July 24, 2021


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2021 Hyundai Veloster N DCT review: Rowdy, raucous and really damn good

The Hyundai Veloster N is one of my favorite cars on sale today. It’s exactly the kind of sporty car I love — not the most well-rounded in its class, but easily the most fun and memorable. For 2021 the Veloster N gets a new transmission option in the form of an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. The Veloster’s quirky three-door body style and previously manual-only setup made it a super niche product. But friends, I’m happy to report that not only does the new DCT not ruin the Veloster N’s fun, I actually think it’s the transmission to get.

For 2021 the N’s previously optional $2,100 Performance Package is now standard, meaning every Veloster N gets 275 horsepower (up from 250 on the old base car), an electronic limited-slip differential, larger brake discs, 19-inch wheels with Pirelli P-Zero summer tires, and an incredibly loud, crackly exhaust. This is all great news.

The Veloster N’s turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four also makes 260 pound-feet of torque, with peak twist arriving between 1,450 and 4,700 rpm. With the DCT Hyundai says the Veloster N will zip to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, a couple tenths quicker than with the manual, and it feels even quicker than that. There’s noticeable turbo lag at low speeds in some situations, but that just means you get to hear the turbo spool up and make fun wooshing noises.

Those P-Zeroes and the e-LSD give the Veloster N an insane amount of grip, and it’s an absolute hoot on a good canyon road. The steering is quick and has a ton of feel for a modern electric system, and the whole chassis setup instills confidence. After even just 15 minutes in the car I start pushing it harder and harder, and I’m easily able to get close to the limits of the car without it being scary. On the flip side, there’s not a ton of traction if you aren’t gentle with the throttle off the line, resulting in some hilarious wheel spin akin to a little terrier trying to take off on a hardwood floor. The N’s ride can also be very harsh even with the suspension in Comfort mode, but it mellows out on the highway. 

The DCT is the transmission you want

Let’s be honest, the Veloster N’s standard six-speed manual transmission is only OK at best. It’s certainly not the worst manual out there, but I wish the clutch pedal felt better, that the shifter’s throw was shorter and that it just felt tighter overall. Up against the near perfection of the Honda Civic Type R’s manual (or a Mazda Miata’s), the Veloster N just can’t compete. Thankfully, the $1,500 DCT is perfectly suited to this hot hatch.

Read more: https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/reviews/2021-hyundai-veloster-n-review/