2021 Hyundai Veloster N: Performance Standard, Automatic Optional

Competes with: Honda Civic Si, Honda Civic Type R, Volkswagen GTI, Volkswagen Golf R

Looks like: A 2020 Veloster N; nearly all updates are inside or under the skin

Powertrain: 275-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine; six-speed manual transmission or new eight-speed wet dual-clutch automatic transmission; front-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: October

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatch is our reigning Most Fun-to-Drive Car of the Year, and for the 2021 model year it’s gaining extra standard performance and safety features and — for the first time in its production history — an optional automatic transmission. While the big changes happen under the hood and under the skin, exterior and interior updates are minor, not unexpected for a car in only its third model year.

Related: 2020 Most Fun-to-Drive Car of the Year


Exterior updates for 2021 are limited mostly to an exterior color change, with a new gray paint color replacing Chalk White beginning with models produced in November. (Find out who’s a real Veloster N nut by watching to see if anyone notices that detail.) Other than the paint color, the Veloster N is the same aggressive-looking three-door hatchback with the extra aero bits that signify it’s the higher-performance N.


Besides the obvious potential addition of an automatic gear selector, the interior of the Veloster N also remains much the same for 2021, though optional N Light sport seats are another subtle signifier that you’re looking at a 2021 model and not a 2020. These lighter — and light-up — sport seats save 4.4 pounds of weight compared with the standard front seats, are upholstered in cloth and leatherette, and feature an N logo in the upper portion of the backrest that illuminates with the other interior lighting elements. An 8.0-inch touchscreen display is now standard equipment, as well.

Engine, Transmission and 0-60 MPH

Here are the significant updates, starting with the turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Previously, the Veloster N was available with an optional Performance Package that added 25 additional horsepower to the 250 produced by the base engine, while the torque output remained the same at 260 pounds-feet. For 2021, that feature is now standard, meaning all 2021 Veloster Ns produce 275 hp. The Performance Package also added things like quicker steering, larger brakes and an electronic limited-slip differential. Summer performance tires will also be standard and, according to Hyundai, all-season tires would be a dealership option.

The Veloster N comes with a few additional tricks up its sleeve, as well. For starters, there’s the N Grin Shift feature, which changes the shift pattern and uses turbocharger overboost to up the torque output to 278 pounds-feet for up to 20 seconds, allowing for temporarily enhanced performance. There’s also a launch control feature for quicker starts from a stop.

The N Power Shift feature engages under at least 90% throttle and adjusts transmission behavior in order to maximize torque delivery to the wheels. N Track Shift senses when conditions are “optimal for dynamic driving” and alters gear selection and shift timing for greater performance.

Drivers will also have the opportunity to set up their Veloster N’s transmission behavior to their personal preferences via custom settings, as well as adjusting the engine, steering and suspension settings, and more.

With the optional eight-speed wet dual-clutch automatic, Hyundai estimates a 0-60-mph time of 5.6 seconds for the auto Veloster N — though 0-60 isn’t the only measure of performance, as we’ve found the Veloster N to be even more of a delight when not traveling in a straight line.


Safety features may not be the first consideration when shopping for a performance car like the Veloster N, but Hyundai is still updating those for 2021. Every 2021 Veloster N will now include forward collision avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, the semi-autonomous lane-following assist, blind spot collision avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist and a driver attention monitor.

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Pricing and Release Date

Hyundai hasn’t yet announced pricing for the 2021 Veloster N, but expects it to arrive at dealerships in October.

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