ECCENTRIC: 2021 HYUNDAI VELOSTER N AUTOMATIC
Like the sedan world, hatchbacks are becoming a non-purposeful vehicle when there are crossovers roaming the roads. And as such, they are an acquired taste for someone not looking to gain the maximum amount of cargo space with passenger comfort. But we’re happy to see that Hyundai is optimistic and tries to keep the spirt of hatchbacks and their hotness alive. And boy-oh-boy is the Veloster N full of hot fiery diablo sauce
Since its arrival to the market in the early part of 2019, it would appear that not much has changed on the Veloster in the last three years. Especially given now Hyundai’s latest design trend of abstract angles on the all-new Elantra and Tucson, the Veloster has an aging vibe to it – but that would also be like hearing a 25 year old comparing themselves old age to a 55 year old. So well hush up about that.
The biggest changes to boost are all under the sheet metal, price tag and standard equipment. There is no hiding the fact that the Veloster N is now much more expensive with a starting price of $32,250 over the previous $26,900. That’s mostly because it now comes standard with its originally optional $2100 Performance Package that no one could understand why it wasn’t standard in the first place. But that package supported 25 additional horsepower for a total of 275-hp from it 2.0-liter turbocharged engine – it also brought in larger Brembo brakes, fat-ass 19-inch wheels wrapped in summer rubber, an electrically controlled limited-slip differential and active exhaust that make it sound like a warthog after a large snack.
The biggest change however lies within the transmission, now adding a fantastically engineered $1500 optional eight-speed automatic. Now, now, we know… but this is a good thing… a really good thing. The life behind a manual transmission and its three pedals is always going to be the preferred method of driving, but let’s face the cold hard reality, it’s not the ideal way when living the corporate life of commuting in traffic every day to job that you need to pay for your manual sporty hatchback. The DCT brings as much life and personality to the Veloster N as the manual transmission does and because it was engineering by Hyundai Performance Team, it’s actually been done right.
The DCT is a huge improvement and overall makes the Veloster N much more desirable. The gear changes are sassy quick and rev matches when we down shift that exposes the gassy sounds of our overstuffed warthog metaphor. The DCT also makes the Veloster N much quicker. With the manual transmission the Veloster N is simple minded and with some clever foot work could achieve 60-mph in roughly 5.2 seconds… the DCT however chops .4-seconds off that time. However, not without some clever tweaking of the Customs drive mode. Exploiting the most out of the Veloster turbocharged engine and 280 lbs-ft of torque takes some finesse through its Custom drive modes menu. Hyundai has simplified the system by updating the software with a spider graph and signalized it to one page. It is something that can be modified on the fly but requires a steady hand. The same complication can be had for the launch control system that is buried into the Custom menu as well; it’s just not as simple as pressing the two pedals and releasing the brake. But for those that don’t want to mess with all the customs setting and let the engineers do the work for you, there are the standard Eco, Normal, Sport and N drive modes.
Much the of the Velosters’s N personality has the stayed the same, the automatic only makes it better. It continuous to boost a sharp driving feel with ultra-responsive steering and chassis that never seems to cause discomfort over rough roads. Following the previous generation of design elements from Hyundai, the Veloster N is very simple, posing not very much dress up. There are more plastics than soft touch materials but considering the hatch itself is also one of Hyundai least expensive vehicles, we’re not going to judge. Following the N nameplate does bring in nearly every option available to the Veloster including the large touch screen with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It features nicely boosted, supportive partial leather and cloth seats with single-zone climate control. And with safety being all the rage, the Veloster has nearly all of that as well with forward collision warning with emergency braking assist, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert.
Opting for the automatic option sometimes can feel like we’re demeaning the performance qualities and personality of a sports car – this is not one of those cases. The Veloster N remains as lively and eccentric as its manual and continues to be one of the best hot hatches under $40,000.
A local cars & coffee regular caught a lot of flack for buying one of these instead of many other comparable choices. . . Seems he made the right choice. I remember all the scoffs at Lexus in 1990. . .