When you think about it, the 2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line makes a compelling argument for a performance-oriented family sedan. Hyundai recently announced the starting MSRP, performance specs, and the list of standard features for the Sonata N Line. Let’s take a look.
How Much Is The 2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line?
The Sonata N Line starts at $34,195 (including the $995 destination fee). Drivers can add summer performance tires for $200 more, raising the base price to $34,395.
In our book, the 2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line stands high in a dwindling sea of competitors like the Mazda 6 Turbo, Toyota Camry TRD, and Honda Accord Sport. Granted, Hyundai’s entrant has a higher base price than the competition. But the N Line is, after all, a more souped-up version of a standard Sonata.
Sonata N Line Under The Hood
The newest member of Hyundai’s growing N Line family takes advantage of the eight-gen Sonata’s bold styling cues, fastback roofline, and a special “hot-stamped” platform with multi-load path structures and high-tensile steel plates. But it also gets a heavily-revised 2.5-liter turbocharged engine producing 290 horsepower and 311 lb-ft. of torque. More importantly, you have maximum grunt from a low 1,650 to 4,000 rpm, which means you don’t need to wring the engine to achieve decent performance.
This gem of a motor benefits from a unique cylinder head (with an integrated exhaust manifold), a piston cooling gallery, and a split-cooling and cross-flow cooling system. It also has an innovative fuel delivery system. It has both gasoline direct injection (GDI) and multi-port injection (MPI) to maximize volumetric efficiency. And with a high-response variable induction system coupled with electronic continuous variable valve timing (eCVVT), this engine is a far cry from the naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter motor of a regular Sonata.
Additionally, this 2.5-liter turbo is the same engine in the base Genesis G80 luxury sedan and GV80 SUV, although both are pumping out 300 horsepower in Genesis guise. Why the Sonata N Line is down by 10 horsepower than both Genesis vehicles is a question we’re asking ourselves (maybe that’s not a deal?). Still, it would have been cool if the new Sonata N Line could have matched the 300-plus horsepower output of the Toyota Camry TRD.
Innovative Dual-Clutch Gearbox
The Hyundai Sonata N Line also gets a new N DCT eight-speed wet dual-clutch automatic transmission with paddle shifters. What makes this gearbox unique is the wet sump system that uses oil and an electric oil pump to cool the clutches during spirited driving, which means you can go harder for longer without overheating the gearbox. Unsurprisingly, it’s the same unit found in the 2021 Veloster N, although the Veloster is also available with a six-speed manual – and the Sonata N Line is not.
It’s also worth noting that Hyundai’s N DCT dual-clutch unit is developed in-house by N brand engineers. It even has an N Power Shift (NPS) mode that delivers maximum power to the front wheels through each gear change, which somewhat replicates the feeling of being pulled in a manual transmission.
The sporty driving sensation is made better with stiffer springs, unique monotube dampers, high-rigidity chassis bushings, a quicker steering ratio (12.35:1 compared to 13.27:1 in a regular Sonata), and an active dual exhaust system with quad tailpipes.
The Sonata N Line can automatically sense driving styles and road conditions to optimize shift points. For example, the car will hold lower gears longer for better acceleration out of corners. Photo: Hyundai Motor America.
Generous Standard Features
The 2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line builds upon the generously-equipped Sonata SEL trim with standard LED headlights, heated mirrors, a hands-free trunk opener, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The Sonata N Line also has bespoke 19-inch wheels, standard all-season performance tires (summer tires are optional), bigger brakes, new front and rear bumpers, a subtle lip spoiler, and the requisite N badging. It also gets a panoramic sunroof, full LED taillights, and black mirror caps.
Inside, the Sonata N Line receives a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10.2-inch touchscreen display with standard navigation, a Bose audio system, LED ambient lighting, wireless charging, and unique N sport front seats with Nappa leather bolsters and Dinamica suede inserts.
On the safety front, the Sonata N Line comes with Hyundai SmartSense. It includes forward collision-avoidance with pedestrian detection, high beam assist, lane-keeping assist, smart cruise control with Stop & Go, lane following assist, blind-spot collision-avoidance, rear cross-traffic, and a safe exit warning system, among many others.
Additionally, the 2021 Sonata N Line is accessible via a smartphone-based digital key and comes with three years of complimentary Blue Link services.
2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line interior layout. Photo: Hyundai Motor America.
Hyundai Sonata N Line: Availability & Warranty
The 2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line will arrive at U.S. dealerships by December 2020. The newest Sonata N Line is covered by a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile limited warranty. If you have questions on how to extend your Hyundai warranty, please see this helpful and free guide.
Honestly, the new Sonata N Line is a veritable performance bargain. And we hate to admit this, but it seems the Sonata N Line is above and beyond its competitors despite its higher base price. If you would like to post a photo of the car as your background, check out this gallery of Sonata N Line photos.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.