At first, I didn’t know what to think of the new 2021 Hyundai Elantra. Design-wise, at least.

  • Car: 2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line
  • Location: Southern California
  • Photog: Peter Nelson (IG + Twitter: @16vPete)
  • Camera: Canon 6D, EF 50mm 1.8 AF

It looked kind of bird-like, the front end was rather bizarre, it looked like its designer was the re-incarnated designer of the F-117 stealth bomber, etc. But still, it won North American Car of the Year, so surely people saw something in it.

After taking a look at it in person, and comparing it with everything else on the road, I really dig it. It’s definitely inherently sporty across all trims, too. The pictured N Line is the sportiest trim on the road (so far) with its meaty-looking Goodyear Eagle F1 tires, N badging, and impeller-looking wheels.

Its driving experience matches the styling, too. It’s also a solid Honda Civic Si sedan fighter with its base six-speed manual, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder, and sporty suspension tuning. I hope these don’t become terribly under-appreciated. The world needs as many sport compacts as possible these days.