Hyundai quietly announced a long list of changes to its lineup for 2022, and buried in the announcement was some sad news: that the 2022 Hyundai Veloster would only carry on in its high-performance N form.
Don’t get me wrong, the survival of the N was of paramount importance for those of us who still have a hankering for hot hatches. Whether it comes with the 8-speed dual-clutch or the 6-speed manual transmission, you’ll be hard pressed to find a car that’s a more thrilling drive at its roughly $35,000 price tag with the automatic or even if you go $10k above that.
But the axing of the rest of the Veloster’s trim deprives us of what was in my opinion, the best performance deal in all of automotive: a Veloster Turbo R-Spec with the short-throw 6-speed manual.
That car came with a 201-hp, 1.6-liter turbo-4 making 195 lb-ft of torque, on regular fuel to boot. That was more than enough power to get the rather light Veloster (checking in at under 3,000 pounds) up to speed quickly and the short-throw shifter was an absolute delight. Toss in the thicker front and rear stabilizer bars on the R-Spec, larger front brake rotors, sport-tuned steering, and a set of sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4 Summer tires and you have a legitimate spicy hatchback that would only set you back $24,455.
2021 Hyundai Veloster N
It’s a quirky and imperfect car to be sure. There’s really only comfortable seating for a pair of adults, sightlines aren’t the greatest, and the styling sits somewhere between “it doesn’t bother me too much” and “that thing looks weird.” But as performance cars continue to climb the pricing ladder, having something that’s more accessible to a new generation of drivers looking for some fun behind the wheel is imperative. And the Veloster is just the latest fun vehicle to go missing, as Volkswagen’s newly redesigned Golf will only come in GTI form for 2022 as well.
Hyundai didn’t try to spin the reason for the Veloster’s decline, stating that most of the trims were discontinued “due to (an) expanded SUV lineup that includes Venue and Kona.” But even if Hyundai plans on offering more performance versions of the Kona to offset this loss, it won’t be the same. The Veloster Turbo R-Spec has a special place in my heart that no SUV can fill. Goodbye old friend, you were too good for us.