2021 Hyundai Veloster N DCT new car reviews

The Veloster may have been a three-door oddball when it showed up in 2011, but it truly came out swinging when the second-generation model made its debut in 2018.

It got better, though, as Hyundai announced its N performance division, partly influenced by the ex-BMW M division head Albert Biermann, who was appointed as the head of R&D for Hyundai and Kia.

The flagship model for Hyundai's new performance brand? None other than the funky Veloster. (It's worth mentioning, though, that other markets get an N version of the now-discontinued-in-America Elantra GT, which they call the i30.) A 250-horsepower engine came standard, with an optional package bumping that power to 275. Perhaps the best part, though, was only one transmission choice was available: a real six-speed manual.

That all changes for 2021, however, as the optional Performance Package has been made standard—meaning all N models are good for 275 horsepower—and now an eight-speed, wet-type dual-clutch transmission can be had alongside the six-speed manual.


We've already spent some quality time with the manual-equipped N, but how does it perform with one less pedal, two more gears and a set of flappy paddles behind the wheel? You can read our impressions below.

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Other staff views

J.G. Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

You can see more of my gushing in the video review of the Veloster N, but overall I think Hyundai absolutely nailed it with this car. The level of performance attainable in this car by anyone who sits behind the wheel is pretty unparalleled. Hyundai has somehow managed to build a car that a novice can go fast in without much fear, which also doesn’t punish the expert with overly “safe” handling at the limit.

Not that the Veloster N feel unsafe, just that nearly every cornering attitude, from benign understeer, to high-speed four-wheel drifts, to tail-wagging corner entries is available to a skilled driver, and few chassis are capable of pulling that trick off successfully.

A lot of the credit goes to the steering feel, which is absolutely world-class, even with OEM tires and suspension alignment settings. In the Veloster N, you have the uncanny sense that you sit dead in the center of the mass of the car, and everything that happens at any corner hits your hands, your inner ear and the seat of your pants with exactly the same resolution.

For 2021, Hyundai has dropped the 250-horsepower base model of the Veloster N and made all Ns into 275-horsepower versions with the same setup as the previous “Sport” configuration, which includes the additional power and larger brakes. New for this year is also an eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission that is an exceptional companion for the turbocharged, 2.0-liter engine. Unlike so many modern sporty compact transmissions, the gears aren’t artificially short. Third gear especially is a particular treat, pulling strong to over 90 mph, giving the Veloster a lot of flexibility in medium speed track corners.

The diff is maybe not as magical as the one in the Honda Civic Type R, but that only means it takes a bit more skill to exit a corner than simply mashing the throttle and steering out. And the rear suspension—unlike the rear of so many sporty FWD cars—feels like it’s doing a fairly solid share of the work in cornering, rather than simply being the thing that keeps the gas tank from making sparks on the ground.

Perhaps the only bad news about the 2021 Veloster N is the near $5000 price increase from the previous year. That does get you the DCT, which is a nice upgrade if you care about lap times, and it is still $5000 cheaper than a Civic Type R list price. And I think the chances of finding a Veloster N at list price are MUCH higher than finding a Civic R at list. Basically, if someone tells me that $35,000 seems like a lot for a Veloster N, it immediately identifies them to me as someone who hasn’t driven a Veloster N.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

This is everything that we need today: the right size, the right power, the right everything. You can take it on track–bone stock–and run it all day.

I even like the color, including the matching seatbelts. “Is it white? Oh, wait, it’s like baby blue.”

But it works.

Our car came with the two-pedal setup. Insert womp-womp, right? Actually, no, it works, delivering crisp shifts. Would I personally order a real stick? Of course. But for those who prefer to not have a clutch pedal in their lives, this option is solid.

Seats are well bolstered. Controls feel good. Did I mention the baby blue seatbelts?

The Veloster also offers some practically, too. We fit two 4x8 sheets of plywood in the back. Okay, so they were cut up for use as shelves but, still, it’s a practical car. And that weird third door? It works. I could sit back there if I had to.

The Veloster N sounds good, too.

But–and here it comes: I think I’d rather live with the Civic Si. I realize that the Veloster N runs with the Civic Type R, but if we’re talking about a daily, the Civic just works with me better. I never got fully comfortable in the Hyundai, while the fact that the Civic Si comes with a limit-slip allows it to punch above its weight class.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard
Publisher

Nice sized package. Cool looking. This car, while a bit rude and crude, sure makes nice noises and is plenty quick enough.

Thirty-five grand seems like a lot for a pocket rocket, but it is well equipped and has a rocking stereo system and other niceties.

I think in that price range, I would cross-shop VW GTIs and hot rod Honda Civics to get a bit more creature comfort.

