The ingredients to make a hot hatch is relatively simple – take an ordinary economy hatchback, give it a splash of beefier suspension, a dose of stronger brakes, two cups of horsepower and some extra cosmetic flair for that added zing. It’s safe to say then, with the all-new Hyundai Veloster N, Hyundai designed the new Veloster not only to be sizzling hot, but carry the proper fundamentals of an everyday purposeful hatchback. As with most automakers, to identify its performance traits, one must use a letter – with all the sexy letters being taken like R, M, and even the greedy one that use three like A-M-G, Hyundai took on ‘N’. And while one would think ‘N’ stands for Nürburgring; that’s just part of the equation. ‘N’ also represents their Korean based Research and Development Center in Namyang.
With Ford removing itself from the hot hatch game with the Focus & Fiesta ST the Veloster N’s competition stands fiercely with the Subaru WRX, Volkswagen Golf R, and Honda Civic Type R. However since the Veloster N starts with 250-horsepower, in front-wheel drive form only and costs less than $30,000, its truer competitors falters near the Type R and VW Golf GTI. In the spirits of a cheap hot hatch, the Veloster N starts at $26,900. To save cost, Hyundai eliminated all of the premium aspects that would come equipped on a higher trimmed Veloster – it doesn’t have leather interior or the comfort features that follow. It doesn’t have a sunroof or any of the available safety features – even navigation was ditched out of the equation.
What our Veloster N does have however is a 250-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, six-speed manual transmission with rev matching, and blue seats belts. But it gets better – after a $2100 Performance Package, our Veloster N is upgraded with 25 additional horsepower making a total of 275-horses, an electrically controlled limited-slip differential, bigger brakes, enhanced exhaust, electronically controlled suspension dampers and huge 19-inch wheels. What the Veloster N may lack in comfort creatures, still makes up for its amenities with body-wrapping snug sport seats, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto connectivity through the 8-inch touch screen display.
The key element to a hot hatch is the fact that it not only has to be good on the track, but good as a daily commuter. Its large 19-inch wheels give off an assumption of an uncomfortable demeanor; however, thanks to the electronically controlled dampers, by leaving the Veloster N in “Normal” mode, the suspension remains subtle and relaxed, there’s plenty of rear cargo room in the back and the rear seats fold down for more space. Even with its gimmick third door, there is room in the back for a full-sized adult to fit comfortably for a long period of time.
As we look down upon the steering wheel, there are two bright blue buttons. One button controls the pedigree of our driving dynamics between Normal, Sport, and Eco. The other button opens a vortex to a realm of intensity and superior driving proficiency. Push this button to “N” mode and the suspension gets so firm it makes the most perfectly laid road seem as if its layered with pot holes, the steering tightens firmer than Dwayne Johnson’s forehead muscles, throttle response increases and the noises that come out of the exhaust can only mimic the sounds of our stomach after eating bad sushi with loud snaps and crackles.
The Veloster N takes being a hot hatch to a new level of insane driving. The steering precision is so spot on it felt like a race car. The suspension, while firmly sticking to the ground huddle over corners with virtually no body rolls. And don’t get us going on how quick those brakes will snap your neck into next week.
Shifting through all six-gears, this is the only way the Veloster N comes equipped – shew dual-clutch automatic, this hatch is for real drivers. And for those seeking this as a first time manual suitor, this is not an easy car to drive if it’s your first time behind the wheel of a stick. The sensitive clutch requires fancy footwork at first set off. While launch-control isn’t officially a thing in the Veloster N, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. With revs sets as such and traction control set to do not disturb, we set off to see 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. Each shift through gears is engaging and enticing as the next – there’s a sense of gratification as we can feel the gears clicking away in the shifter.
However, at the end of the long day at the track and we need a sensible ride home, the Veloster N certainly knows how to kick its feet up and let the daily grime wash away with sensible characteristics. It behaves like a common hatch with a comfortable demeanor and light steering. Under daily conditions the Veloster tones down its racing vibes with quiet exhaust keeping the cops looking in the other direction and even on an economical day, the Veloster N will see almost 29 mpg on the highway.
When it comes to hardcore hot hatches, the famous quote, “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” usually represents them pretty well. However, with the Veloster N, you can have it all and with this Veloster and its Performance package costing $29,920 – it doesn’t get much better than that.
Model: 2019 HYUNDAI VELOSTER N
Starting Price: $26,900
As Tested: $29,920 (W/ PERFORMANCE PACKAGE)
Engine: 2.0-LITER TURBOCHARGED FOUR-CYLINDER
Horsepower/Torque: 275-HORSEPOWER / 263 LB-FT TORQUE
Transmission: 6-SPEED MANUAL W/ REV MATCHING
Drivetrain: FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE W/ LIMITED SLIP DIFFERENTIAL
Fuel Economy: EPA RATED: 22-CITY / 28-HWY / 25-COMBINED
(AS TESTED: 20 MPG COMBINED | 28 MPG-HWY – 200 MILE TEST)
Fuel Range: 300 MILES
0-60 MPH: ±5.3 SECONDS