Normal, decent people should not buy the 2021 Hyundai Veloster N. They would be happier purchasing something else.
No, the Veloster N is for the rest of us: the miscreants, the hooligans, the delinquents, the nutjobs, the crazies who think the exhaust can always be louder, the speed freaks who subsidize entire annual budgets of nearby small towns with their ticket revenue. It's an angry, ridiculous little hot hatchback, the likes of which we barely see anymore in 2021.
I've been testing this Performance Blue example of Hyundai's turbocharged, front-drive, 275 horsepower (it feels like more than that, believe me) three-door demon-hatch for the past week and I've grown rather fond of it. What do you want to know about it?
Developed by Hyundai's N Performance division, itself born of a good poach from BMW M, the Veloster N is now in its third model year on the market. It's a true hot hatch, meaning you pay more for performance but still have to (or get to, depending on your perspective) live with a humble economy car interior. But it remains a first-rate driving machine, the likes of which would've been incomprehensible when the awkward original Veloster dropped a decade ago. It's like your goofy friend from high school who does Ironman Triathlons now, and happens to be extremely good at them.
I will cop to some disappointment when this press tester arrived because it swaps the original six-speed manual transmission for Hyundai's built-in-house, eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. I was among the chorus of critics who had effusive praise for the manual Veloster N when it came out; remember, this thing beat out a lot of really expensive metal to claim Road & Track's Performance Car of the Year Award in 2020. Would it elicit the same joy with a DCT?
The answer is, generally speaking, yeah. Paddle shifts are imperceptibly quick while remaining plenty smooth in everyday driving when the lever's clicked over to just "D." Once I got over my initial disappointment and learned to work with it, every backroad felt like it approached track day levels of fun, just like the manual Veloster N. You can't go wrong with either gearbox choice, really. With all options, the review car came in at a not-bad $34,755.
I send this thing back to the press car farm today, but I will answer your questions about it for a review like my colleague Kristen Lee did with the Subaru Outback Limited XT recently. Is the Veloster N on your shopping list? What do you want to know about it? Ask away. I'm here for you.
I'll be picking a bunch of questions you ask to answer in the review I publish in a few weeks. Look for them there!