2019 Hyundai Veloster N Review


Intro
I reviewed the 1.6L turbocharged version of the second generation Veloster in the beginning of the year. It was a fun, practical car that stood out among the crowd. This time, I get something even more exciting. The 2019 Veloster N is Hyundai's first effort to deliver a legitimate performance car. It was specifically designed to handle tracks like the famous N├╝rburgring Nordschleife. With Albert Biermann the former BMW M Division chief engineer at the helm, I was expecting a proper hot hatch of the Veloster N.

Thanks to Hyundai Canada, I was given the exciting opportunity to test drive the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N for one week. Below is my unbiased review.



Exterior
The exterior of the Veloster N remains the same funky 3 door hatch as the regular Veloster. There is only one rear door that is located on the passenger side. While the basic configuration is the same,
Hyundai engineers have given the Veloster N significant exterior upgrades to differentiate it from the regular Veloster.

In the front, dedicated air ducts direct air flow to improve cooling of the front brakes. The front spoiler lip provides actual down force to enhance cornering ability at high speed. Aesthetically, a pair of boomerang shaped red accent trims, and the N badge give the Veloster N a performance orientated look.

On the side, N-design side sills incorporates a pair of air ducts to direct more air to the rear brakes. The 19" alloy wheels, which feature a dual spoke star design are wrapped by specially formulated  Pirelli ultra-high performance tires to tackle the track.

The rear of the Veloster N looks the most different from the regular Veloster models. An integrated air diffuser and large diameter exhaust pipes dominate the lower bumper. A larger spoiler with a triangular third brake light and carbon fiber looking decorative side panels gives the Veloster a much more aggressive rear profile, befitting to a performance hot hatch.

It is a stunning design that has certainly garnered attentions on the road. In fact, not only did I get plenty of compliments in the parking lots, during my one week test drive I have also been stopped by the police twice on the road. While no tickets were issued ( I wasn't speeding or anything), both officers commented on how good looking the Veloster N was.




















Interior
The interior of the Veloster N is the same simplistic yet functional design. Some features were added to make Veloster N stand out. They include N logo door sill plates, N-design instrument cluster, blue accent trims, and the N-design steering wheel.

The performance focused cloth sport seats are nicely bolstered. They are very comfortable and holds the body in place in tight corners. There are only two seats in the back, but the rear cabin room is surprisingly sufficient. I wouldn't recommend having two adults in the back for long drives, but a short trip around town is perfectly survivable.

Many of the regularly touched areas are padded by soft-touched material, but I do wish where the knee meets the center console can be padded as well. Also, there is quite a few blank buttons on the front dash. While I understand the cost saving nature of their existence, they do look a bit cheap.









Infotainment
The infotainment system centers around the 8.0" tablet style touch screen. We have come to expect all Hyundai vehicles to have great infotainment systems, and it is the same case with the Veloster N. Apple Carplay and Android Auto are standard, and the 8 speaker audio system sounds fantastic.

What sets the Veloster N apart from other Hyundai vehicles are the performance related menus. The menus can be accessed through the two big blue buttons on the steering wheel. The left one let you toggle between eco, normal, and sport mode, while the right one gets you into the N mode (race mode). Pushing the N mode button on the touch screen gets you into N custom mode, which allows you to customize each settings individually.

The instrument cluster has an information LCD in the middle to display real time vehicle information including oil temperature, turbo boost, and output torque. There is also a dedicated progressive sequential shift indicator at the top middle portion of the instrument cluster. It blinks and changes color to alert the driver of an impending shift point for maximum performance.

I really enjoy how Hyundai implemented these performance related menus and settings. They are easy to understand, and simple to interact. Every setting can be accessed within a few pushes of buttons. The ability to customize the suspension, chassis, and engine settings individually is particularly appreciated.






Safety and Driver Assistance
Other than Brake Assist, you don't get many of the latest safety features offered in other Hyundai vehicles in the Veloster N. There is no blind spot monitoring system or forward collision alert.

To be honest, I don't really mind having none of those in a performance vehicle. If you feel like you can't live without the latest safety and driver assist on the road, than the Veloster N might not be for you in the first place.

