Hyundai has tackled the quality and reliability issues that plagued it initially. The result was an astonishing run from the bottom of the pack to the very top in both categories in independent surveys.
Next up – design. All you have to do is look at any current Hyundai product to see world class interiors and standout style.
Along the way, the emerging giant automaker beefed up its engineering. It has come a long way from building copies of other engines and transmissions to developing its own. Hyundai has subsequently arrived near the front of the industry in hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery electric and hydrogen technology and availability.
Now it’s time for some fun. Welcome to the Hyundai N line of vehicles.
BMW has its M series and Audi has RS. Mercedes-Benz has AMG; Cadillac, the Blackwing series. The notion is to take an existing product, and inject it with a serious dose of performance. Power is paramount. But it can only be part of the package.
Everything else related to performance must be addressed as well – steering, suspension and brakes. To top it off, there have to be some styling cues to make it evident to the knowledgeable that this is a special vehicle.
The Hyundai N performance brand made its debut in December 2013 with the unveiling of Hyundai’s World Rally Championship (WRC) vehicle. A year later, it lured the former head of the BMW M performance division, Albert Biermann, to join the South Korean company as Executive Vice President.
In 2018, Hyundai formed a High-Performance Vehicle & Motorsport Division with Bierman as President. Vice-president of the new division is Thomas Schemera, another BMW alumni. He had been the current head of BMW M after Bierman’s departure.
Obviously Hyundai is taking this whole performance thing seriously!
The first N product to reach North America was the funky little three-door Veloster. It has since been joined by N versions of the Elantra, Sonata and compact Kona crossover.
The Veloster N has a 275-horsepower turbocharged engine paired to an eight-speed dual clutch or six-speed manual transmission. It also comes with larger brakes, a tighter steering rack, electronic limited-slip differential, and adaptive suspension.
The tester came in N-specific Performance Blue paint with the automatic transmission. Red rocker panels and brake calipers, black grill and mirror caps, a giant spoiler and a unique rear valance with cannon-size exhaust outlets serve notice this is a Veloster with attitude.
Soft and sticky summer-only 35-series performance tires are standard equipment. Wrapped thinly around 19-inch alloy wheels, they proved highly unsuited for cold and/or frozen December roads! The upside? Plenty of opportunity to sample the limited slip and traction control system as well as my reflexes!
Those big wheels are necessary to provide room for the large brakes.
On the inside you will find sport seats with hefty bolsters to keep bum and back in place during spirited driving. The blue theme used for N vehicles is evident in several places, including contrasting stitching on the seats.
The digital instrument cluster has a ‘performance’ mode and there is a button on the steering wheel marked NGS. This stands for “N-Grin Shift”. When activated, it results in an overboost function and an extra 10 horsepower and 18 lb. ft. of torque for 20 seconds.
Even without that extra punch from the N-Grin Shift (NGS) overboost function, the Veloster N is a giggle to drive.
Power is plentiful and response all but immediate with a slight delay while the turbo spools up. Using the provided launch control system, the run from rest to 100 km/hr takes a tad over five seconds, and the quarter-mile passes in less than 14 – serious numbers both.
Those giant cannons out back are a constant reminder of the purpose of this vehicle, loud under acceleration and snapping and barking when you lift off. Fun, but the neighbours will probably not appreciate such juvenile noise!
Four drive modes available on the 2022 Hyundai Veloster N, including customizable N-mode
There are four drive modes available – Eco (forget it!), Normal, Sport and N. The latter lets you customize steering weight, adaptive suspension, rev-matching, exhaust note, stability control, limited slip differential, and throttle response to your personal choice.
In either of the last two modes. the dual clutch gearbox slams off shifts with rifle-like immediacy – up or down. You can use the paddle shifters or let the gearbox do its own thing. Normal mode allows a reasonable ride, but those ultra low-profile tires leave little room for absorbing road blemishes.
The 2022 Hyundai Veloster N laps up those S-curves
While it is fun to experience the power of this engine, the true sense of this car’s performance capability becomes evident when the road develops the bends.
Turn-in is instantaneous and feedback excellent thanks to those big, sticky tires, even when hampered by the cold conditions.
If the inside wheel starts to lose traction when powering out of the turn, the limited slip differential does its thing, applying some brake pressure to that wheel and diverting more power to the outside wheel to help you around the corner.
When it comes time to erase some speed, the big brakes and lots of rubber on the road do so most effectively!
The standard navigation and audio systems, operated from the 26-centimetre infotainment screen, have been updated for the 2022 model year. It also contains a performance-data-tracking app.
Inside the 2022 Hyundai Veloster N
The rear seat is accessible from the second door on the passenger side, but best suited for really small passengers who do not suffer from claustrophobia. The rear hatch is small and liftover high, but there is a surprising amount of cargo space.
Standard safety features include collision avoidance detection and assistance, lane keeping assist, blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert.
The Hyundai Veloster N is a thoroughly-engineered small performance car. A true bargain considering its performance and packaging.
FACTS & FIGURES – 2022 Hyundai Veloster N DCT
As tested: $41,324 including freight
Forward collision avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, lane following assist,
Eight-speaker Infinity audio system with satellite radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, 20-cm high re infotainment screen,
19-inch alloy wheels, proximity keyless entry, push button start, limited slip differential, LED headlights, heated front seats and steering wheel, automatic climate control, heated power mirrors, sport bucket seats, cruise control, power windows and locks,
Turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder, 275-horsepower, 260 lb.-ft. of torque, premium fuel. Eight-speed wet dual clutch automatic transmission, front-wheel-drive. NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 12.0/8.6
Length, 4,625 mm; width, 1,810 mm; wheelbase, 2,650 mm; weight, 1,473 kg.
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