In price and straight-line performance, the 275-hp Veloster N Performance package squeezes into the space between the Honda Civic Si and the Type R. While this doesn’t make our jobs any easier, the roughly $30,000 N does carve out an intriguing niche. Keeping with the long-standing Hyundai tradition, the Veloster N packs big value into a tidy package, and this ability to punch above its weight class is why we put it up against the top-hole Civic. What’s different with this one, though, is the N’s very un-Hyundai-like driving experience.
Strip the Type R from the picture and the N’s track numbers are at the head of the front-drive hot-hatch class. The scramble to 60 mph takes just 5.2 seconds. With 235/35R-19 Pirelli P Zero PZ4 tires wrangling just 3077 pounds of Veloster, the N corners and stops deliberately. Grip registers at 0.97 g around the skidpad, and a stop from 70 mph requires but 154 feet.
The N steers clearly, turns in quickly, and balances nicely. The engine’s 260 pound-feet of torque, available from 1450 rpm, yanks the car off the line with an urgency that doesn’t abate until the 6750-rpm redline. A deep thrum emanates from the turbo four-cylinder in the same key as a VW GTI’s, while the active exhaust system turns any road into a firing range of pops and cracks.
Compared with the Honda’s three driving modes, the Hyundai’s five-mode system offers authority over more variables and with greater bandwidth. The N Custom mode allows the driver to pick a just-right blend of throttle response, damping, steering weight, rev matching, stability control, and exhaust note. Our preferred winding-road setup dials in everything save for the suspension to its most aggressive position, but there’s just as much value in the ability to relax every option for a long highway run or the daily rush-hour slog.
Push the Veloster N outside its comfort zone, though, and you’ll find some rough edges. The steering occasionally unweights in tight corners at the limit. The light shifter doesn’t snap into position with the crispness expected of a hot hatch, feeling cheap and insubstantial compared with the Honda’s stick. The Veloster has less polish in its damping than the Civic, and its wheels are more prone to banging over potholes. Less body control also means the N is more likely to waver across mid-corner bumps. When the Triple Nickel (Ohio State Route 555) turns malevolent, the N can’t keep up with the fast camber changes, the scarred pavement, and the blind crests in the middle of a kink the way the Civic does.
We also observed significant brake-pad knockback after hammering the Veloster around long interchange sweepers, a situation that presents the driver with a disconcertingly soft pedal the next time he needs the brakes.
Some might find the Veloster N easier to live with (and be seen in) on a daily basis than the Type R. The N’s wider, lightly bolstered front seats fit more body shapes and are easier to slide in and out of than the R’s. And Hyundai’s no-nonsense infotainment and climate controls are among the most intuitive in the business.
At 11.5 inches shorter than the Civic, the Veloster is snugger aft of the front seats. Adults can do short stints in the rear, but they won’t have the all-day comfort offered by the roomier Civic. And then there’s the matter of the three-door Veloster’s unusual apertures. Rear-seat occupants have to scuttle through the passenger’s-side rear door or else climb over the driver’s seatback, coupe style. To feed anything into the deep and wide cargo hold means you’ll first have to lift it through the tall and narrow hatch opening.
The Veloster N is a great hot hatch, and it marks an admirable freshman effort from Hyundai’s budding performance division. The notion of what a sporty Hyundai can and should be has come a long way from the Tiburon and the Genesis coupe. The work’s not done yet, though.
Source. MSN Philippines News