There has been a lot of hype about the new Hyundai Veloster N, which is a hotter version of the second-generation Hyundai Veloster, which we reviewed a few months ago. What does the “N” stand for, you may ask. My joke for the week was that it stands for performaNce! But in reality, I think it stands for Nürburgring, based on the quote below:
Inspired by the legendary curves of Nürburgring, the exclusive N logo appears throughout the Veloster, from the cascading grille to the shift knob, as a signature of our new high-performance brand.
So, does all that hype amount to anything or were the other automotive journalists full of it? The simple answer is yes, the Veloster N not only lives up to all the hype but exceeds it, in my humble opinion. Up until now, my favorite performance oriented hot-hatch that’s attainable by most people, has been the Ford Fiesta ST (may it rest in peace), but after spending a week with the 2020 Hyundai Veloster N, the crown now goes to the N.
In Canada, the Hyundai Veloster comes in two main flavors, “mild” and “spicy”. We already reviewed the “mild” version of the 2019 Hyundai Veloster, which is offered with a 147 horsepower 2.0-liter engine or a 201 HP 1.6-liter engine. Today’s post is about the “spicy” version, which is the Hyundai Veloster N.
The 2020 Hyundai Veloster N has a starting price of $34,999 plus $1,710 for Delivery & Destination, it’s fully loaded and the only additional costs are accessories and taxes.
The 2020 Veloster N comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with direct injection, producing a spine tingling 275 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 260 pound-feet of torque between 1,450 – 4,700 rpm. Power is sent to the front wheels via a smooth shifting 6-speed manual with rev match feature; automatic transmission is not offered, which is fine by me, if I were buying this car, a manual will be the only way I’d go.
Driving the Hyundai Veloster N is one hell of a fun experience, the car has lived up to all the hype I read/saw online. The 275 horsepower is more than enough for this little car, the power is delivered as soon as you think about it, and changing gears through the 6-speed manual transmission feels so natural. Driving the Veloster N sent me back to my younger days, the car felt so mechanical and reminded me of what driving was all about. Windows down, music blasting, gliding through curvy roads, while I handled the 6-speed transmission… that’s what driving used to be, at least to me.
The Veloster N will give you all the nostalgic feelings you can handle but it’s also a modern car and comes with a lot of bells and whistles that I wouldn’t even have thought about “back in the day”. The Veloster N comes with rev-match on downshifts, which can be turned on/off by the push of a button on the steering wheel. The only other car I’ve driven with rev-match is the Civic Type R, but I felt the rev-match on the Veloster N to be more natural, more pronounced. It worked great and would come in very handy at the race track, but it was also useful during spirited driving on twisty back roads.
The Veloster N also comes with 5 different driving modes: Eco, Normal, Sport, “N”, and Custom. In Eco mode, the Veloster N is a pretty tame car that feels more like the “mild” Veloster I drove a few months ago, while the Normal and Sport modes crank things up a few notches. These modes can be toggled via “Drive Mode” button on the left side of the steering wheel. The other two modes are selected by pushing the button on the right side of the steering wheel. The “N” mode is the most hardcore mode, with everything turned up to 10! The suspension is much stiffer, exhaust is opened up to be very loud, traction control is turned down, LSD is in a more aggressive mode, and you’re getting all the power the engine makes. This is the mode to have a lot of fun in, the exhaust is very loud and the amount popping and crackling coming from the rear end of the car is very addictive and is the affordable version of what you’d get in a Jaguar F-Type.
The last, and my favorite, mode is Custom. Here you can adjust many different things like damper firmness, steering weight, stability control, LSD settings, engine mapping, and exhaust sound. When I wanted to drive more aggressively, I’d pick all the settings the “N” mode has, except for the suspension, which I’d put in the softer mode. I found the damper/suspension setting on the N to be a bit on the harder side, especially on rougher roads. Thankfully in the Custom mode you can change things. The amount of modes/customization is very impressive and I loved playing with all the different settings, normally you’d find this much customization in much higher priced cars.
Another great addition to the driving experience was the steering feel, which is very weighty and feels like a proper sports car. I have complained about the fake steering feel of Hyundai vehicles in the past, but the Veloster N doesn’t suffer from that. It feels much more natural, well, as natural as these modern-day electric-assisted steering can feel.
The Veloster N is rated at 10.6/8.3/9.5 liter/100 km in city/highway/combined driving on premium fuel. I’m sure fuel consumption is not a priority for a car like this, but these are pretty good claimed numbers. For our weeklong review, the computer showed 10.2 L/100 km in about 80/20 city/highway driving, with “spirited” driving, which is a very good number. I’m sure I could’ve brought this number down had I driven more reasonably, but this is a sports car and it should be driven to its full potential.
I liked the styling on the regular Veloster, the N takes things a bit further while still keeping the asymmetrical design this car is famous for. At the front, there are small difference with a few extra added elements to the lower bumper which stand out in red against the car’s blue paint. The sides feature a small design element in front of the rear wheel well, with a red line along the side skirts. The rear bumper is slightly different with horizontal reflector lights, exhaust tips on both sides vs in the middle for the Veloster 1.6T we reviewed. The roof mounted spoiler is much bigger, but it suits the car and is nothing like the hideous thing you find on the Civic Type R. The overall stance of the car is much more aggressive and the car sits lower than the 1.6T’s.
The interior of the Veloster N stays relatively the same, with the exception of the aggressively bolstered cloth bucket seats, a few body color matching trim pieces, and body color matching seat belts. I would’ve liked to see a flat-bottom steering wheel, which always adds a bit of extra sporty flair to a car’s interior.
The bucket seats do a great job of holding you in place even the tightest of corners and I made full use of their holding abilities.
Unlike other Hyundai vehicles the Veloster N is not as loaded up with features as we expect from Hyundai vehicles, but in this case I’m fine with it. I want to experience the drive for myself, not be babysat. But the Veloster N does come with the usual suite of safety features like traction control, stability control, ABS etc. Below are some of the convenience features:
- Heated front seats
- 8.0″ Touch-screen navigation system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
- Rearview camera with dynamic guidelines
- USB/auxiliary connectivity
- Bluetooth Hands-free Phone system
- Heated steering wheel
- Remote keyless entry with push-button ignition
- Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA)
I had a great time with the 2020 Hyundai Veloster N; it’s one of only a handful of cars that are aimed at the pure enthusiasts. The Veloster N is extremely fun to drive, it’s agile, it’s powerful, pretty fuel efficient, and it’s not very expensive.
It sent me back in time to the days of tuner cars, of just pure joy of driving, something I can’t say about many cars nowadays and I drive a lot of cars. I loved every drive in the Hyundai Veloster N, and to repeat the cliché, I really did want to take the long way home. I highly recommend you taking one of these cars for a test drive, but I warn you, there’s a great chance of addiction to this car.