The term “hot hatch” has been used for years, which typically refers to any hatchback car that was built for performance. Some may argue that the Volkswagen GTi was the original “hot hatch,” but whatever the case, there have been many performance hatchbacks throughout the years and manufacturers have constantly tried to fill this niche segment and garners interests from enthusiasts and general consumers alike.
Over the past few years, the Honda Civic Type R has reigned supreme in this segment as it produces over 300 horsepower and is as good on the daily drive as it is on the racetrack, that is, up until last year. For 2019, Hyundai released their version of the hot hatch, the Hyundai Veloster N and we figured it’s worth a closer look to see if it would be a good buy over the Civic Type R, and also in general.
Hyundai Veloster N provides subtle looks and screaming performance
If you’ve seen the Honda Civic Type R, then you’re familiar with its very aggressive design and, most specifically, the huge spoiler. All those aero enhancements are actually functional, however, the 2020 Hyundai Veloster N proves that you don’t need big wings and body kits to stand out and perform well. On the exterior, the Veloster N uses the Hyundai’s “N design” front bumper with functional air ducts for enhanced brake cooling, and integrated rear diffuser, two-toned side sills, and lightweight 19-inch wheels to finish off the racecar look. There’s a rear spoiler, but it’s not that big.
Under the hood, the Hyundai Veloster N has a 2.0-liter turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that produces 250 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. If you opt for the “performance package,” the engine power is increased to 275. The engine is mated to a slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission that has downshift rev-matching capability, however, an electronically controlled limited-slip differential is optional. All of these performance parts add up to a 0-60 time in about 5.5 seconds and about 14.2 seconds for a sprint down the quarter-mile.
The Veloster N sticks well, too
Straight-line performance is not the main highlight of any hot hatch, as the point of building one is to make handle well in the corners, both on the street and the track. The Veloster N stays true to this as it’s equipped with Hyundai’s N Power Sense Axle Design, which aids in getting the power to ground via a “zero-scrub radius for more precise steering,” according to Hyundai. Another unique attribute of the Veloster N is it’s electronically controlled suspension tuning that has a “load-transfer control system” that can be changed from a comfort setting to a track-focused “N mode” on the fly. When it’s time to slow things down a large braking system, which utilizes 13.6-inch brake rotors in the front and 12.4-inch rotors in the rear, does a great job of getting the Veloster N to a stop.
Is all this performance worth it?
The 2020 Hyundai Veloster N has a starting price of $27,400, which increases to $29,500 when the Performance Package is added. As compared to the Honda Civic Type R, which carries a price tag of around $36,000, we would say that the Hyundai Veloster N is definitely worth a look. If true track performance is what you’re looking for, then the Civic Type R could be a better performer, but for the money, and for the sake of living up its hot hatch performance streetcar design, the Hyundai Veloster provides a great value.