2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI vs 2022 Hyundai Elantra N

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  • 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI

    A red 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI is angled left.

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    2022 Hyundai Elantra N

    A blue 2022 Hyundai Elantra N is angled right.

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    34.5Cargo Space (cu.ft.)14.2
    25/34**Fuel Economy (city/hwy mpg)22/31
    yesManual Transmission (mt)yes

    As far as manufacturers are concerned, Volkswagen and Hyundai have quite a bit in common with one another. Both are foreign companies whose brands are well established and recognizable to both consumers and those who work within the industry. Both are known for their tireless dedication to both their craft and customers. While Volkswagen continues to develop more EV options in hopes of having a fleet that one day will be emission-free, Hyundai continues to improve upon reliability and customer relations. When it comes to enthusiast cars, both the Golf GTI and Elantra N are instantly recognizable as flagship cars of their respective brands. Both are known for performance and offering drivers something they can invest in and place their trust for maximum results. Today, we offer an objective look at the newest editions of both these offerings and see who will be the last car driving. It's the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI vs 2022 Hyundai Elantra N. Gentlemen...start your engines!

  • Performance

    A blue 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI is shown from the side parked in front of a mountain after winning a 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI vs 2022 Hyundai Elantra N comparison.

    Pushing the Boundaries of Performance

    Both the Golf GTI and the Elantra N are geared towards providing maximum performance. When the specifications related to this category are examined, they appear to be neck and neck with one another. Both offer similar features and appear to focus on the same areas of providing horsepower that's easy to harness and control. However, the long-running GTI has a few advantages over the newcomer from Korea.

    Volkswagen has equipped the Golf GTI with a turbocharged, intercooled, 2.0L engine. Armed with 241 ponies of horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, Volkswagen offers its drivers a chance to accelerate beyond the norm. Going 0-60 in just 5.1 seconds, precision German engineering puts the pedal to the metal and the rubber to the road. For drivers that crave extra control over their speed and handling, the Golf comes with a six-speed manual transmission. And for those who don't care to drive stick, Volkswagen provides a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission based on the famed Porsche PDK, making the shifting from gear to gear feel seamless.

    Facing the Champion

    Hyundai has stepped up their game as far as making a competitive offer is concerned. Not to be outdone by their German counterparts, Hyundai's engineering team has placed performance above all else. Attempting to one-up the gold, the Elantra comes with a similar 2.0L turbocharged engine. On paper, Hyundai's engine is quite impressive, delivering 276 ponies along with 289 lb-ft of torque. However, the Elantra isn't quite as good at turning that extra power into more forward momentum, with Hyundai only claiming a 5.0 second 0-60 time.

    Both models are also filled with modern performance features, from adjustable dampers to electronically-controlled limited-slip differentials. However, the tuning of these features is where the Volkswagen performance legacy comes into play. While Hyundai is dedicated to improving its N cars, Volkswagen has been carefully refining and improving the GTI for decades. The Elantra N is also over 100 pounds heavier than the GTI, which contributes to its less nimble handling.

  • Versatility and Comfort

    The black interior of a 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI shows the steering wheel and infotainment screen.

    Liveable Performance

    When it comes to forming an objective opinion on two competing products, one can't base their entire decision on just one fact. Looking at the broader picture and collecting data for a complete analysis means examining every possible aspect. One of the underlying facts about purchasing a car is that you're making a committed investment. You'll be using it for work, play, and plenty of other activities in between. The Golf GTI and Elantra N both have advantages that make them unique and benefit consumers; how they measure up in terms of versatility is what we'll be exploring next.

    Whether you're family-oriented or flying solo on the road called life, having enough space to take the important things with you wherever you go is always a necessity. When it comes to room for the extras, the Elantra N's offerings are standard for a sedan. A trunk with 14 cubic feet of storage space is slightly above average, but it's still smaller than some of its competitors, and the internal chassis bracing means you can't fold down the rear seats. When it comes to the storage capabilities of the GTI, the term "average" is missing completely from the conversation. The Volkswagen Golf is formulated for its versatile storage capabilities. Even with the rear seats up, the Volkswagen hatchback offers almost 20 cubic feet of storage which far surpasses the Elantra. When the going gets tough, the Golf gets spacious, with an available 34.5 cubic feet storage, which is just perfect for when that china hutch you bought at a yard sale needs to come home.

    A Question of Style

    We teach children not to judge their peers by what's on the surface but what's inside them. This analogy holds ground when it comes to looking over the advantages of a potential car to buy. A comfortable, spacious, and accommodating interior can make all the difference in the world when it comes to making your final choice. If you drive often, you'll be spending quite a bit of time behind the wheel, so why not be comfortable while doing so?

    Hyundai's recent innovations that they've brought to the Elantra N's new interior are rather impressive. Forget about the old stereotypes that sedans are mundane and lacking in thrills and aesthetics. The Elantra N quite literally puts you in the cockpit and makes you feel like you're qualifying for a race. Style is the name of the game in the Elantra N's new interior, with seats that look like they just came from a race car, pedals accentuated by metal trim, and a dashboard that seems more "The Last Starfighter" and less "Speed Racer." Not to worry, spacious passenger room for your guests won't cramp their style and let them in on the fun.

    While the Elantra N has built its interior with the racer in mind, Volkswagen appears to take its inspiration from the pages of science fiction. Much like the Elantra N, the Golf GTI interior is sleek and will allow you to live out your childhood fantasies of piloting a vehicle at warp speed. The GTI also has metal accented pedals and seats that enhance the cockpit aesthetic. However, an advantage that the GTI holds over the Elantra N is a design of practicality for the real world. A lower cowl improves road visibility, which is an advantage for a vehicle that's turbocharged. While driver-assistance technology comes equipped with both models, Volkswagen understands that nothing will replace the driver who keeps an eye on the road.

  • Exterior Design

    The 'GTI' badge is shown in close up on a white 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI.

    Stand Out from the Crowd

    While one should never judge a book by its cover, it's impossible not to. This is especially true when it comes to cars. The exterior is the first thing you notice, not performance, safety, or whether it's practical in terms of fuel economy. We're an image-driven society, and often, we want our cars to serve as an extension of who we are.

    Both the Golf GTI and Elantra N have fundamental similarities in terms of their exterior. While the matter of what's more appealing to the eye is a matter of subjection. What's noticeable about the Elantra N right away is that it's not shaped like the typical 4-door sedan. Curvaceous and aerodynamic, a spoiler accents the rear of the vehicle, which contributes to the racer aesthetic that Hyundai has placed a great deal of emphasis on. The design also incorporates an aggressive front end that makes for a vehicle that stands out in a crowd and makes a profound statement–perhaps too profound for many.

    Striking visuals are appealing but little compares to being practical. Like the Elantra N, the GTI is aerodynamic and instantly noticeable. However, there's a glaring advantage that the GTI holds over Hyundai's newest offering, and that's the understated and elegant styling that is a hallmark of the Volkswagen brand. There are no wing spoilers or overly-aggressive grilles here, just sleek lines that fit in anywhere. In fact, the only nod the exterior of the GTI makes to its high-performance design is a subtle red stripe in the grille and its large 19-inch alloy wheels. To the uninformed, it will blend in on the road rather than obnoxiously announcing its presence.

Bud Clary Auburn Volkswagen 47.3356737, -122.2233049.