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Comments
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nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
12/22/20 9:11 a.m.

I'd like to have those seats in my Porsche yes

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
12/22/20 9:26 a.m.

They need to put this powertrain in the r-spec body.

Wonder how the DCT will hold up.  Does it carry the full track-use warranty that the 6speed does?  That would be impressive.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
12/22/20 9:33 a.m.
ProDarwin said:

Wonder how the DCT will hold up. 

That's what I'm eager to learn as well, mostly because the DCT-equipped N shot to the top of my "Which car would I pick if I had the means to replace my daily today?" list.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
12/22/20 9:59 a.m.

Finally, someone else posted. I couldn't be the first..... again. I'd take it in whatever color/trans I could get my hands on.

Vajingo
Vajingo Reader
12/22/20 12:20 p.m.

I've always said this car is one awd setup away from domination. Imagine, a wrx with 100k warranty?

Rodan
Rodan Dork
12/22/20 12:59 p.m.

Is there a test anywhere yet with the DCT?

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
12/22/20 1:07 p.m.

In reply to Rodan :

https://www.caranddriver.com/hyundai/veloster-n

Rodan
Rodan Dork
12/22/20 1:23 p.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

Thanks.  The main portion of that page doesn't have the DCT test info, but following one of the links on the page gets you there...

C&D Veloster N DCT test

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
12/22/20 2:15 p.m.

In reply to Rodan :

From that article: "As a bonus, the automatic Veloster N gains an overboost feature called N Grin Shift, which engages the car's raciest drivetrain setting and increases the engine's torque output from 260 to 278 pound-feet for 20 seconds."

N Grin Shift. Dude, these guys are awesome.

goingnowherefast
goingnowherefast Reader
12/22/20 7:05 p.m.

Worth noting that this was Car and Driver's quickest FWD car (0-60) that they've ever tested at 4.8 seconds. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
12/22/20 7:08 p.m.
goingnowherefast said:

Worth noting that this was Car and Driver's quickest FWD car (0-60) that they've ever tested at 4.8 seconds. 

I was wondering how many stock FWD cars have ever been faster than this.  What is the fastest 1/4 mile C&D has recorded from FWD?  I would have guessed Type R, but it ran .1 slower

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
12/22/20 8:10 p.m.
ProDarwin said:
goingnowherefast said:

Worth noting that this was Car and Driver's quickest FWD car (0-60) that they've ever tested at 4.8 seconds. 

I was wondering how many stock FWD cars have ever been faster than this.  What is the fastest 1/4 mile C&D has recorded from FWD?  I would have guessed Type R, but it ran .1 slower

this has to be the fastest thing an actual magazine has gotten their hands on...

The only true production car i can thnk of faster than this is the Renault Megane Trohpy... at 72k GBP   aka $96k 

 

 

 

goingnowherefast
goingnowherefast Reader
12/22/20 8:47 p.m.
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) said:
ProDarwin said:
goingnowherefast said:

Worth noting that this was Car and Driver's quickest FWD car (0-60) that they've ever tested at 4.8 seconds. 

I was wondering how many stock FWD cars have ever been faster than this.  What is the fastest 1/4 mile C&D has recorded from FWD?  I would have guessed Type R, but it ran .1 slower

this has to be the fastest thing an actual magazine has gotten their hands on...

The only true production car i can thnk of faster than this is the Renault Megane Trohpy... at 72k GBP   aka $96k 

 

 

 

Probably, but not *that* magazine. Since C&D primarily does US only stuff. That 96K car is probably faster to 60 than the $32K Veloster N and that's why it's really impressive for the veloster to even be in the running.  

turtl631
turtl631 HalfDork
12/23/20 6:43 a.m.

The new seats look really nice too. Too bad they brought the heated seat and steering wheel option to Canada but not to the US, definitely drops this a rung or two on my list.  In the article it says the DCT adds almost 100 lb, pass. I really want to drive one of these at some point, seems like it would be a fun daily but it's a little hard for me to wrap my head around a fun front wheel drive car.  Grew up with bad GM / Ford FWD sedans, moved on to RWD stuff and haven't looked back.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
12/23/20 8:19 a.m.
ProDarwin said:

They need to put this powertrain in the r-spec body.

Wonder how the DCT will hold up.  Does it carry the full track-use warranty that the 6speed does?  That would be impressive.

The DCT they put in these is the new, stronger wet clutch version, not the older dry clutch one they put in the N-Line and Kia Forte GT. Hopefully this trickles down into the lesser models later on.

