Remember what Grandma told you about not judging books by their covers? That applies to cars and their styling. Case in point, the 2020 Hyundai Veloster N. The Veloster is, at first glance, an oddly-proportioned hatchback with three doors---two on the passenger side and one on the driver's side. It's been around since 2012, but was all-new, with somewhat smoother styling, for 2019.
The secret to the Veloster is that it's a blast to drive---even in its base trim, with a starting price of $16,600, the handling of this car is its strong suit. But what I drove for a week and what we're talking about here is the 2020 Hyundai Veloster N. It's the first of a series of specially badged performance vehicles from Hyundai. BMW has "M". Hyundai has "N". They chose "N" because it is the first letter of Namyang, where Hyundai's global research and development facilities are located, and because it's the first letter in Nurburgring, the famed race track in Germany where all "N" models are tested and further developed.
For an insanely reasonable $27,400 base price, the 2020 Hyundai Veloster N packs a 250-horsepower two-liter twin-turbo four cylinder engine into that body. The transmission is a six-speed manual. It has rack-mounted motor driven power steering, N-exclusive electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, the cleverly-named N Grin Control system (giving you a choice of performance drive modes---Normal, Eco, Sport, N and N Custom), torque vectoring control, N Power Sense axle, 13 inch front brake rotors and 11.8-inch rears.
There's also an electronically-controlled suspension with five G-force sensors, underbody structural reinforcements, 18 inch alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot summer tires, LED headlights and taillights, gloss black mirrors and turn signal indicators, and a two-stage rear spoiler with an integrated third brake light.
Add an extra $2,100 for the Performance Package and that jumps to 275 horsepower. Zero to 60 happens in about five and a half seconds, which is crazy fast for this size class and this price tag. And despite the huge power-to-weight ratio, fuel economy is surprisingly good---an EPA-estimated 22 city/29 highway.
That extra $2,100 also buys an upgrade to 19-inch alloy wheels, Pirelli P Zero summer tires, a limited-slip differential with electronic control, a variable exhaust system and performance brakes---13.6 inch rotors in the front, 12.4 inches in the rear.
Lest you think this is a stripped-down hatchback that put all the money into performance parts, here's what else comes standard:
- Rearview camera with dynamic guidelines.
- Infinity premium audio system with eight speakers including subwoofer.
- AM/FM/SiriusXM display audio system (90 day trial of SiriusXM Satellite Radio).
- N Exclusive front sport seats.
- N Exclusive leather-wrapped steering wheel.
- N Exclusive gauge cluster with LED shift timing indicator.
- N Exclusive proximity key with pushbutton start.
- N Exclusive floormats.
- Automatic temperature control with automatic de-fogging.
- BlueLink connected services and remote access.
Apart from the $2,100 for the Performance Package (I know it's an extra-cost option, but why wouldn't you?), everything's standard. So, with $930 inland freight and handling, the bottom line on the window sticker reads $30,430.
This is the performance value of the year, maybe the decade (yes, I know it's still early for both). But trust me on this. Drive a Veloster N and you're going to need that grin control.