Everyone loves the Veloster N. For about $32,000, Hyundai’s funky hot hatch, oftentimes powder-blue, offers a relatively inexpensive ticket to driving joy. You get a 275-horsepower, 2.0-liter inline-four, a lovely sounding exhaust and delightful handling thanks to a nifty electronically controlled limited-slip differential. It’s got it all.
Less celebrated is the humble not-N Veloster, which Hyundai’s website still lists for a starting price of $18,900. In Canada, you actually can’t buy such a Veloster anymore — our friends to the north can choose only the spicier Veloster N. Which is why CarsDirect’s discovery that Hyundai is no longer offering incentives on the regular Veloster in the U.S. seems quite foreboding:
As of April 1, Hyundai is no longer offering any rebates, APR deals, or lease incentives on the standard Veloster, though there are offers on the sportier Veloster N. Instead, Hyundai is offering a special type of manufacturer incentive known as Final Pay money meant to help dealers clear the last remaining models off their lots.
To help put this into perspective, Hyundai is continuing to offer Final Pay money on the 2020 Kona, a crossover SUV that our analysis finds sold out last November. A closer look finds that regular incentives on the Veloster ended on March 31. There’s also the fact that Velosters are almost impossible to find in stock at dealers.
CarsDirect says of the “roughly 200” Velosters it found for sale across Hyundai’s nationwide inventory, many were Veloster Ns. The assumption is that the manufacturer has decided to retire the Veloster and Veloster Turbo after merely three years on sale. We’ve reached out to Hyundai to determine if that is indeed the plan, though we don’t suggest holding your breath for a confirmation.
None of this would be especially surprising. The lower-end Velosters always kind of felt like the first act of a play that wouldn’t truly get rolling until the Veloster N’s arrival. Our Justin Westbrook reviewed the second-gen Veloster Turbo almost three years ago, before anyone knew how good the N would be. Reading the excerpt of his thoughts below presents a clear case for why Hyundai might be best served keeping the range-topping hatch around while ditching the others:
Driving the Veloster was pleasant, but even Hyundai stops short of calling anything under the N model sporty. It’s stylistically aggressive, but the actual performance is only a very mild heat on the current Turbo cars.
I think the problem is peak torque of 195 lb-ft kicking in at just 1,500 rpm, which Hyundai tries to sell as a positive since it gives you everything it’s got early, but it clashes with the presence of the six-speed manual. You get in thinking you’re going to enjoy revving through the gears with a nice gradual line of increasing power, or at least the feeling of it, but anything above second lacks a punch and the initial excitement of the torque quickly fades.
Those who want a sporty looking compact — though not necessarily a sporty driving one — might be happy enough choosing a Venue or Kona instead of a base Veloster or Turbo variant. But those who really want the performance of the Veloster N are likely a bit more discerning on account of the fact there aren’t many similarly-priced cars that can do what it can for sale any more in North America. We’ll be curious to see to what degree the incoming Kona N cannibalizes its sales.