Hyundai Veloster N

Editors' Review

Like popcorn kernels on a theater floor, the 2022 Hyundai Veloster lineup was mostly swept away. Every trim level was discarded except for one: the high-performance Veloster N. This sounds unfortunate, but it's actually good news because this exuberant little car has always been the cream of the Veloster crop and it's still an absolute blast, even if it's starting to feel a little dated.

Hyundai's hott-with-two-T's hatchback melds youthful styling with an exceedingly dynamic driving experience. This example is painted Korean Air blue (the color is technically called Performance Blue, but I like my name better), a dusty hue that stands out from just about everything else out there. Given the dearth of hatchbacks available today, the Veloster N's No. 1 rival is the Volkswagen Golf GTI and the redesigned Honda Civic Type R. To a lesser extent, this car also competes with vehicles like the Mazda3 five-door, Toyota GR 86 and Subaru BRZ twins, as well as the Subaru WRX and possibly even the EcoBoost-powered Ford Mustang.

Behind its mesh grille resides a mighty 2.0-liter turbo-four that delivers giant-slaying performance. This little engine cranks out 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, figures that aren't all that impressive on paper, but in practice this car scoots. Bury the accelerator and the Veloster N leaps off the line with the enthusiasm of a Labrador puppy, squealing the front tires if the road is even the slightest bit dusty or damp. Keep the pedal pegged and this little rascal continues pulling with rare ferocity, even at extra-legal speeds. Additionally, this engine also provides plenty of theatrics. The standard variable exhaust system allows you to customize how raucous the car sounds. In the quietest setting, the Veloster N whispers like a Monday-to-Friday commuter car. Uncork this system, though, and it snaps, crackles and pops like a fire-breathing bowl of Rice Krispies.

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The Good ~ Visceral exhaust ~ Giant-slaying acceleration ~ Go-kart-like handling

The Bad ~ Can we just have four doors? ~ Slim-fit front bucket seats ~ Stiff or stiffer ride

The Bottom Line Hyundai's asymmetrical little firecracker is as fun -- and potent -- as ever.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 9
  • Features 8
  • Design 8
  • Media 8.5

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