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2019 Hyundai Veloster N Long-Term Test Update: Alright, Who Has the Keys?

The Veloster N’s novelty should have worn off by now, but it still thrills.

We've just wrapped up our annual All-Stars testing, and it's hard to believe how a year has passed since the Hyundai Veloster N showed up on our radar. In case you don't remember the story, the Veloster N was a last-minute addition to last year's All-Stars event. Mostly, we added the car to get its noisy minority of cheerleaders among our staff members to zip it—but the Hyundai proved too good to ignore. Hyundai's public-relations team surely flipped out when it saw the Hyundai Veloster N in our winning lineup alongside the Ferrari 812 Superfast, the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, and the McLaren 600LT.

It's too early to reveal our 2020 All-Stars winners, but we can tell you that there wasn't anything quite like the Veloster N, a come-from-behind underdog capable of winning over our skeptical editors through sheer pluck. Luckily, we're not missing out on the scrappy Hyundai's excellence outside of All-Stars evaluations, because we added a Veloster N to our Four Seasons Fleet, and six months and 7,575 miles later it remains a staff favorite—and not just the Automobile staff. We get more requests from our corporate cousins at MotorTrend to borrow the Veloster N than any other long-term test car in our fleet, even our inordinately popular Volvo V90 luxury wagon.

Take Alex Leanse, associate online editor from the MotorTrend crew, who took the car to Topanga Canyon for a little get-to-know-ya: "Sweet octane almighty!" he wrote. "N Mode brings this thing to life and places it on a dynamic level near the Civic Type R. So sharp, so hard, and so addictively fun that, despite the sometimes-abusive ride quality, I found myself making any excuse to keep it in in its sportiest setting. I'm sure I could find a chiropractor with some availability."

Many Four Seasons cars' mileage accrual slows by the six-month mark in our care, but that doesn't seem to be happening with the Hyundai. We have lots of new cars rotating through the office, an important exercise to ensure that our editors can speak fluently about any and every new model on the market. But even on days when our car key box overfloweth with spicy cars on shorter-term loans, the Hyundai always seems to find a partner who wants to take it home for the night. It happens so casually: "Oh, I drove this PorscherarriMW at the launch. I'll just take the Veloster." "Does anyone know where so-and-so parked the Fitzenhammer? Never mind, I'll just take the Veloster." "Fourth Wednesday of the fourth month without an R in the name? I'd better drive the Veloster."

The popularity of the Veloster N even when higher-end metal is available proves two points: First up is the basic goodness of the car, which is painless to drive and always good for a laugh. And second is the basic attraction of a hot hatch: Practical, enjoyable, and featuring three pedals, the left-most of which is not for the parking brake.

It helps that the Veloster is proving to be an exceptionally low-maintenance companion. Thanks to a minor brain fart, we were just over 1,200 miles late for the Veloster's first service. (We thought the N had a 7,500 mile service interval, when in fact the car goes only 6,000 between oil changes. Oops. ). We visited Keyes Hyundai in Van Nuys, California, were we were greeted like heroes—no surprise as we had basically rolled up in the closest thing Hyundai has to a Lamborghini Huracán Evo. We told them our Veloster N was pulling slightly to the right, and they reset the power steering angle and adjusted the toe, which was covered under the 12 month/12,000 mile adjustment warranty. They also reprogrammed the ECM as part of a recall campaign. We paid $132.53 for the synthetic oil change and tire rotation—not the cheapest service we've experienced, but hardly the most expensive. And speaking of economics, our average fuel economy to date is now 22 mpg, a 1.2-mpg increase since our last update.

And so it is that the Veloster N marches bravely into 2020. Will the ongoing theft of our hearts at the hands of this blue-suited hero continue into the new year? Stay tuned to find out.

Our 2019 Hyundai Veloster N
MAINTENANCE 1x Oil change and tire rotation, $132.53
WARRANTY REPAIRS Reset alignment
ENGINE 2.0L turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4; 275 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 260 lb-ft @ 1,450-4,700 rpm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual
LAYOUT 3-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, FWD hatchback
EPA MILEAGE 22/28 mpg (city/hwy)
LxWxH 167.9 x 71.3 x 54.9 in
WHEELBASE 104.3 in
WEIGHT 3,117 lb
0-60 MPH 5.9 sec
TOP SPEED 155 mph
OUR OPTIONS Performance package (+25 hp, electronic limited-slip differential, variable-valve exhaust, 19-inch wheels, Pirelli P Zero tires, larger brakes, lower final-drive ratio, 21mm front anti-roll bar), $2,100