There’s no denying that this year is unique in terms of inexpensive performance vehicles. Volkswagen, Hyundai, and Subaru all have new models competing for the top spot. In this comprehensive video assessment, the trio is put through its paces on an autocross track to determine the most crucial factor: which one is the most enjoyable to drive.
That’s crucial because it’s all too easy to overlook poor driving engagement just because a car is more convenient. Speed and driving enjoyment are the primary priorities in this test, as they should be. The Hyundai Elantra N is a newcomer to the market, competing against the new Subaru WRX and the new Volkswagen Golf GTI.
On paper, it appears to be the clear winner, having greater power than its competitors. The Volkswagen is the lightest car in the group (by only a few pounds above the Elantra), but it’s also the least powerful. The Subaru is the heaviest, but it’s also the only car on the list that transmits any power to the back wheels.
Edmunds appears to put up an autocross track before just running each car once. The Volkswagen comes in first, with a 56.16 lap time, strong handling, solid feedback, and no major flaws.
Surprisingly, the WRX is a lot less fun to drive. It not only understeers at a number of locations on the track, but it also has trouble braking efficiently. Both contribute to a final lap time of 56.69, which is unsatisfactory to our ears.
With a timing of 54.84, the Elantra N monsters both of them. It does this owing to a number of performance advantages, including the largest brakes in the class, greater power (as previously indicated), and actual launch control, which its competitors lack.
The presenter claims he’d choose the VW over the Elantra since he doesn’t like the Elantra’s design. Regardless, it’s fascinating to observe how much quicker, and objectively better at being a performance vehicle, a complete rookie is when compared to its more seasoned competitors.