Hyundai Veloster N
|Rating: 9 / 10|
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|The interior: It's actually roomier than expected. The space in the front and back seats are decent, and could actually work for the 2 kid seats in the back. The salesman actually had a kid seat in his Veloster N, so that's a pleasant surprise. It is a 4 seater though, so that's a bit of a bummer. And it's actually a 3-door setup, with 2 doors on the passenger side and one longer door on the driver's side. This is actually a pleasant surprise, since going into it I thought it was a 2-door (again, minimal research going into this one, and the 3rd door is pretty subtle). The trunk surprisingly large, but has a higher lip and therefore highter lift height than most of the other hot-hatches on the market. The seats are cloth, with no upgrade option, but are comfortable enough. People complain about a "cheap" feeling, but I think it's perfectly adequate.|
Driving: Excellent. It absolutely lives up to the hype. The shifter has a great resistance to it, that really makes you feel like you're working for it, and is very satisfying to shift. The clutch has just the right amount spring to it, and the grab is good. The driving experience is extremely customization, from sound to LSD to rev-matching to suspension. Everything is customization, and there's a giant "N" button right on the steering wheel to switch into your custom mode quickly. There's also a giant button on the steering wheel for turning rev-matching on and off for anyone who would rather heel-toe it themselves. All-in-all, the car is just fun to drive. Of everything I've driven, this is the only one I've gotten out of and thought "I need to get better at driving THIS car." It's that fun, and I can only imagine how much fun it would be as I continue to learn.
The tech: Minimal safety / driver assist tech, so you will have to pay attention while you're driving. Unfortunate, I know. Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, bluetooth, backup cam, and upgraded Harmon/Kardon sound system. That checks all of my boxes.
The value: Dealers are jacking the prices up on these, but this one is just over $30k, which isn't crazy for this segment. I think it's a solid value for 275 hp, 260 lb-ft of torque, an LSD, and an overall excellent driving experience. They also have a 100k mile warranty that is mod-friendly. It can take 87 octane gas, but you'll want to put premium in. And if you drive it hard, you're looking at low 20s for mpg. It definitely seems like a pretty good value to me.
I know that some dealers are refusing test drives, and many are jacking the prices way up these cars, but hopefully that's all starting to die down. My dealership experience was not great up until the drive either, but after that, everything was smooth. They were low-pressure when I told them I wasn't ready to buy yet, and the sales manager told me to come back and drive it again if I wanted.
The 4-seats, high lift height, and 3 door configuration were just too impractical for me, but it took me a very long time to decide that practicality should probably win out here. My kids can't get in and out by themselves yet, we haven't made a decision yet on having a 3rd, and I really don't think the dog is going to be able to get in the back.
The driving experience is excellent, and it's absolutely worth a drive. The Civic Type R may be the hot hatch king right now, but I think this is the more fun car and you save about $7-8k. If there's one nearby, drive it.
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