If it wasn’t for the asymmetrical three-door design of the Hyundai Veloster, this car would be just another compact hatchback. Instead, it’s Hyundai’s reverse halo – an attainable statement vehicle with plenty of attitude. We’ve already tested the new Veloster, but now Hyundai has made an even bigger statement with this car by introducing the performance-tuned 2019 Hyundai Veloster N.
Hyundai has dipped its toes in the sports car arena before with models like the Tiburon and Genesis Coupe, but the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N shows that the automaker is going all-in on performance with an entire sub-brand. In case you’re wondering, N stands for Hyundai’s engineering center in Namyang, Korea. Hyundai’s newly created N division doesn’t exactly have the sexiness of rival sport compacts like Ford’s RS, Subaru’s STI or Honda’s Type R, but after spending a week with the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N Performance Package, we have a feeling this fledgling performance brand has big things in store for its future.
2019 Hyundai Veloster N Exterior
Since its launch in 2011, the Hyundai Veloster has always resembled a hot hatch, but now the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N looks like the real deal. Although not as crazy looking as the Civic Type R, there’s no mistaking the Veloster N for the other Veloster models. Up front, the Veloster N gets a distinctive grille, while the fascia has been tweaked to add functional air ducts for better brake cooling. The best view of this car, though, is from the rear where the Veloster’s squatted design looks even better with a big wing, fat tires and massive exhaust outlets poking through the redesigned rear fascia. The Veloster N comes standard with stylish, 18-inch wheels, while the Performance Package brings lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels; the Performance Package also results in a stance that has been lowered by 0.2 inches. The Veloster N is offered in four colors including the Performance Blue color shown here – Hyundai made a bold move by making the signature color for this hot hatch a robin’s egg blue hue!
2019 Hyundai Veloster N Interior
Proving that the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N is a true sports car, most of the changes in the cabin were driver-focused. The cloth sport bucket seats provide a little extra bolstering for both the seat backs and bottoms without feeling too rigid, while the N-branded gauge cluster gets a 180-mph speedo and a series of five that illuminate sequentially as the engine races to redline. What really gives the Veloster N a sports car feel is the exclusive steering wheel wrapped in perforated leather with a unique three-spoke design and sporting a pair of buttons to allow the driver to easily select between the four drive modes. Instead of putting the drive mode buttons on the center console like other Hyundai models, Veloster N drivers have a more racecar feel using the thumb paddles to choose between the Sport and N modes. Rounding out the N-specific upgrades, some of the exterior’s Performance Blue coloring bleeds over into the cabin where the blacked-out interior gets a splash of color with blue trim center stack, contrast stitching (on the seats, steering wheel and shifter boot) and the seat belts.
Don’t be fooled by the cloth seats, though; the Veloster N is loaded with tech. The eight-inch touch screen adds N-specific performance gauges including a performance timer, g-force tracker and separate screens for turbo boost pressure, torque and power output. The Veloster N comes standard with the eight-speaker Infinity sound system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Hyundai’s Blue Link Connected Car System. Alloy foot pedals and N-branded door sills finish off the sporty cabin.
2019 Hyundai Veloster N Powertrain
As good as the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N looks, the tell of a true hot hatch is how it performs. For this, Hyundai snagged the 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injected engine from the Sonata (rather than trying to upgrade the 1.6-liter engine in the Veloster Turbo), and bumped the engine’s power output. The base Veloster N is rated at 250 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, while the optional Performance Package bumps the output to 275 horsepower – that’s 30 more horsepower than what this engine offers in the Sonata 2.0T and a significant bump from the 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque in the Veloster Turbo. This engine is paired only to a short-throw, six-speed manual gearbox with beefed-up internals (such as carbon-coated synchro rings) and rev-matching capability; this engine and transmission duo is what makes this car so much fun to drive.
Aside from four exterior paint colors, the Performance Package is the only option available on the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N, which this tester had. This package adds a throaty variable exhaust valve system, 19-inch alloy wheels with 235/35 R19 Pirelli P Zero summer tires (replacing the 225/40R18 Michelin Pilot SuperSport summer tires for the base Veloster N) and Hyundai’s N Corner Carving Differential – a fun way of saying “limited-slip differential with electronic control.” Despite being a front-wheel drive car, this feature helps balance out the car while cornering and all but eliminates torque steer under heavy acceleration. The Performance Package also brings bigger brakes upgrading to 13.6×1.2-inch front rotors and 12.4×0.8-inch rear ventilated rotors compared to 13.6×1.2-inch front/11.8×0.5 solid rear in standard N form, which were already considerably larger than the Veloster and Veloster Turbo.
Pushing the N mode button transforms the dynamic of this car from a fun little compact to a track beast by tightening up the steering and suspension systems and opening up the exhaust valve to full “wake the neighbors” mode. Sadly, I was not able to get this car out on a track, but it handled amazingly on highway on ramps with precise steering inputs and zero understeer. All of the N upgrades do come with a surprising 200-pound weight penalty compared to the Veloster Turbo, but the end result is a sporty little hatchback that can accelerate from 0-60 in under six seconds and exemplifies the overly used expressions of cornering on rails and stopping on a dime. As expected, the Veloster N also has some inherent efficiency penalties dropping from the Turbo’s EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway* down to a still respectable 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. If you want an economy car, get a Hyundai Elantra!
2019 Hyundai Veloster N Safety
The 2019 Hyundai Veloster has not yet been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and to focus on performance, the Veloster N has lost some of the Veloster’s available safety features like blind spot collision warning, smart cruise control, rain-sensing wipers and even the standard Lane Keep Assist.
2019 Hyundai Veloster N Overall
Hyundai has mastered the skill of affordable and reliable cars and more recently shown that it can even produce excellent luxury vehicles with the Genesis lineup, and now the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N is our first look at Hyundai’s performance potential. And we love it! After a week in Hyundai’s new performance halo vehicle, we’re sure that even the base version of this car makes for a great sport compact, but adding the Performance Package – a no-brainer option at just $2,100 – makes the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N a legitimate hot hatch contender that puts the Civic Type R on notice. This car actually reminds me a lot of the Volvo C30 Polestar in terms of both distinctive styling and impressive performance.
As is the case with any performance vehicle, there’s always a markup for going faster, but in typical Hyundai fashion, value is still the name of the game. The 2019 Hyundai Veloster N has a starting price of $26,900**, which is a step up from the $18,500 base Veloster and $22,900 Veloster Turbo yet not as big of a step as Civic Type R, Golf R and WRX STI take over their respective base models. Add on the Performance Package and you’re looking at an as-tested price of just $29,920. That’s a lot of car for under $30,000!
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Hyundai dealership and test drive the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N today!
* Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.
** MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.