When the 2020 Hyundai Sonata dropped at the New York Auto Show in April, we declared ourselves extremely here for it, which is not something we normally say about a midsize sedan. We still are, but now our excitement has been slightly tempered with marketplace reality thanks to Wednesday’s confirmation that, while the Sonata will have an N Line variant, it won’t go full N.
You can probably figure this out on your own, but just in case: N is Hyundai’s peak performance line. So the N Line is more like the AMG Sport or BMW M Sport models. The Hyundai Elantra GT is already sporting an N Line option, which added stiffer engine, transmission and transmission mounts, stiffer springs, and a whole host of other upgrades. So it’ll be kind of N, but not really.
That means we won’t get a full-force Hyundai Sonata N in the vein of the Veloster N hot hatch, which we also love. Sad, but understandable.
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The Sonata N Line will be dialed up a touch, with a 290 horsepower turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. It’ll also come with the same eight-speed wet dual-clutch transmission as Hyundai puts into the Veloster N along with some aesthetic changes, like larger wheels and a quad exhaust layout, according to Motor1. It’s a step up from the current scrawny 180 HP 1.6-liter four-cylinder in the regular Sonata.
While disappointing to us gearheads, it’s a smart move on Hyundai’s business side. An N Sonata would have seen extremely limited sales, while the N Line Sonata has just enough spunk to make SUV-obsessed buyers look twice at a rumbly four-door sedan without being intimidated.
Plus, let’s be honest. Nobody was gonna track a Sonata anyway.
We’ll just tack the Hyundai Sonata N up on our Big Board Of What Could Have Been, and move on with our lives.