Hot hatches are small cars with big engines and are aimed solely at having a lot of fun without comprising on the obvious benefits of a hatchback. From the beginning, this segment was largely dominated by European carmakers and the occasional Ford, Hyundai however wanted to change this by introducing the Veloster that was supposed to tick all the hot hatch check boxes and yet undercut it’s rivals by being a lot more affordable and just quirky for attracting the modern customer. However it never got much success in the midst of excellent cars like the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Fiesta, Renault Megane, and the Honda Civic that is another fellow Asian rival. With the Veloster N, Hyundai is trying to spark new life to the Veloster and make it even sportier to take on the sportier versions of these popular cars like the VW Golf R and the Ford Focus ST and Renault Megane 265 and Honda Civic Type R. So does it really hold the performance to take on these cars or is it just another funky but boring car…
The Veloster N isn’t trying to be a European hot hatch, first of all as it has gone for developing its own unique character and advantages. It looks sporty and has performance that is blessed onto it from it’s rallying sibling which promises great performance and like the regular Veloster, undercuts its rivals on the pricing by quite a margin.
However while most brands are bringing incremental updates to their lineup, the 2020 Veloster N is unchanged from the 2019 car. The Veloster N takes on the sporty bits inspired from the rally version of the car, primarily the color of the car is inspired by the factory car in a matte light blue finish which gives it a unique appeal even from a distance and is quite funky. It also gets a massive front grille which is blacked out along with a splitter and air intakes on the flanks with red accents that give it a sporty appeal. On the rear it has a spoiler and twin exhaust system and comes in a 3-door design only which has a very sporty and committed appeal while still remaining true to the funky vibe of the regular Veloster. It comes only in one trim and only one option package over the stock trim which would cost another 2100$ and is called the Performance Package and is the car to go for. The Veloster is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged 4 cylinder engine that produces 250 horses as standard and 260lb-ft of torque, however with the performance package, the power output goes to 275 horses but the peak torque is the same and all this power is pushed into the front wheels. The interesting thing about the Veloster N is that this car is serious about it’s performance and comes only with a 6 speed manual gearbox which will be appreciated by a lot of enthusiasts as the manual is going extinct slowly with automatic gearboxes becoming the mainstream choice of transmission for most people. The Performance variant also gets an electronic limited slip front differential which works brilliantly as the car tackles corners gracefully in spite of being a front-wheel drive car. There’s also 19inch wheels and a variable exhaust valve system on board for the Performance package to justify the 2100$ premium. There’s 4 driving modes on the car — Eco, Normal, Sport and a custom N mode that allows for custom settings defined by the driver for throttle response, the slip differential, adaptive dampers, the stability control system, steering weight, and the fancy exhaust as well as rev-matching giving it an unprecedented level of customizability and control to the driver that is pretty much the best in class.
The interiors on the car are however as dull as the exteriors are funky. It gets sports seats on the front that get cloth upholstery and in fact, leather is only used on the steering wheel and the gear-knob in the Veloster N. There are no premium materials to be seen in the Veloster N as most of it is all average quality plastic and is completely blacked out. The only place where a color other than black is used is on the steering wheel and the engine on/off button which is the same as the matte blue on the exterior of the car and there isn’t much going on inside here to act as a distraction, it’s basic and very uninspiring. The front seats are comfortable but the rear seats just don’t make the cut. However the boot space in the car is ample and if you retract the rear seats it can easily accommodate upto 10 suitcases which is really good for a car in this segment, however the boot-lid is quite small in favor of the sporty aesthetics on the rear and is also quite tall making it hard to load and unloads things into the rear. Infotainment duties are handled by an 8.0inch touchscreen display that is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible, however it lacks navigation on the standard system. The car is a connected car and comes with Hyundai’s BlueLink Connected Care and Remote Package and gets an Infinity audio system with 7 speaker and subwoofer setup which is great.
The drive is actually where the Hyundai Veloster N shines, the engine, with the performance package, is bubbling with power and the gearbox is incredibly smooth and precise as you slot it slickly. And the handling is exceptionally good even though the car is front wheel drive thanks to the incredible suspension setup on the car along with the limited slip differential and torque vectoring working behind the scenes, it’s a real pleasure to drive this car. The only thing that isn’t to the liking in this incredible setup and fun car to drive is the steering wheel that just doesn’t feel very precise and sharp compared to it’s rivals, overcome that and the car is a dream to drive.
The 2020 Hyundai Veloster N is a brilliant car to look at and drive, that is if you’ve loaded it with the Performance Package, this is the hot hatch to have. The interiors might feel quite boring, but it all is compensated for in the incredible car it is to look at and drive. The 2020 Hyundai Veloster N is priced at 28,330$, and with the Performance Package, it’ll be 30,430$.