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2021 Hyundai Veloster N | The most fun you can have under $35k

Written By | Sep 20, 2021

Chattanooga, TN — The 2021 Hyundai Veloster N provides the most fun driving experience you can buy for under $35k. There, I said it and I’ll stick by that statement after spending a week in one for a week on the roads in eastern Tennessee.

Is it silly-looking? Yes. What’s up with that third door thing? Great question, I don’t get it, either. Why not simply get rid of the 3rd door or make it a 4 door? Yes, the Veloster N looks like something only a younger person would buy and for the most part, that’s likely very true. That wing on the rear top part of the roof? Goofy-looking for sure. But all of that seems to disappear once you’re driving it.

Under the hood:

There is a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that powers the Veloster N. It churns out a wheel-spinning 275 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. New for 2021 is the “N” 8-speed dual-clutch automatic and it shifts very fast. So fast in fact that the 0-60 time for this car is rated at 5-seconds – a bit quicker than the models with the manual transmission. Not that it matters much to performance gear-heads, but the EPA rates this car at up to 27 miles per gallon on the highway and 20mpg around town.




The meats it sets on are Pirelli P Zero PZ4 235/35R-19 and it uses 13.6-inch brake calipers for the front brakes and 12.4-inch calipers in the rear. Needless to say, this car nearly stops on a dime. During extended hard driving on curvy roads, we never had any brake fade issues.

It’s exterior styling is very polarizing and that polarization seems to be split down the lines of age groups. Those under 35 will think it’s cool and chic – along the lines of a Honda Civic-R or even a Subaru WRX. To those of us over 40, these cars scream rice-rockets that are wanna-be sports cars. Not to say they aren’t sporty but simply fail to have the masculine features many of us guys want in a true sports car.

So assuming the styling of the Veloster is your jam, you’ll love the N model. The light blue that’s available really does look stellar on this car, especially with some of the accent trim color contrasts. It certainly has a far more aggressive look than the baseline Velosters of yesteryear had.

Inside:

There’s an 8-inch infotainment screen that feeds a great-sounding Infinity premium audio system with seven speakers and subwoofer. Thank God they didn’t go to Bose. It supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and has voice recognition, support for Bluetooth audio and has AM/FM/SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Additionally, it supports Hyundai’s Blue-link smartphone app that allows you to control certain things, like the door locks and climate control from your phone.

Its front manually-adjusted seats are firm and provide stellar support for hard driving. New for this model year is a lit-up N logo near the headrest of the front seats. There’s plenty of legroom up front. However, the cramped back seating area is a different story. It’s not going to be a very comfortable experience for most adults to be in the back for any longer than necessary. It’s not a bad place for those with small kids, however.

Driver aids include lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision avoidance with warning and adaptive cruise control. Like all Hyundai vehicles, the 2021 Veloster N has an industry-leading 10year/100,000 mile warranty on the powertrain and as of press time this car has not yet been tested for a safety rating from the NHTSA.

Let’s drive it:

Throw this car into N driving mode and leave it. You’ll hear the exhaust get louder and exhibit some great-sounding pops during downshifts. The steering gets a big heaver and that already stiff suspension gets even more unforgiving in its punishment of a hard ride. It beckons you to take it to the track or find a lonely road with nobody around and push it, hard. As it slams through the gears and does rev-matching on its downshifts, you’ll likely forget that you’re driving a “rice rocket” and in a full-blown sports car. Lack of masculine styling be damned, the Veloster N delivers a hair-raising experience like we have in the MX-5 Miata but with the power we crave and lust for.



Sure it’s front-wheel drive and we could make a strong case for making this car in an all-wheel-drive variant, but you’ll soon forget that. There’s almost no understeer – the car has no issues in going the direction you steer it to go.

I stand by my claim, there is not a more fun car to drive for under $35k. Test drive one, you’ll see.

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Duane Pemberton

Duane Pemberton is a lifestyle writer and CDNs Auto Editor. Pemberton loves anything that helps bring people together which is why he writes about food, wine, cars, and travel.