Automorbit, Cars – The Veloster N is a raucous sport compact that provides plenty of driving fun and impressive performance for the money. Its N badge represents Hyundai’s high-performance subbrand, meaning it is the most powerful and aggressive version of the quirky three-door Veloster hatchback. A turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four with 275 horsepower is standard equipment, and the suspension is stiffened for sharper handling. Previously available only with a manual transmission, the Veloster now offers a dual-clutch automatic transmission option to broaden its appeal. The N’s cheeky appearance is a cherry on top of an appealing overall package. It may not be as pedigreed as rivals such as the VW Golf GTI or Honda Civic Type R, but the Veloster is the kind of upstart we like.
The Veloster N is now available with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission; a six-speed manual was previously the only transmission choice. This new transmission promises quicker shifts and comes with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The previously optional $2100 Performance Package also becomes standard. This means every model makes 275 horsepower and has all the upgrades that came with that kit. Other newly standard and optional features include more aggressively bolstered sport seats that are lighter than the ones they replace, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, and upgraded touchscreen infotainment software. Hyundai says that driver-assistance features including forward collision warning, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring are newly available.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
- Veloster N: $30,000 (est.)
Now that every Veloster N comes with myriad new features, not to mention the extra horsepower, electronic limited-slip differential, 19-inch wheels and summer performance tires, variable exhaust-valve system, and upgraded brakes that were previously included with the Performance Package, its starting price is bound to be higher than before. However, Hyundai won’t release official pricing until September. Still, we expect the only significant option to be the new dual-clutch automatic, which we’d skip to stick with the standard manual gearbox.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Veloster N feeds the front wheels via a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 275 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. While a six-speed manual transmission is standard, choosing the optional eight-speed dual-clutch automatic adds an overboost function that temporarily increases torque from 260 to 278 lb-ft. Every N has a drive-mode selector includes Eco, Normal, Sport, and N drive modes. The N Custom mode allows you to custom-tailor settings for the engine’s throttle response, the standard adaptive dampers, the limited-slip diff, the selectable engine rev matching, the stability control, the steering weight, and the exhaust. In the manual-transmission 2019 Veloster N that we had in our long-term fleet, we found that turning most of those dials up to 11 while taming the dampers and the exhaust is particularly effective at balancing the N’s performance for commutes around southeastern Michigan. Unfortunately, the N’s adaptive dampers make for a firm and choppy ride; we took to leaving them in their softest default setting to make it more agreeable. In our testing, the Veloster N ripped to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and completed the quarter-mile in 13.8 seconds at 102 mph. We have yet to test a Veloster N with the newly optional automatic transmission, but we think it will be slightly quicker than the manual.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA rates the manual-transmission Veloster N at 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Ratings are not yet available for the automatic-transmission model. Once those estimates are released, and we have the opportunity to test a Veloster with either gearbox on our 200-mile highway route, we can evaluate their real-world mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The quirky, three-door layout opens to reveal that the compact dimensions of the Veloster translate into an interior that is plasticky, dark, and drab. With the exception of the snug rear seats, however, it is comfortable and its controls are all laid out easily within reach. Leather is only featured on the steering wheel and the shift knob, and the instrument cluster features LED shift lights. New lightweight sport seats are standard and offer heating and a light-up logo in the backrest. With the back seats in use, there was room for four of our carry-on suitcases; with the seats folded flat there was room for 13 of them. However, the opening of the hatchback is small and the lift-over height (the height measured from the ground to the ledge of the hatchback) is quite tall at 31.5 inches.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Hyundai’s standard 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is easy to operate even if it lacks navigation. Hyundai says the software is upgraded for 2021, although we have yet to interact with it ourselves. An Infinity premium audio system with seven speakers plus a subwoofer is standard; it features SiriusXM satellite radio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. There’s also a Bluetooth hands-free phone system with voice recognition and Hyundai’s Blue Link Connected Care and Remote package (Connected Care features in-vehicle service reminders and service scheduling, diagnostic alerts, and enhanced roadside assistance, while the Remote services include the ability to pre-warm or pre-cool the interior for up to 10 minutes before you get in and lock and unlock doors remotely.)