Hyundai Veloster N gets 8-speed dual-clutch automatic for 2021

By Paul Borden

(February 23, 2021) Though the three-door configuration gets a lot of the attention, it is not the only thing that makes the 2021 Hyundai Veloster N a worthy competitor to any compact hatchback coming from its Asian rivals from Japan. With its turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine pumping out 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels, the Veloster N compares very well with much-heralded rivals like Honda’s Civic Type-R when it comes to performance and fun-to-drive quotient.

With the Veloster celebrating its 10th year on the market, the N version is offered with an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission for the first time with the 2021 model, and yes, it obviously has paddle shifters for those desiring manual gear selection. The 6-speed manual will save you $1,500 off the MSRP if you like to exercise your left leg and foot.

Knocking that off the bottom could be a consideration since the 2021 Hyundai Veloster N starts at the high end of the spectrum when it comes to compact hatchbacks. Its starting price is $34,745 including the $995 destination and delivery fee, but it should be noted that the list of standard equipment includes what were features in the optional $2,100 Performance Package last year.

In fact, other than choosing the automatic or manual transmission and the color, you will have no other decisions to make when buying the Veloster N.

Standard equipment includes high level safety features like forward collision assist and blind-spot warning, lane-following and lane-keeping assist, 19-inch allow wheels, Infinity Premium audio, 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, keyless entry with push-button start, N themed accents and style touches, automatic climate control, LED headlights and taillights, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and Hyundai’s Blue Link communications.

I mentioned the three-door configuration earlier. This is not two side doors and counting the rear lift gate as a third door, but three actual passenger doors on the sides.

There are two doors on the right, one on the left, but you don’t really notice the rear door on the right because the handle is incorporated into the casing for the right rear window. This eliminates the a major common complaint regarding access to the back seat via the usual setup for coupes of pulling the back of the front seats forward.

It also has the extra benefit of a slighter bigger driver’s side door, though that can be a disadvantage if you are in a crowded parking lot and the space is cramped. Overall, I consider the wider opening a plus.

It’s an interesting design concept and so far as I am aware the only such asymmetrical vehicle in production today.

Though the interior is not of luxury status and features a lot of hard plastics, it is not all that off-putting. Passenger capacity is listed as four, and the two in the pack will find conditions on the snug side with just 34.1 inches of legroom.

Cargo capacity is adequate at 19.9 cubic feet and 44.5 with the back row seats folded. Other hatchbacks may offer more, but if you are used to a sedan, that’s pretty generous. There is plenty of technological systems among the standard features, and nothing requires a computer generous (or an elementary student) to operate.

All in all, the sporty little car that took the place of the Tiburon in the Hyundai lineup is a very fine choice if you are shopping for a car that would liven up you daily commutes. The size works against it as a family vehicle (unless you are a family of empty-nesters), but an SUV for bigger broods and a Veloster N for fun would be an ideal combination.

What I liked about the 2021 Hyundai Veloster N: This is a very fun car to drive. The  “N” represents Hyundai's performance division, and this Veloster N lives up to expectations, if not exceeds them. The 3-door set up for access to the cabin may seem a bit odd (no pun intended), but it allows for a larger door for the driver while providing easy access to the rear seat. The plentiful infotainment features are very user-friendly.

What I didn’t like about the 2021 Hyundai Veloster N: The fuel economy is not the greatest for its segment (20 miles per gallon city 27 highway, and 22 combined), but you’ve got to sacrifice something for the performance. I did hear one complaint about the vehicle’s comfort, but the sport front seats provide good support for the driver. The N offers a lot in the way of standard equipment, but it gives the Veloster N a high price tag for the class.

Would I buy the 2021 Hyundai Veloster N? Yes. It would be a great vehicle to take something of the drudgery of workday commutes, especially since it now is offered with an automatic transmission.