I do, however, care about the safety ratings of the Veloster N. While the N version is not rated yet, the 2019 Veloster earns Top Safety Pick from IIHS, the only thing keeping it from getting a Top Safety Pick Plus is the headlights.


Driving
It is (or should be) the reason why anyone would consider buying the Veloster N. Hyudai engineers follow the tested recipe of putting a powerful engine into a light, compact car to create a hot hatch. The Veloster N is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged four cylinder engine that puts out 275hp of horsepower at 6000rpm and 260lb.ft. of torque. The torque is optimized to peaks from 1400 to 4700rpm, exactly where you need it the most.

All the engine power is directed to the front wheels through an excellent six-speed manual transmission. The throw is short and the gates are clearly defined for a positive engagement feel. The Veloster N utilizes a double-layer facing clutch disc design for increased torque handling ability. In addition, automatic downshift rev-matching can be simply turned on and off through a dedicated button on the steering wheel. The brakes are excellent. The over-sized single piston disc brakes provide a firm, linear pedal feel.

The drivetrain pulls hard, with no lag that is usually associated with a turbocharged engine. Throttle response is immediate even when heel and toeing. The Veloster N can go from 0-100km/hr in 6.2 seconds. While it might not be as fast as the Civic Type R, the thrill is just the same. There is just enough torque steering purposely left by the engineers to provide a more engaging driving experience off the line. In N mode, the active sport exhaust system pops and crackles during spirited upshifts and rev-matching downshifts. Those sweet exhaust sounds are much louder outside of the cabin. Something to keep in mind if you don't want to be hated by your neighbors.

Not only is the Veloster N great in straights, it also brilliantly in corners. Hyundai engineers reinforced the chassis to increase its rigidity. The Veloster N's Power Sense axle features a zero-scrub radius for superb steering. With a zero-scrub radius, the steering axle is aligned with the contact point between the tire and the road, providing a quicker response and a direct on-center feel.

The electronically-controlled suspension is automatically tuned depending on the drive mode selected. It can also be customized in the N custom mode. The suspension uses a load transfer control system to reduce dive during braking, enhance roll control during cornering and reduce rear suspension compression under hard acceleration. In addition, an electronically controlled Limited-Slip Differential (LSD) is utilized to direct engine power to the front wheel that needs it the most. With the LSD, understeer that is usually associated with front wheel drive cars are greatly reduced. As a result, the maximum cornering speed is increased via precise torque-vectoring. All the added cornering ability is further enhanced by the specially formulated Pirelli performance tires.

Thanks to the adjustability of different drive modes, the Veloster N is not only good on tracks, but also very practical on roads. The suspension of the Veloster N goes from punishingly stiff to acceptably compliant. And the active exhaust system can be muted to a tolerable degree.

The Veloster N is rated for 10.6L/100km city, 8.3L/100km highway, and 9.5L/100km combined. My heavy footed test drive returns a 11L/100km fuel economy rating, pretty good for a performance car.






Cargo Space & Storage
The cargo space of the Veloster N is actually very decent. There is 565L of trunk space behind the 40/60 rear seats, and 1260L of cargo space once those seats are folded.

Interior space for small items is decent. You get the standard cup holders in the middle, a storage bin under the armrest, two side door packets in the front, and a wireless charging pad in the center console. Rear passengers only get two cup holders and a small storage tray in the middle.




Verdict
I love the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N. For less than $35K, the N offers almost everything I can ask for in a hot hatch. While the performance is not as gravity defying as the Civic Type R, the fun factor is almost identical. The exterior design of the Veloster N is bold but not too polarizing. The hatchback form factor, and the adjustable drive modes keep the Veloster N a practical day to day commuter. Sure, the interior can benefit from higher quality materials, and Hyundai could include some of its excellent active safety features with the Veloster N. But as a car enthusiast, all I really want is a fun, practical hot hatch is ready to hop on tracks on the weekend. The Veloster N certainly delivers that in style. Well done Hyundai.

Test Vehicle
2019 Hyundai Veloster N
MSRP
$34999 CAD
Color
Performance blue

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