When Hyundai first entered the U.S. market in the early 1990s, it championed value for money. Over the next decade, the focus was shifted to improving the quality of its offerings. Lately, we’ve seen the company’s design language flourish into recognizable, attractive models. And with the introduction of the 2019 Veloster N, we begin the next chapter of Hyundai’s brand progression. Built to compete directly with the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Focus ST, and Honda Civic Type R, the Veloster N will pioneer Hyundai’s dedicated performance vehicles in America.
Changing its “budget brand” perception has been a slow, arduous process, but the rollout of exciting, fun to drive cars could finally banish that stigma. Our first crack at the Veloster N took place in Willows, California — home to one of the toughest tracks in North America. A torture test at Thunderhill Raceway, a smile test on a nearby autocross course, and a livability test on surrounding roads should tell us everything we need to know about Hyundai’s performance ambitions.