The Hyundai Elantra N and Subaru WRX make for a great duel when it comes to affordable performance-focused sedans. Edmunds put them into a test in order to how well their similar specs – setting aside the FWD / AWD layout – stack up in real life. The results were surprising, with the Hyundai showing its supremacy.
Looking at the numbers, the Elantra N’s turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is the more potent of the two, producing up to 286 hp (213 kW / 290 PS) and 392 Nm (289 lb-ft) of torque. In comparison, the WRX’s turbocharged 2.4-liter engine might come with more displacement but gets a slightly less impressive 271 hp (202 kW / 275 PS) and 350 Nm (258 lb-ft) of torque. However, the Subaru has the advantage of the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system with Active Torque Vectoring, providing superior traction over the Hyundai’s front-wheel-drive with an electronic limited-slip differential.
Edmund’s U-Drag race test includes a drag race, a U-turn, and another straight link back to the finish line. The AWD traction helps the Subaru spring ahead in the first leg of the first race, but the Hyundai manages to catch up and overtake it in the end. The drivers switch for the second race which is dominated by the Hyundai due to a very successful launch. This leaves no doubt that the Hyundai is the clear winner of the test, although this doesn’t necessarily mean it would win in a traditional drag race, or in a track battle.
What is more surprising is that both testers, Reese Counts and Kurt Niebuhr, agree that the Hyundai Elantra N was superior in all aspects compared to the Subaru WRX. They praised the steering of the car giving credits to the Hyundai N department, but also the power delivery of the engine which makes the Subaru feel sluggish in comparison.