no prices listed, but using the detail and Hyundai's online build tool, we got $200 for summer tires and $169 for carpeted floor mats. And that's that. With $1,005 freight, the as-tested price of the 2021 Hyundai Sonata N-Line is $34,674.
Pretty much any desirable family sedan in this size class is going to ring in between $35,000 and $40,000. This is the only one that can knock back 0-60 in five seconds flat. We can see performance-minded moms and dads making a beeline for the N-Line.