Rodan
Rodan Dork
12/23/20 10:48 a.m.
turtl631 said:

Too bad they brought the heated seat and steering wheel option to Canada but not to the US, definitely drops this a rung or two on my list.  

Not giving it heated seats in the US is really dumb.  

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
12/23/20 11:54 a.m.

We have track times and data for both the Veloster N and Civic Type R. Videos drop soon.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
12/23/20 12:05 p.m.
JG Pasterjak said:

We have track times and data for both the Veloster N and Civic Type R. Videos drop soon.

Not soon... now! C'mon your resident Hyundai Humper wants to be disappointed again

 

kevinatfms
kevinatfms GRM+ Memberand Reader
12/23/20 12:14 p.m.
bobzilla said:
JG Pasterjak said:

We have track times and data for both the Veloster N and Civic Type R. Videos drop soon.

Not soon... now! C'mon your resident Hyundai Humper wants to be disappointed again

 

Dont say that! Youre gonna jinx it.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
12/23/20 12:17 p.m.

In reply to kevinatfms :

I mean, the Hype R has more power so it should be faster.

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/23/20 1:31 p.m.

I had a chance to drive a top-spec N, and ride along with the owner...a 2-time SCCA Solo Nats winner. I can say that the car can do more than I could handle and I loved all the tech it offered. Compared to the FiST, the interior is on another level, the features are off the chart, and it sure does move. I think the FiST was more connected and had better sightlines, but I would never get tired of listening to the exhaust...so fun. 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
12/24/20 8:06 a.m.

No seriously... where is the video????

 

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed UltraDork
12/24/20 9:32 a.m.
Rodan said:
turtl631 said:

Too bad they brought the heated seat and steering wheel option to Canada but not to the US, definitely drops this a rung or two on my list.  

Not giving it heated seats in the US is really dumb.  

Agreed. I look at heated seats and steering wheel like air conditioning.  It's mandatory.  

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
12/24/20 9:35 a.m.
Feedyurhed said:

Agreed. I look at heated seats and steering wheel like air conditioning.  It's mandatory.  

I guess this just highlights how out of touch I am with reality.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
12/24/20 9:35 a.m.

In reply to Feedyurhed :

I've never had them and never seen a need. I used to see the burned seat covers in the old Acuras when they shorted out. Didn't look pleasant

 

Rodan
Rodan Dork
12/24/20 9:49 a.m.

If it gets cold where you live, once you've had seated heats, it's difficult to go back... wink

For this car specifically, they're pushing it into a price category where such features should be included.  Especially when they've already been engineered into the car...

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
12/24/20 9:50 a.m.

In reply to Rodan :

It's 17* right now and blowing the snow sideways. I guess if you're a leather seat fan it could suck. Cloth seats are our preference

Rodan
Rodan Dork
12/24/20 9:54 a.m.

19* here in AZ... no snow, though.

A big benefit is the seats warm up much quicker than the HVAC can get warm air out.  I've also found them kind of nice for when my bad back bothers me on longer drives.

Iusedtobefast
Iusedtobefast Reader
12/24/20 10:20 a.m.

I'm torn. I really don't like SUVs but I've read that the N line is going to other models. If true, I'd like an Kona N please. Something about the look of that thing has got in my craw. 

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed UltraDork
12/24/20 11:13 a.m.
Rodan said:

19* here in AZ... no snow, though.

A big benefit is the seats warm up much quicker than the HVAC can get warm air out.  I've also found them kind of nice for when my bad back bothers me on longer drives.

This exactly. I have a 3 mile commute to work and in the winter the motor never warms up enough to put out any heat by the time I get there. The steering wheel and seat heaters you can feel almost immediately.   

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed UltraDork
12/24/20 11:33 a.m.
Iusedtobefast said:

I'm torn. I really don't like SUVs but I've read that the N line is going to other models. If true, I'd like an Kona N please. Something about the look of that thing has got in my craw. 

Me too. I could totally rock the Kona N though. The pics I have seen look awesome.

Rodan
Rodan Dork
12/24/20 11:48 a.m.

I could definitely get interested in a 300hp AWD compact SUV.

Then Kona could ride in a Kona... cheeky

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
12/24/20 12:31 p.m.

Heated seats?   I'm the old school guy complaining about electric window motors going bad.   Nothing wrong with wind up hand crank windows.  UNTIL I have that option.....

Wife wanted heated seats and I complained about future issues in her Pilot UNTIL I drove it on a cold day......oooohhhhh these are nice.  
 

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed UltraDork
12/24/20 1:44 p.m.

 

One of the many Internet renderings of the Kona N. 

Rodan
Rodan Dork
12/24/20 1:52 p.m.

