One of the cars I’ve been looking forward to driving this year is the all-new 2019 Hyundai Veloster, since small sporty coupe slash hatches are getting hard to come by. Anything new in this segment is a welcome breath of fresh air in the land of fat lazy crossovers.
Happy I was when the ultra high performance N model showed up at my door in the show stopping Performance Blue. Does this color get attention? Um, yes. My tester was a performance package model which means 19-inch alloy wheels with summer tires to go along with its other stylistic upgrades.
Red accents along the aggressive fascia ground effects and the up-sized rear wing really pop. Its large exhaust tips pop too but with a rap and crackle of raspy tune. This is because the exhaust has a variable flap system that opens up loud when you set this thing to N mode on the drive selector.
The interior is nicely laid out too basic design, utilizing switchgear and logical layout for controls that Hyundai has well mastered. The N gets color keyed trims that add a dose of visual fun throughout along with lots of N-blems, see what I did there?
The base cloth seats I liked a lot as they grip you tight and were quite comfortable. I always prefer cloth in a performance car as you don’t slip around like with leather. The instrument cluster, steering wheel and shift knob all say performance in their upgraded states.
Power is up in the Performance Package model, here with 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque from its 2.0-liter turbocharged 4. Power hits the floor through a limited slip differential Hyundai calls N Corner Carving. Marketing hoocheekoo that.
The engine rips nicely and shoves you back in your seat with authority when pushed just at the right points. This is to say if you don’t tap it at the right time, the drive by wire throttle nuances things and you don’t get much immediacy, even when in N Mode. So it takes learning its curves to know when to kick it best.
The six-speed manual shifter works well and didn’t hang up on me once. The best thing you get is the louder throatier sound in N mode. Rap, crackle, pop! Whooeee it sounds nice. Stopping works well too with its larger 13.6” front and 12.4” brakes.
Handling is and area where this Veloster is much improved over the last generation. The suspension damping stiffness is adjustable through the drive mode selector which has Normal through N modes.
There is also a custom mode which lets you tailor the various parts of it to your liking and that is a good thing because the suspension is crush your spinal discs stiff around town. Might be good at the track, but you’ll want it off after a few minutes one most city streets. With custom you have have all the rest of the N stuff, but dial the suspension back a bit.
Priced at $29,920 I liked the Veloster N because it’s everything a performance guy wants in terms of go fast and handles well, without all the shit most car companies make you buy with it. You can option it up, but you can also get it plain and cheap like this. Bonus.
How does it compare? To what? VW GTI is taller and less powerful, the R is way more money. If VW still sold us a Scirocco maybe we’d have a convo. Civic Si, less power. Civic Type R, way more cash too. This is almost in a class by itself.