This wasn’t meant to be a farewell drive, however in between testing the 2022 Hyundai Veloster N and the publishing of this evaluate, Hyundai introduced that the spunky, three-door scorching hatchback is lifeless. There will probably be no 2023 Veloster. Interval.
It’s a troublesome one to take, because the Veloster N launched us to what’s now a blossoming efficiency model in Hyundai’s portfolio. With it, Hyundai lastly proved that it might make a top-tier efficiency automobile. The N division has since struck gold a pair extra instances with the Elantra N and Kona N, however solely the Veloster N birthed the model in the USA again within the 2019 mannequin 12 months. And positive, 2019 looks like 10 years in the past to most of us, however in automobile phrases, a mere 4 mannequin years (counting 2022) just isn’t a protracted life. Not less than they have been 4 pretty mannequin years.
For the ultimate drive, we’re ending the place we started, with a six-speed manual-equipped Veloster N. Hyundai added a dual-clutch automated transmission for the 2021 mannequin 12 months, and we discovered it to be a very good possibility for the auto-inclined. The DCT can be obtainable for this closing 2022 mannequin 12 months, which suggests it will get a two-year manufacturing run. Nonetheless, nothing might make us happier than spending the final drive on this automobile with the neat-shifting guide.
It doesn’t take lengthy to slide again into loving the Veloster N. Swing the extra-long driver door open — it’s huge, like that of a two-door coupe — and the super-high bolstered N seats await. These seats are the “N Mild” sport seats (the N within the backrest actually lights up at night time) launched for 2021, they usually assist to spruce up an in any other case back-to-basics cabin. The Efficiency Blue accents for the large steering wheel drive mode selector buttons beckon your activation instantly. One faucet on the checkered flag button, and the automobile switches into N mode, opening the exhaust up and activating the hilarious pop-and-bang soundtrack.
The remainder of the cabin, apart from the Efficiency Blue seatbelts, is nearly brutally primary. A Honda Civic’s inside is much from luxurious, however it’s upscale in comparison with the supplies and design you discover contained in the Veloster N. That’s to not say the Hyundai’s easy nature is a nasty factor — prioritizing efficiency over luxurious inside supplies isn’t a choice we take offense to. Plus, if you actually need a nicer inside, the Elantra N awaits.
Discovering something to complain about with regards to driving the Veloster N is simply as tough because it was again in 2019. The two.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder motivates this 3,106-pound hatchback with all of the kick it wants. Its 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque leaves the entrance finish scrabbling for grip when the Pirelli P Zero summer season tires are chilly, however get them heat, and this little monster will scream away from a lifeless cease in simply over 5 seconds per Automobile and Driver testing.
The noise it makes getting there’s arguably extra entertaining than the acceleration itself. Assuming you’ve the exhaust in its most aggressive setting, every shift is accompanied by a rapid-fire bang bang earlier than you step again onto the throttle, reawakening the bass-filled roar of the boosted engine. There’s no type of noise unnoticed of the equation. It doesn’t matter what you need, whether or not that’s the sound of a turbocharger or screeching rubber from an enormous front-wheel burnout, the Veloster N can present the specified ambiance. We’d say that we’ll miss the noises essentially the most, however fortunately, a equally noisy expertise will be had within the different N fashions on sale now.
The Veloster N notably sits in stark distinction to different scorching hatches which might be much more refined with regards to exterior audio, such because the Volkswagen GTI or last-gen Honda Civic Sort R. The Hyundai will be quiet like these automobiles for those who stick it into “Regular” mode, however what’s the enjoyable in that?
Fortunately, the Elantra N will choose up the place the Veloster N leaves off with regards to dealing with efficiency. That mentioned, even 4 years later, the Veloster N is an absolute riot to chuck round. The previous-gen Civic Sort R set the world commonplace for dealing with in front-drive automobiles, and the Veloster N is almost at that very same stage. Hyundai’s digital limited-slip differential works its magic to verify torque is successfully distributed to the bottom, sling-shotting you round corners with surprising tempo and provoking large quantities of confidence. It’s potential to induce slightly torque steer — not like the Sort R — however the Veloster N does a bang-up job of tempering it and permitting the motive force to keep up full management of the place these entrance wheels are pointing.
The presence of a “Customized” drive mode that lets you set the whole lot up precisely as you need is a big boon to each enthusiastic and each day driving. Twisted as much as full “N,” the suspension is rock-hard to the purpose of being a burden on all however the smoothest of roads. With the ability to soften the dampers however preserve the infantile exhaust and weighty steering means you possibly can have enjoyable any time you hop within the driver’s seat. The rev-match perform is significantly appreciated underneath all circumstances, too. Step by way of every gear as you brake for a light-weight, and each downshift is accompanied by a well timed blip with accompanying chatter from the exhaust. You possibly can drive round and be a nuisance to society as a lot as you need, all whereas having fun with an affordable journey high quality.
Past the inarguable efficiency, the Veloster N’s weirdness is what we’ll miss essentially the most. No, a automobile with three doorways and a squished hatchback stature doesn’t make sense when you concentrate on it from a utilitarian perspective, however the truth that it existed in any respect is one thing us bizarre nerds can be glad about. Plus, on a critical be aware, we spent a weekend toting folks round within the again seat of this Racing Crimson instance, and the complaints have been minimal. It’s a disgrace that solely one of many rear home windows goes down (the one within the door that opens), however rear legroom is plentiful as long as certainly one of your riders accepts the necessity to scoot throughout the rear bench to get out and in.
Don’t have a look at this “Closing Drive” as you fully lacking the boat on the Veloster N, although. Hyundai will promote the little hatchback by way of the 2022 mannequin 12 months, so there’s nonetheless an opportunity to snag one. The worth isn’t as attractive because it was when the Veloster N launched in 2019, however $33,595 is an affordable quantity to pay for its efficiency — add $1,500 to that if you’d like the DCT. Sadly, that value places it above that of the Elantra N, which presents a nicer inside, higher visibility and extra utility with 4 full doorways. You possibly can see how pulling the plug made sense – to not point out that much more folks purchase common, non-N Elantras than Velosters, making a low-volume, fanatic particular a extra palatable enterprise proposition. So there’s logic to the choice, however that doesn’t imply the Veloster N’s absence gained’t depart a funky-shaped gap in our hearts.
In the long run, the Veloster N did its job of totally entrenching “N” as one thing particular to fanatics. It successfully set excessive expectations and laid the groundwork for each successive N mannequin to achieve its place. Now, Hyundai simply must preserve the drumbeat going.