Like many new vehicles, the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N offers several different drive modes. One of them is the N mode which, among other things, makes the sound of the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine a little more lively. Apparently, it’s too busy for a California police officer and officials at a state testing center. Now the owner can’t drive his Elantra N until the problem is fixed, but since it’s new and allegedly stock, there’s nothing to fix.
The situation is explained in both a Reddit post and a video shared by the Understood Youtube channel. Briefly, this driver was pulled over by a California auto officer due to backfiring noises coming from the car, a 2022 Hyundai Elantra N. The driver explained that the car was stock and offered to blow off the hood, but the officer refused. Instead, he told the driver that his registration would be suspended and a state representative would return him “to the dealer; the dealer has to remove the track options, you have to pay for it, it’s about 4 $000”.
Later in the conversation, the officer raises that figure to $7,000. It’s unclear how the officer arrived at these numbers, but he then informed the driver that he could sue the dealership for the money, saying dealership representatives should tell the driver that driving in track mode n isn’t allowed and he could “get your $4,000, $5,000 back.” The recording was suspended at the scene and, according to the video, the officer also attempted to suspend the driver’s license. Apparently this was overruled by state officials as not being allowed.
But wait, there’s more.
The owner of this Elantra N took the car to an inspection station and was told that it had to be tested in the vehicle’s loudest mode. In this case, it was tested in Sport mode and still failed the sound test, in which case the owner was told to take it back to the dealer and put it back in stock…which it already was.
The dealer has confirmed this, but since no work has been done, the Elantra N can no longer be tested. And since it can’t be tested, it can’t be driven. The video and Reddit thread suggest the inspection station performed the test incorrectly, forcing the car into a louder mode instead of its default setting.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen bizarre situations with vehicle noise levels in California. In 2021, Porsche was forced to stop selling manual transmission versions of the 911 GT3 because it was too loud, but the same car with the PDK gearbox was fine. This situation was finally resolved fairly quickly, but in this case it has been several weeks and as far as we know the Elantra N is still on the sidelines.
We’ve reached out to Hyundai for comment on the situation, as we haven’t heard anything about the new Elantra N sales being banned in California. Presumably, if Hyundai is allowed to sell the car there, it must comply with existing national regulations.