As much as I like the Kona and Veloster, I really wish they'd just give us (in the US) the i30N hatch...

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
12/24/20 3:44 p.m.

In reply to Rodan :

you and me both buddy...

 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
12/24/20 4:18 p.m.
Rodan said:

19* here in AZ... no snow, though.

A big benefit is the seats warm up much quicker than the HVAC can get warm air out.  I've also found them kind of nice for when my bad back bothers me on longer drives.

This, I use my heated seats even in the summer.

Iusedtobefast
Iusedtobefast Reader
12/25/20 11:29 a.m.

In reply to Feedyurhed :

Yep! I'm all in! When do they hit the showrooms? That will be fun! If I'm going to be stuck buying SUVs from now on, might as well be fun

Ozzy
Ozzy New Reader
1/11/21 7:29 p.m.

Sure hope Hyundai allows you to really & fully turn off the nanny's because the Veloster R-Spec is awful as an autox car if you want to go to the limits.  I have looked at the "N" but my money will be spent else where for a toy & I'll just keep using the R-Spec around town.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
1/13/21 8:41 a.m.

In reply to Ozzy :

Yes the N series is defeatable as evidenced by the cars running nationally. I imagine that it can also be tuned out, but that of course voids warranty. Also why I'm looking at first gen. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
1/13/21 9:03 a.m.
bobzilla said:

In reply to Ozzy :

I imagine that it can also be tuned out

I would like to know more about this.  If I can get Hyundai to fix the car, I might keep it and play with this.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
1/13/21 9:13 a.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

aftermarket tuners. If I was running one and that was a priority, I'd be making calls/emails.

 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
1/13/21 9:23 a.m.

 yes Yeah, I just wondered if you had seen it confirmed somewhere.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
1/13/21 9:37 a.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

I don't have anything new or fast enough for all that fancy-ness! lol

 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
1/13/21 9:05 p.m.
Rodan said:

I could definitely get interested in a 300hp AWD compact

,,,

SUV.

rothwem
rothwem Reader
1/14/21 7:30 a.m.
Colin Wood said:
ProDarwin said:

Wonder how the DCT will hold up. 

That's what I'm eager to learn as well, mostly because the DCT-equipped N shot to the top of my "Which car would I pick if I had the means to replace my daily today?" list.

Another curious potential owner right here.  I don't think the 7-speed DCT currently used has been that reliable, but maybe this unit will do better?

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
1/14/21 7:41 a.m.
rothwem said:
Colin Wood said:
ProDarwin said:

Wonder how the DCT will hold up. 

That's what I'm eager to learn as well, mostly because the DCT-equipped N shot to the top of my "Which car would I pick if I had the means to replace my daily today?" list.

Another curious potential owner right here.  I don't think the 7-speed DCT currently used has been that reliable, but maybe this unit will do better?

 

I imagine it will.  Everything about the car seems to have been designed for the track environment, as (the 6spd at least) it carries its warranty even during track use.  Fingers crossed that it its a good solid transmission.

I don't think I could recommend a Veloster at this point based on my own experience with one, but I do hope the car does well.  Its the type of vehicle I would like to see more of.

Ozzy
Ozzy New Reader
1/18/21 11:58 a.m.

In reply to bobzilla :

As of now I have not heard about any work around on the regular Velosters.  I bought a 19 1.6T Elantra Sport (6spd manual) for my daughter & those guys are complaining about the same problem.  Also one of the specialized Hyundai tuners on the FB page commented that a few of the hardcore "N" owners have been having a few problems with the computer interrupting at the wrong time even though that system is supposed to be fully off.  There is a huge write started by the guy that ran that HS Elantra N line at Nationals back in 18.  I think he managed 13th with it.  He was trying to get around the same issue & never did get a fix.  Last I know he was going to be driving a prepared Honda after one season in his Hyundai.  I can't see trying to tune it out since the 1.6T Veloster still won't be competitive in GS.  It's an HS car & won't catch the Fiesta ST with it's current stabilitly handicap even if the powers that be move it to HS.  Still I love the R-Spec as a daily.  It's a blast.  My youngest will be driving it & I'll send it off with him when he goes off to school.  Hyundai would have to come up with something truly impressive for me to thrown money at one again.  At this point I think my next car will be a C7 Z06/Z07 with the manual.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
1/18/21 12:20 p.m.

In reply to Ozzy :

If your only concern was autox you would be right. If you want a great all-rounder that's fun, affordable and easy on the consumables it's spot on. 

There was a time when I was a SRS BZNS auto'xer. That's far behind me now and I willingly participate in a local class called ZF with a PAX of 5. yes.... 5. We're there for the fun.

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