Imagine the hype: The Hyundai Veloster N is a darn good sizzling hatch

Patrick

In the case of sporty hatchbacks right here within the US, it has typically been a case of “the grass is greener.” For the longest time, Honda would not deliver the Civic Kind-R to those shores. And the reasonably priced “it automobile” du jour is the Toyota GR Yaris, a three-cylinder enjoyable machine that wins over everybody who drives it. Everybody in Europe and Japan that’s, as a result of Individuals might want to wait a quarter-century to learn the way the Yaris handles the Cherahola Skyway, Mount Palomar, or Angeles Crest Freeway—assuming you may nonetheless purchase gasoline to run it.

Effectively, not this time. Say whats up to the $32,250 Hyundai Veloster N, a bonkers little factor with uneven doorways and dealing with tuned on the mighty Nürburgring Nordschleife. Shockingly, not solely is it on sale right here within the US, but it surely’s not accessible to our cousins on the opposite facet of the Atlantic.

In 2020, I lastly tried out one in all Hyundai’s Velosters, on this case, the Turbo mannequin. My conclusion on the time was that the totally loaded Veloster Turbo was let down by its dual-clutch transmission and that I suspected the equally priced Veloster N could be higher. Because it seems, I used to be right.

In reality, it is not simply higher; it is a kind of vehicles the place inside a couple of minutes of setting off for the primary time that it is one thing out of the unusual.

For one factor, it will get a unique engine from the remainder of the Veloster vary. Right here, it is a 2.0 L turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 275 hp (205 kW) and 260 lb-ft (353 Nm) that powers the entrance wheels. This comes with a six-speed handbook transmission as commonplace, which apparently has an unadvertised no-lift upshift function, however our take a look at automobile was geared up with what quantities to the one choice, an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) that, in contrast to most DCTs, makes use of moist clutches that assist cool the gearbox and cut back parasitic drag. For as soon as, the handbook is the extra environment friendly alternative, reaching 25 mpg mixed (9.4 L/100 km); the DCT is a thirstier 22 mpg (10.7 L/100 km).

No matter transmission, all Veloster Ns come geared up with an precise mechanical limited-slip differential, or LSD, (versus an digital LSD that brakes a spinning wheel) referred to as the “N Nook Carving Differential.” And for mannequin 12 months 2021, Hyundai determined to make the Veloster N’s efficiency bundle commonplace gear.

I <3 mechanical LSDs

My first expertise with a front-wheel drive automobile with a mechanical LSD got here once I put a brand new gearbox within the 1992 Golf GTI that I used to race with some pals, and the distinction is illuminating. You may get on the ability earlier, and all through the flip, the diff apportions torque throughout the axle, stabilizing the automobile and quelling the understeer that you simply would possibly usually get from a FWD hatch as you improve the ability. The extraordinarily addictive Honda Civic Kind-R is one other reasonably priced FWD efficiency automobile with a mechanical LSD, and it is partly why that automobile likes to nook as a lot because it does.

There’s a pair of powder-blue buttons on the steering wheel. The one on the left, labeled Drive Mode, switches you between Eco, Regular, Sport, and Customized. Sport is fairly good, and I spent the primary day or so utilizing it and enormously having fun with myself on some empty again roads, till I attempted urgent the right-hand button, merely marked with a checkered flag. Good factor I did, as this activates N mode, which is like Sport however oh a lot extra. This mode sharpens throttle response much more, stiffens the electronically managed dampers—to the detriment of experience high quality, however you will not care—engages a extra extreme profile for the LSD, loosens the steadiness management security internet, and makes the steering extra direct.

I’d additionally prefer to reward the communication by means of the steering, which gives loads of suggestions concerning the quantity of grip accessible to the entrance wheels. I used to be positive that the Veloster N used hydraulic energy steering, however no; it’s {an electrical} power-steering system, though one which’s totally different from all the opposite Velosters in that the motor is mounted to the steering rack, not the steering column.

Sport and N modes additionally make the Veloster N sound so much fruitier. Some could flip their noses up as a result of the sound partly comes from the automobile’s audio system, however so what? It sounds good, and that is what issues to the driving force. (And actually, is utilizing a speaker to cancel some undesirable harmonics or intensify some others actually any totally different from OEMs that match sports activities exhausts that add nothing when it comes to efficiency?)

Do your seats mild up?

All of that is accompanied by some inside and exterior bits that mark the Veloster N out from lesser variations. On the rear, there is a biplane wing (or is it a spoiler?), and alongside the edges, there are extra excessive facet skirts. On the within, you get a pair of sports activities seats that grip you effectively, and while you unlock the automobile, the N logos on the backrest mild up. Regardless of this bit of caprice, the seats weigh round 4 lbs (2 kg) lower than commonplace seats. And the seat belts are the identical N powder blue because the steering wheel buttons.

Whereas I am very impressed with the Veloster N, it is not fairly pretty much as good as a Civic Kind-R. The Honda’s seats hug you higher, the car corners even more durable, and it is about 11 % extra highly effective than the Hyundai. Nevertheless it’s additionally $5,000 costlier than the handbook Veloster R, and that big rear wing is perhaps off-putting to some. And I have been listening to excellent issues concerning the Mk. 8 Volkswagen Golf R, however for the reason that outgoing Mk. 7 already price greater than $40,000, the brand new one is unlikely to be as reasonably priced because the Veloster N.

The Hyundai isn’t a automobile for everybody, however for US sizzling hatch fans, there’s lastly an awesome choice that we get however Europe does not.

Itemizing picture by Hyundai

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