Is Hyundai’s new hot hatch more expensive than it should be?

The Hyundai Veloster N is one of the most capable hot hatchbacks on the market, and it’s about to be even more capable. The 2021 Veloster N features a higher output, a new dual-clutch transmission, and a plethora of new standard equipment - a lot of which were classified as options in earlier models. Does this shift in standard equipment and improved output justify a significantly higher price tag, though?

Is the Hyundai Veloster N a good hot hatch?

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Hyundai’s first foray into one of the most competitive segments in the entire auto industry was a resounding success.

The automaker promised an electrifying — not the sort that you think — debut, and the Veloster N lived up to the hype.

Hyundai’s decision to throw gobs of money at the feet of Albert Biermann — he’s the former boss of BMW’s M division — paid off as the Veloster N was deemed a hot hatch that could rumble with the segment’s legacy models. The success of the 2020 Veloster N, however, also raised expectations for an even better follow-up. The 2021 Veloster N has to be better than its predecessor, and from the looks of it, Hyundai’s N division was up for the job.

Some improvements for the 2021 Veloster N involved turning previously optional pieces and features from last year’s model to standard equipment, That might not sound like a big deal for those who could afford those options before, but it’s no less gratifying knowing that a lot of them are now standard in the 2021MY.

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Take the Performance Package, for example. This package cost $2,100 last year, and among the items included was a bump in power from the stock 250-horsepower output of the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine to 275 ponies. This year, that same engine produces 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. In addition to the bump in output, the 19-inch wheels, larger brakes, and the electronically controlled limited-slip differential are now standard in the 2021 model. The new Veloster N is also equipped with an eight-speed wet dual-clutch transmission, ensuring that customers can choose between the new gearbox and the existing six-speed manual. Sure, the latter is the more natural gearbox for those inclined to enjoy the hatch to its limit, but that there’s a choice now is a step in the right direction.

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New sport seats are a welcome addition, and they weigh 4.4 pounds less than the previous seats.

The hot hatch’s eight-inch infotainment display is now standard, too, as is a suite of driver assistance systems that include forward collision-avoidance assist, lane following assist, lane-keeping assist, driver attention warning, blind spot collision-avoidance assist, and rear cross-traffic collision warning.

Taking into account these additions, upgrades, and inclusions, it’s within Hyundai’s right to raise the price of the 2021 Veloster N. That’s not the issue, though. The issue is whether the automaker raised it higher than it probably should have.

How much is the 2021 Hyundai Veloster N?

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According to Cars Direct, the 2021 Hyundai Veloster N will start at $33,245, including the $995 destination charge.

Do the math and that figure is $4,670 higher than the $28,575 starting price of the 2020 Hyundai Veloster N.

Mind you, we’re talking about base prices. It’s only going up if you splurge on options, the most important of which is the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Opt for that setup and an additional $1,500 will be tacked into your receipt, raising the hot hatch’s price to $34,745.

On one hand, there is some justification for the increased starting price of the Veloster N. One is the Performance Package, or what used to be a package in the 2020MY Veloster N. The entire content of that package is standard on the 2021 model. That includes the 275-horsepower output, the set of 19-inch wheels, the bigger brakes, the limited-slip differential, and the assortment of driver assistance safety features. Bolstered seats with illuminated N logos and an eight-inch touchscreen with a navigation system also adds to a compelling list of “new” standard pieces in the Veloster N.

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On the other hand, the price bump does move the Hyundai hot hatch up the pricing ladder relative to the competition.

In base form, the 2021 Veloster N is now more expensive than the base Volkswagen Golf GTI S, which starts at $29,690.

The DCT-equipped Veloster N is also more than $4,000 more expensive than a 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI S with its own DSG transmission. The latter starts at $30,490.

This is the reality that a lot of prospective hot hatch owners have to navigate. Is the upstart Hyundai that exciting to justify a price tag that makes it one of the most expensive hot hatch models in the market? Or is a Volkswagen Golf GTI S more of a bargain now? There’s a scenario where, even with all these additions and added equipment, Hyundai priced the 2021 Veloster N higher than it probably should’ve. Of course, we won’t know if the hot hatch justifies the price hike until we take one out for a spin, but would-be buyers will have to make a difficult decision on which hot hatch suits their money and taste better.

Or they could just splurge and spend north of $40,000 on a 2021 Honda Civic Type R. That’ll answer all these questions.

Source: Cars Direct

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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