But there’s enthusiasm aplenty, as well. Like its i30 sister the Veloster N produces a fair amount of torque steer – it never feels wayward, but there’s no doubting the work that front tyres and suspension have to put in to deliver the boosty motor’s output over rougher surfaces. Grip levels are keen, the limited slip differential delivers plenty of front-end bite in slower, loaded turns and the Veloster proved willing to take an impressive amount of directional advice from the throttle pedal – the rear end neutralising cleanly or even being persuaded into some tidy oversteer.
The shift action for the six-speed manual gearbox is accurate, although a high-biting clutch in my test car made smooth low-speed progress difficult. The brake pedal felt a little rubbery at the top of its travel, as well – although there were no complaints about the retardation from the beefy discs.
Given its back-to-basics mission it would be churlish to complain about the N’s firm ride. Even with the switchable dampers in their gentlest setting the chassis only just stayed on the right side of harsh when exposed to some of rural Michigan’s rougher surfaces. Smooth Tarmac is necessary to engage the sportier modes without wincing. A fair amount of road noise reaches the cabin at cruising speeds and, as with the standard car, interior plastics feel low-rent and smell slightly cheap; less forgivable in a car that carries a 50% supplement over the base version in the States.
The Veloster’s strange, asymmetric three-door layout still seems to be a response to an unasked question with little obvious practicality: the Veloster remains a slightly lumpy coupe on one side and a cramped-looking hatchback on the other.
Should I buy one?
It’s hard to see the logic in Hyundai’s decision not to bring the Veloster N here, or indeed the rationale behind denying the i30N to the US. Both cars seem different enough not to tread on each other’s toes, and indeed both were developed together with the heavy involvement of Hyundai’s Nurburgring testing facility.
Although the Veloster N’s appeal would likely be more limited than its hatchback sister, it still offers an appealing if less practical package. It’s a fun, honest and quirky car that offers American buyers plenty of bang for their bucks; it’s just a shame we can’t buy those thrills for pounds as well.
Hyundai Veloster N Performance specification
Where Michigan, USA Price na (£29,885) On sale na Engine 1998cc, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol Power 271bhp at 6000rpm Torque 260lb ft at 1450rpm Gearbox 6-spd manual Kerb weight 1380kg Top speed 155mph 0-62mph 5.9sec (est) Fuel economy na CO2 na Rivals Audi TT 1.8 TFSI Sport, BMW 220i Sport