It was hard to seat in it without our knees going through the back of the front seat

The Hyundai Elantra GT N Line has the makings of a solid hot hatch, though if you’re going to seat in the back of one, you might want to brace yourselves. Space isn’t so much of a problem as it is a minor inconvenience for a model that doesn’t have a good amount of rear head- and legroom in the first place. Still, even with the tighter-than-expected rear section, the Elantra GT N Line is a solid first offering in the U.S. from Hyundai’s new N Line performance trim. Even though it’s still the same model, the Elantra GT N Line, in essence, replaces the Elantra GT Sport nameplate, and does so with slight aesthetic, powertrain, and chassis upgrades. Unfortunately, space in the rear of the hot hatch didn’t change, proving that even highly rated debuting models aren’t immune from minor flaws.

You Should Probably Cut Off Your Legs if You Want to Ride in the Back of the 2019 Hyundai Elantra GT N Line
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For what it is, the Hyundai Elantra GT N Line is actually a good first offering from Hyundai’s new mildly spicy N Line trim to the U.S. market.

It succeeds the Elantra GT Sport, but does so with minor upgrades across the exterior, interior, powertrain, and chassis.

The Elantra GT N Line’s arrival coincides with Hyundai’s plan to separate its lineup into five different tiers, beginning with the base models, the N Line vehicles, and the N performance outfit above it. Atop the N Line vehicles is a halo car, provided Hyundai ever builds one, while motorsport cars represent the apex of Hyundai’s pyramid.

All that is to say that the Elantra GT N Line introduces us to the second-tier of vehicles that Hyundai is looking to establish. The Elantra GT N Line actually traces its roots to the Elantra GT Sport, the same model it’s succeeding. Upgrades abound in all important corners of the hot hatch, not the least of which includes improvements in the hot hatch’s riding and drivability credentials. Engine performance remains the same, though, as the Elantra GT N Line also uses the same 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that the GT Sport had under its own hood. This unit produces 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque.

You Should Probably Cut Off Your Legs if You Want to Ride in the Back of the 2019 Hyundai Elantra GT N Line
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The hot hatch’s exterior follows the stylistic and aerodynamic blueprint laid out by the i30 GT N, the sort-of big brother of the Elantra GT N Line that isn’t available in the U.S. You’re not going to miss not having that model anymore now that the Elantra GT N Line is here. Aesthetically speaking, the similarities are hard to miss.

The Elantra GT Line boasts the same lower front splitter and silver-accented front grille.

At the back, there’s a new rear bumper, which adds to the hot hatch’s unmistakable charm.

You Should Probably Cut Off Your Legs if You Want to Ride in the Back of the 2019 Hyundai Elantra GT N Line
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The interior is where it gets interesting, and it’s not because the Elantra GT N Line boasts a leather N-branded steering wheel and leather sport seats with N badging with red accent stitching. These design elements are easy on the eyes already. What really caught our attention was the dearth of space in the back. We understand that, as a hatchback, the Elantra GT N Line doesn’t have the most cavernous cabin in the world.

But we tried out the rear seats, and it was a struggle to find a comfortable seating position at the back without our knees touching the back of the front seats.

Part of it can be blamed to the hatchback’s sports seats, which are traditionally thicker than traditional front seats. Part of it, too, can be traced to the Elantra GT Sport’s woes in the rear legroom department. It’s not as bad as the Ford Focus, which returns a paltry 33.2 inches of rear legroom space, but at 34.8 inches of rear legroom space, it’s not the most spacious place to be in, especially if you add thick sports seats in the equation. The Mazda 3, by comparison, returns a more palatable 35.8 inches of rear legroom space.

You Should Probably Cut Off Your Legs if You Want to Ride in the Back of the 2019 Hyundai Elantra GT N Line
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Perhaps we’re nitpicking a minor inconvenience that a lot of people won’t have problems with. The rear legroom won’t be an issue for children, for example. Vertically challenged adults won’t have any problems with it, too. That’s all fair.

But if you’re at least 5’8,” it'll be difficult to find a comfortable seating position in the Elantra GT N Line.

Forget about it if you’re taller or if you’re filled out.

The good news is that, at the end of the day, it really is a minor inconvenience. The Hyundai Elantra GT N Line is a solid first offering from Hyundai’s newly created N Line trim. We’ve been waiting a while for the Korean automaker to create a line similar to Volkswagen’s R-Line trim, and now that it’s here, the worst we can really do is complain about hitting our knees in the back of the front seats. Other than that, the Elantra GT N Line is a cracker of a hot hatch.

2019 Hyundai Elantra GT N Line interior specifications

Head room (front/rear) 39.1/38.5
Leg room (front/rear) 42.2/34.8
Shoulder room (front/rear) 56.2/55.4

2019 Hyundai Elantra GT Pricing

Model Engine Transmission MSRP
Elantra GT 2.0L 4-cylinder 6-speed Automatic Transmission with SHIFTRONIC® $20,450
Elantra GT N Line 1.6L Turbo GDI 4-cylinder 6-speed Manual Transmission $23,300
Elantra GT N Line 1.6L Turbo GDI 4-cylinder 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission with SHIFTRONIC® $24,400

Further reading

2019 Hyundai Elantra GT N-line is the first N-Line model in the U.S.
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2019 Hyundai Elantra GT N line is the first N Line model in the U.S.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT – Driven Exterior
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Read our full driven review on the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT.

2017 Hyundai Elantra High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Hyundai Elantra sedan.

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