When at First You Don’t Succeed… – 2019 Hyundai Veloster N Preview


21 Jan
21Jan

What do you do when a cool name and some funky doors don’t sell your car to the masses first time round? Try it a second time! Today Stelvio Automotive previews the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N and yes, it still has the funky doors. 

By Sean Smith

The Hyundai Veloster was the Korean giant’s answer to the Volkswagen Scirocco. It had coupe/hatchback styling which was proving so popular with the Scirocco. It sported a new raft of engines, a refreshed interior and the two best features: a name which almost sounded like Velociraptor (a clear marketing ploy to Hyundai’s Jurassic Park fan customer base) and a 1+2 door layout.

The doors are nothing short of awesome and are a genuinely clever and brilliant idea on a car of this type. On the driver’s side there is one door, just like the VW Scirocco and almost all coupes that have ever been, and there are two doors on the passenger side. This idea allows the passengers to get in and out of the car, even if they’re getting in the back, with the same ease as any four door car.

It allows for the rare occasions that you’re taking two passengers to pass by without anyone clambering over your seats with their muddy shoes on, knocking off bits of trim and scratching your roof while looking like a prat. Instead, they open their own door and get in, done.

For the driver who only ever has to get in on the driver's side and generally speaking never has to look at the passenger side of the car, it looks and acts just like a coupe should. There is one door with one handle inviting you into your sports car, making it better looking and making you look awesome.

The first Veloster (all above), however, was by no means a sales success. Sure, you’ll see one every so often, but by and large it was a flop. The car was expensive, it didn’t have nearly enough power and the Scirocco was generally reviewed as the better car which, for the people looking into the Veloster, would have probably swung their vote to the Germans.

Hyundai pulled the Veloster from sale in 2014 in the UK and by the end of 2016 it was no longer on sale even in markets it had sold quite well in such as the USA.  However, this week at the Detroit Motor Show, Hyundai revealed a brand new Veloster (below). More powerful, a better chassis and still with the awesome door layout, the new car will be looking at righting its reputation and giving Volkswagen a massively black eye.

The new Veloster and Veloster N (which is the super-hot version) comes at a time where Hyundai are much more prominent in the sports car market. Back in 2011, when the first Veloster came out, Hyundai still had its ‘cheap’ badge attached to it. Its only sporty car beforehand had been the Coupe which was loved but wasn’t by any stretch a mainstream car. Since then Hyundai have been competing in the WRC as a front runner and it has made hot versions of its standard cars such as the i20 and especially the i30.

The recent i30 N is where the new Veloster N gets its engine and chassis tuning from ex-BMW M-division engineer Albert Biermann who has made it his single aim to turn hot Hyundais into a force to surpass its opposition. The i30 N was given raving reviews last year and if the same magic has been turned to the Veloster, a far superior car to begin with, Hyundai could have one of the best hot hatches (and/or) coupes ever produced.

Hyundai are not making the mistake they made with the first Veloster when it comes to power across the range. The basic car will have 144bhp which, as an owner of a 140bhp Toyota Celica, I can confirm is more than enough for most people to enjoy a fast car. Hyundai will also have a 200bhp variant as well as the N which will have a huge 271bhp, 70 more than the most powerful Gen 1 Veloster.

In terms of speed this is where the N will get interesting. The old Veloster Turbo could manage 0 to 60 in about 8 seconds with only 201bhp, the i30 N can do it in 6.4 seconds with a top speed of 154 mph. You can imagine the Veloster N will be at least equally as fast, but with a newer, even more refined, gearbox, electronics, chassis and aerodynamics it could push 160mph and the 6 second 0 to 60 mark.

The Veloster N will be arriving in America in 2019 once Hyundai have finished polishing its performance, testing the car's limits and preparing its factories for its arrival. 

There is currently no news as to if it will appear in the UK or Europe. It’s possible it will not arrive straight away especially with the i30 N already here and the relative failure of the first Veloster fresh in Hyundai’s mind.

That said, it would be surprising for the car not to be available in some form as Hyundai continue to push their motorsports and change their public image as a manufacturer who wish to challenge VW, BMW, Peugeot, Toyota and other big name manufacturers in all areas.

Only time will tell if the Veloster will be the success the first one was planned to be. While we wait in the meantime, I’m going to watch Jurassic Park because Velociraptors are awesome and so is this car.