The Hyundai Veloster (based on the Elantra) isn't the most conventional compact hatchback. Walk up to the driver's side, and you'll see one door, but if you walk up to the passenger side, you'll see two doors, which are there to ease passenger ingress and egress.
The Veloster comes with a range of engines, starting with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder making 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque, which can be sent through a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. Next up is a 1.6-liter, turbocharged I4 making 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. That engine comes standard with a six-speed manual, but a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission is optional. Finally, there's the 2.0-liter, turbocharged I4 in the racy Veloster N that makes up to 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The Veloster N comes only with a six-speed manual transmission, and all Velosters send their power exclusively to the front wheels.
The most efficient Veloster with the 1.6-liter turbo and dual-clutch transmission gets an EPA-estimated 28 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg highway. The performance-oriented Veloster N is unsurprisingly less efficient, netting 22/28 city/highway mpg. The small, sporty hatchback has a decent amount of space for cargo, with 19.9 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 44.5 cubic feet with the back seats folded down. Standard tech features include a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Standard driver-assistance features include automatic collision-mitigation braking and lane-keep assist. Adaptive cruise control is optional.
The Hyundai Veloster N fills a fascinating space in the hot hatch market. It offers performance that approaches the Honda Civic Type R, but for thousands of dollars less. In order to do that, Hyundai equips the Veloster N with a wealth of performance features, but skimps on creature comforts to give you the most bang for your enthusiast-minded buck.
As a result, the Veloster N offers some of the best driving satisfaction per dollar out there. But is that enough to call it the best hot hatch for the money?
The Veloster N is powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The optional Performance Package's hotter ECU tune pops my tester up to 275 horsepower, and extends the same 260 pound-feet of torque further up in the rev range to 4,700 rpm instead of just 4,000 rpm for the standard car.
The Good The 2019 Hyundai Veloster N is one of the greatest performance bargains on the market today.
The Bad It's not as well-rounded as similarly priced competitors.
The Bottom Line The hottest Veloster is the spirit animal for those who place priority on going fast.
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