The N is a no-nonsense performance car with gobs of power, immense cornering prowess, and strong braking. With its different driving modes, you can cruise around sedate as you please with the N but hit the checker flag toggle on the steering wheel and the car comes alive. It hunkers down as all its systems prepare for action. The suspension stiffens, the steering effort increases, and the throttle response quickens. Adding to the experience are the very low profile (35-series) tires which help move the car where you point it. This is a very agile car.
Along with the dialed-in performance, the tailpipes on the N get loud. The manual shifter is very precise, enhancing the experience. The interior is restrained yet all functions are there and easy to work with. The screen graphics provide more information and are easier to read than cars costing twice the amount.
As expected with the low-profile tires, the ride is harsh and somewhat choppy, especially in performance mode. The large rear spoiler may be over the top for some tastes.
Hyundai got this one right. The Veloster N (the N comes from the place of Hyundai's global research center, Namyang, plus extensive track testing at Germany's Nurburgring) is a strong candidate in this group. It may not win every time at track day, but for its price the N offers much more than its competition.
Price as tested: $34,999
Engine: 2.0-liter, turbocharged
Power/Torque: 275 horsepower, 260 lb-ft
Fuel Mileage: 9.4L/100km, combined
Drivetrain: FWD, six-speed manual gearbox, electric rack and pinion steering with 2.14 turns lock-to-lock, MacPherson struts with coils front suspension with 21-mm stabilizer bar, multilink rear suspension, 345-mm (13.6-inch) brake rotors on front, 314-mm (12.4-inch) rotors on rear, 235/35/R19 Pirelli P Zero tires.
Specifications: Wheelbase 2650-mm (104 inches), weight 1428 kg (3148 lbs), passenger volume 2545 cubic liters (89.9 cubic ft), trunk capacity 565 cubic liters (19.9 cubic ft), fuel tank capacity 50 liters (10.9 gals).