The Hyundai Veloster N is the first high performance car from the Korean brand. But it wasn’t accessible to everyone because it used to be only available with a manual transmission. Keyword in that last sentence is “used”. For the 2022 model year (& 2021), it is available with a new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Engine – Before we get to the transmission, the Veloster N is powered by a turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder engine just like most other hot hatchbacks. It produces 275 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque (205 kW / 352 Nm). That’s quite a bit less than the hotter Civic Type-R but a lot hotter than the Golf GTi. Better yet, the Veloster N’s engine produces the peak horsepower and peak torque at lower rpms than either of its competitors. Power delivery is quick and the turbocharger spools up almost instantly above 2,000 rpms.
The turbocharger can also provide an overboost function that provides an additional 18 lb-ft (24 Nm) of torque for up to 20 seconds. This is called “N Grin Shift” mode and is activated by a little button on the steering wheel. After the 20 seconds, the button gets locked out for about 3 minutes before it can be used again. However, if you don’t use the full 20 seconds, you can use the remainder of time before the car hits the cool off period.
With the NGS mode activated and using launch control, the 1,454 kg (3,205 lbs) Veloster N DCT can accelerate to 100 km/h in just 5.6 seconds, according to Hyundai. That’s about 0.5 seconds faster than the manual version of the Veloster N.
Fuel Economy – With the two extra gears in the transmission, you’d expect a bump in fuel economy figures. I did too. But that’s not the case. The 2022 Hyundai Veloster N DCT is rated at 12 L/100km (19.6 MPG) in a city and 8.6 L/100km (27.3 MPG) on a highway. By comparison, the manual version is rated at 10.6 & 8.3 L/100km (22.2 MPG / 28.3 MPG) respectively. During my time with the car, I averaged 11.1 L/100km (21.2 MPG).
Transmission – The transmission is a Hyundai developed 8-speed, wet dual-clutch automatic. It is the same transmission that is found in the Sonata N-Line but unlike the Sonata, the Veloster N is paired with a limited slip differential. First and foremost, this transmission changes gears very quickly and smoothly. Whether you’re in the Comfort drive mode or the very sporty N drive mode. The wet clutch provides smooth take offs from a stop without any jittering. Using launch control also slips the clutch a bit from a stop instead of dumping it like in a Mercedes GLA 45 AMG for example.
This transmission also has a few clever tricks up its sleeves. Paired with the NGS mode (btw, it’s not available on the 6-speed version of the Veloster N), it will quickly shift to the lowest possible gear depending on the car’s speed to provide the best engine response for fast bursts of acceleration. It will not shift down if the transmission is in manual mode. This 8-speed also has N Power Shift which will provide the fastest possible shifts without any loss in acceleration. This feature only works when the driver pushes on the throttle pedal 90% or more in N mode. Normally during an upshift, the engine’s power is reduced to allow for smooth gear changes. In N Power Shift mode, it isn’t. Finally the last trick up this transmission’s sleeve is the N Track Sense Shift. When activated, the car will learn your driving style for the given moment and provide the most optimal shifting points for the driving conditions. As the name suggests, this is a system that works best on a race track. Of course if the transmission is in manual mode, this system will not operate. The whole point of it is to let you, the driver, focus on hitting a corner apex or hitting the correct braking point into a corner, and so on without worrying if you’re in the right gear or not.
Braking – The Hyundai Veloster N does not receive larger 4-piston calipers like the Civic Type-R. But it does receive larger rotors and brake calipers than the standard Veloster. The brake pedal modulation is easy for city streets but it provides a firm feeling when depressed with more force. With the DCT, the Veloster N has standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.
Handling – With the addition of the limited slip differential, wheel slip when accelerating from a stop or out of a corner is very well controlled. The stability control doesn’t really allow for a whole lot of rotation of the rear end when entering a corner like in the Civic Type-R or JCW Mini Cooper. The whole car feels planted both when entering and exiting a corner. Push the limits of adhesion too much and the car will understeer.
Steering feel is Ok but the Civic Type-R provides more feel. The steering weight in the Veloster N can be adjusted but it just ends up feeling artificially heavier. However, the steering itself is very precise and quick to react to the most minute inputs from the driver.
