by: Mike Ginsca,
The Hyundai Veloster has always been the oddball of the hatchback world. Its unique styling and 3 door arrangement made it unlike any other hatch. While the Veloster Turbo had its eyes set on the Golf GTi and Civic Si, it couldn’t really keep up to the Golf R and Civic Type-R. Now though, things are different in the form of the N.
Engine – At the heart of the Hyundai Veloster N is a turbocharged 2.0L engine like any other hatchback. But where the regular Veloster Turbo has to make due with 201hp from it’s 1.6L engine, the N gets away with 275hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. That’s a pretty big jump in power but still not quite as high as the Civic Type-R and Golf R with their 300+hp figures. Nevertheless the Hyundai Veloster N feels just as punchy off the line with a relatively low turbo threshold and little turbo lag once the turbo gets up to speed.
Even with this much power under your right foot, fuel economy is surprisingly good. During my week with the car, I averaged 8.9L/100km (26.4 mpg). That’s very close to the Honda HR-V’s combined fuel economy figure that I managed a couple weeks ago, and that car has to make due with just 141hp.
Transmission – A 6-speed manual transmission is the only choice for consumers when purchasing a Veloster N. The shifter is smooth and easy to switch between gears without accidentally grabbing a wrong gear. My only complaint is the positioning. The arm rest is at a good height but the top of the gear shifter is lower and as a result, my arm is not at a level height.
Braking – The Veloster N has 40mm larger front and 52mm larger rear brake discs over the Veloster Turbo. So stopping the 1,428 kg body takes very little effort from the brake pedal. The brakes are not as sensitive when cold as in the Civic Type-R and just like the Type-R, no automatic emergency braking.
Handling – This 2nd generation Veloster is a huge improvement in terms of handling when compared to the previous generation. The Veloster Turbo feels planted around corners and this N version builds up on that. The N receives an electronically controlled limited slip differential and refined suspension to provide even higher levels of grip.
The suspension is also electronically controlled and can stiffen or soften depending on which drive mode you’re in. In it’s stiffest setting, it is great on a race track but unbearable on city streets. This is the type of suspension that will break your spine. However set it in Comfort mode, and it is supple on city streets and makes for a good day-to-day drive.
|Review: 2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo||Review: 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG||Review: 2018 Honda Civic Type-R|
Ride Comfort – As mentioned, the electronically controlled suspension is soft enough for daily use on city streets. The seats also provide a good level of comfort for your back and butt. A bit more side bolstering would be appreciated but I’m nitpicking because the seats are great.
Interior Space – Front occupants have a good amount of space in the front seats. The rear occupants, of which there can only be 2 because there is no center seat, don’t have as much room. Even with the 3rd door on the passenger side, getting in and out of the rear seats is easier than a 2 door hatch but there’s limited leg and headroom.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – Do you remember my Jaguar F-Type SVR review and how I said that the car crackles and pops like no tomorrow on deceleration? The Veloster N is not quite as extreme but it does make some exciting crackles and pops when you lift off the throttle. It doesn’t always shout “look at me” all the time but only when you’re in Sport or N mode. Eco & Comfort modes make the exhaust much quieter for when you don’t attention from the police or neighbours. Also another note worth mentioning are the loud tires when driving at highway speeds. They can be louder than the exhaust (at cruising speeds) so keep that in mind if you plan on doing a lot of highway driving.
Interior Design – The interior of the Veloster N looks pretty much identical to that of the Veloster Turbo. The most noticeable changes are the blue seat belts and the two drive mode buttons on the steering wheel. Other than that, it’s pretty much the same as other Veloster models.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – While the Hyundai Veloster N has adaptive suspension and a trick differential, it does not have active safety features such as forward collision alert or adaptive cruise control. Technically those two features can never be added on a vehicle with a manual transmission because in the event of an emergency braking maneuver, the car could come to a stop and stall the engine putting the occupants in more danger.
But the Veloster N still has heated seats, heated steering wheel, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility, backup camera, and automatic climate control. Pretty much everything you need to have a comfortable summer or winter car.
Exterior Design – The exterior of the Veloster N is not drastically different from any other Veloster. The blue paint does make it stand out more than any other hot hatch and the red “fangs” on the front bumper let you know that this is a sporty hatchback. Around back, the N gets a bigger roof spoiler with a rally car style triangular roof mounted third brake light. The central exhaust is replaced by a more traditional dual exit exhaust with a very small diffuser between the pipes.
Overall the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N is not for everyone. It’s quirky styling and 3 door arrangement is a love it or hate it design that is not to everyone’s taste. But at $34,999 CAD, it is significantly less expensive than the Honda Civic Type-R and Volkswagen Golf R. And because of that, some people won’t mind sacrificing a few tenths of a second on a track in order to save $6,000+.
Thank you to Hyundai Canada for providing the vehicle. www.HyundaiCanada.com
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Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.