Well it’s official. Hyundai can do no wrong with the Sonata in my book. Already impressed with redesigned 2020 gas and hybrid models, the brand new-to-the-lineup 2021 Sonata N Line version solidifies my high regard. The N-Line-badged Sonata is the most powerful Sonata ever and part of Hyundai’s new N Line family. It delivers on the brand’s performance promises with impressive horsepower, handling and driving dynamics for a midsize sedan in its segment. It slots fourth out of five trims: SE, SEL, SEL Plus, N Line and Limited.
The N Line offers significantly more power than the lineup’s other models. Based on the brand’s 2.5-L turbo four-cylinder engine, the N Line setup gets an added turbocharger, different cylinder head, and unique internals. Those upgrades deliver 290-horsepower and 311 lb.-ft. of torque. (The standard model offers either 191 or 180-hp.) The engine is mated to a new, quickly shifting 8-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifters. Fuel economy is 27 mpg combined. You can also start the engine remotely with the keyfob.
Ride and Drive
The N Line is also equipped with stiffer components and specially tuned N Line shocks. So you’re going to get a sportier and more engaged ride with tighter handling than other Sonata trims. Steering feel is enhanced thanks to a quick-ratio rack-mounted motor-driven power steering system. Its larger 13.6-inch front and 12.8-inch rear brakes deliver excellent braking.
Special N line badging denotes my Phantom Black-hued fast-back coupe’s sporty status. It sports a huge glossy black-out grille up front and rides on unique, terrific-looking 19-inch alloy wheels, and this model is equipped with optional summer tires. The N Line also differentiates itself with a unique sport front fascia and rear bumper. Body-colored door panels adorn the sides as do power-folding, heated side mirrors. You get full LED headlights and tail lights. The N Line also adds a rear spoiler, dual twin exhausts and a unique N Line diffuser. A panoramic sunroof is standard on the N Line and Limited trims.
The Sonata's interior and technology has impressed since its 2020 redesign. Sportier than the Limited models, the light black interior features dark chrome trim on the interior with red N Line stitching and ambient lighting. Well-designed, comfortable Nappa leather sport-bolstered, heated front seats feature suede inserts and N line badging. I like the Sonata’s longer seat cushion length. The driver’s seat is 8-way power with lumbar, the passenger’s is 6-way manually adjustable. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is unique to the N Line. Aluminum pedals greet your feet.
The push-button gear selector is surrounded by glossy black on the center console that also houses your drive mode select as well as auto brake hold. You’ll get two cupholders and standard wireless charging as well as 2 usb ports and a 12-volt up front. Dual-zone climate is standard.
The Sonata is a roomy sedan with plenty of head- and leg-room in both rows. Back row passengers have their own AC vent, USB port and dropdown console with cup holders. The rear seats fold down in a 60/40 split. The cargo area is spacious for a midsize sedan offering 16 cubic-feet of storage area, accessible with a remote trunk release and Hyundai’s hands-free smart trunk.
Technology impresses in the Sonata lineup. One of the coolest features is the fully digital drivers display that animates when you change driving modes from Normal, Sport, Sport +, and custom. (Note: you do not get the Blind Spot View Monitor in this trim.)
A 10.25-inch multimedia touchscreen is quick to respond and offers amazing graphics quality. Navigation map quality impresses as well. The system also houses a high-resolution backup camera with gridlines. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and HD radio are standard. The Bose 12-speaker premium audio system will please music fans.
I also continue to be a huge fan of Hyundai’s impressively accurate voice recognition system. Route navigation is also amazing with exceptional graphics quality.
The N Line Sonata is equipped with Hyundai’s SmartSense driver’s assistance suite. It includes standard Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with Pedestrian Detection, Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, High Beam Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Follow Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Rear Occupant Warning (ROA) door logic, Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist with Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, and Safety Exit Warning.
The Sonata’s vehicle auto-shut off function is also a must-mention. The vehicle will turn off automatically after a certain amount of time to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Say, for example, when the vehicle is on and parked in a garage for a long time.
What You’ll Pay
There is no official pricing available for this test model, but on Hyundai’s website the Sonata N Line MSRP’s for $33,300. Using Hyundai’s build tool, I added the options on this model, summer tires (+$200) and carpeted floor mats (+ $169) for an estimated $34,430 including destination.
2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line
- What I liked most: Performance.
- What I would change: Add Blind Spot View Monitor feature.
- MSRP: base $33,200. No official MSRP given.
- Fuel Economy: 23 city/33 highway, 27 combined.
- Official Color: Phantom Black.
- Odometer reading when tested: 302 miles.
- Weight: 3,552 lbs.
- Spare Tire: Temporary spare.
- Length-Width-Height: 192.9” long/73.2” wide w/o mirrors/56.9” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: TBD.
- Towing Capacity: N/A
- 2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line in a few words: A 290-horsepower sedan that affordably lives up to Hyundai’s new N Line promises.
- Final Assembly Location: Montgomery, Alabama.
- Warranty: 5 year/60,00/mile new vehicle limited warranty; 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain; 10-year/100,000-mile hybrid powertrain; 7-year/unlimited miles anti-perforation; 5 year/unlimited miles 24-hour roadside assistance.
- Manufacturer’s website: Hyundai