Ride Comfort – The DCT version of the Veloster N has retuned springs and adaptive dampers. In the Normal drive mode, the ride is of course firmer than in older non-N Performance models of the Veloster but it’s more than acceptable on city streets. In N mode, the suspension is harsh and unforgiving when driving over the smallest road imperfection. However, it does feel a tiny bit softer than the manual version of the Veloster N in the same mode.
Interior Space – Like many hot hatchbacks, it’s the front seats that you want to sit in. The 2022 Veloster N receives new, lighter, sport bucket seats with an illuminated N logo. I wonder where they got that idea from… But these seats may not be to everyone’s liking as the bolsters might be a bit too tight for some body types.
Headroom and legroom in the front seats are good but overall headroom is less than its competitors from Japan and Germany. Getting into the rear seats is a pain from the driver’s side but a breeze from the passenger side thanks to the extra door. However the rear seats are tight with the Veloster N having less legroom and headroom than the Civic and Golf.
In the trunk, the 2022 Veloster N has 565 L (20 cu-ft) of cargo space with the rear seats up. That’s just 1 L (0.04 cu-ft) more than the Golf GTi but a whopping 163 L (5.7 cu-ft) less than the Civic Type-R. The rear seats can be folded for more space.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – under normal driving conditions, the Veloster N has a pretty quiet cabin around city streets. On highways, wind noise is barely audible but road noise is noticeable. But the best noise that this car makes is the exhaust note with the valves open. The car crackles, pops, and bangs with the exhaust valves open. It adds to the excitement and character of this car that the Civic and GTi can’t replicate.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The 2022 Hyundai Veloster N starts at $37,799 CAD ($32,500 USD) with the DCT automatic costing an additional $1,600 CAD ($1,500 USD). There are no other options apart from the paint colour which range in price from $200 to $1,000 for this Shooting Star matte grey, which seems to only be available for the Canadian market.
Gadgets – The Veloster N has just enough gadgets to keep you comfortable and entertained. It has heated seats, heated steering wheel, backup camera, parking sensors, navigation, 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto connectivity, automatic climate control, blind spot sensors, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with lane keep, rear cross traffic alert, Bluetooth, LED headlights & taillights, and keyless entry & start.
There’s also a customizable drive mode. You can adjust the engine response, steering effort, limited slip differential mode, traction/stability control mode, and exhaust mode. Best of all, it can quickly be enabled with a second press of the N mode button on the steering wheel.
Interior Design – Apart from the new front bucket seats, the interior of the Hyundai Veloster N remains unchanged from its introduction in 2019. All of the controls have physical buttons and are straightforward to use. The light blue seatbelt and trim accents add to the sporty characteristic of this hot hatch.
Exterior Design – Just like the interior, the exterior has not seen changes since the car’s introduction. It still has the red accents on the front bumper, the outlandish roof mounted spoiler, and the Lamborghini Aventador style tail lights. But one option I would avoid is the mette paint. It’s more high maintenance than your ex-girlfriend. If there’s bird poop on it, you have to clean it immediately. If there’s large bug splats on it, you have to clean it immediately. You can only apply specialty waxes to it that are most likely more expensive. You have to use special types of soaps that don’t diminish the matte effect. It’s just too much of a headache and a waste of $1,000 in my opinion.
Warranty – In Canada, the 2022 Hyundai Veloster N is covered by a 5 year / 100,000 km basic and powertrain warranty. In the United States, the basic warranty is 5 years / 60,000 miles and the powertrain warranty is 10 years / 100,000 miles. For more information on Canadian warranty, click here. For USA warranty information, click here.
Conclusion – So in the end, the 2022 Hyundai Veloster N DCT is a hot hatch that is accessible to everyone now. For those that still want the pleasure of “rowing your own gears”, the 6-speed manual is still available. It is a fun little hot hatch that anyone can drive quickly thanks to the DCT automatic. With the new transmission, it does cost roughly the same as the Golf GTi but it has more power than the GTi. And while it is less expensive than the Civic Type-R, it cannot compete with its residual value. But if you plan on keeping the Veloster N for a long time, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth in the long run.
Thank you to Hyundai Canada for providing the vehicle. www.HyundaiCanada.com