2022 Subaru WRX vs Hyundai Elantra N is the hottest compact car battle to happen in a decade. And while drag races aren’t the only way to decide a rivalry, these performance tests can push perception and sales in one way or another. So which is the quickest?
The answer isn’t so simple because the first drag race between the 2022 Subaru WRX and Hyundai Elantra N… isn’t really a drag race. This is what Edmunds Cars calls a U-Drag, basically a mini autocross event where the cars accelerate, make a U-turn around a cone and go back again.
In their first race, the Elantra N has a bad start while using Hyundai’s launch control system. The new WRX is faster to 60 and to the quarter-mile. And yes, that is a quarter-mile, so it counts as drag racing. But the Korean car still wins the race due to a fundamental flaw with the Subaru.
For the second race, the Elantra N launches perfectly. The WRX drops its boost at the U-turn and so it gets completely demolished. Edmunds concludes that the Elantra hooks up better, is lighter by about 200lbs, and has a better steering feel. All these things come in addition to it being the race winner.
Both sedans come with turbocharged four-cylinder engines, but the WRX’s is bigger at 2.4 liters. The Japanese model also has decades of heritage while Hyundai is a newcomer, and AWD also seems like a favorable factor on paper, but you can clearly see that it’s not.
This brings me to the subject of Doug DeMuro. Back in January, the famous YouTuber said the Hyundai Elantra N has a “fantastic steering feel, but it doesn’t necessarily translate to fantastic handling when you’re running fast around corners.”
So he tried to say something objective without proof and turned out to be wrong. Most of the other reviewers said the steering in the WRX was the biggest problem. Either way, this would be a win for the Elantra N, which could now take over the sports compact sedan segment.
It certainly has the looks that the Subaru lacks. It’s cheap and fast. The only thing lacking is that cult following, that army of enthusiasts ready to do $10,000 rebuilds and install expensive coilovers. But on the bright side, the Elantra N comes with fun stuff out of the box, like rev-matching active exhaust and suspension.