Don’t worry, you’re still going to be able to buy a 2021 Hyundai Veloster N with a stick. But now you can now also spec a dual-clutch auto with “N Grin Shift” which, apparently, lets you bump the turbo boost momentarily for a little surge of speed. Sounds fun.
The car’s moving upmarket with more than just an automatic transmission. Seats with illuminated logos(!), a bigger standard infotainment screen, and a generous suite of standard driver safety features are in the mix. Plus, the “performance pack” tune that adds 25 horsepower is now the car’s baseline.
Launching the Veloster N exclusively with a manual transmission was a bold move commercially since, of course, many Americans and potential customers can’t drive stick. (You’re missing out!) But I think it’s going to pay off for Hyundai.
The car was universally loved by test pilots, myself included, partially because a manual transmission goes a long way to making a sport compact car fun to drive. Now Hyundai’s got a heap of glowing reviews, including Road & Track’s Performance Car Of The Year, to entice buyers and an automatic option to sell people who don’t want to learn three-pedal footwork.
But the DCT’s still gotta be good. Honda has yet to offer an automatic in the Civic Si or Type R because it understands that the manual shifting experience is critical to the personality of these cars. Well, the CTR has enough HP that it’d probably still be good with a great automatic. But I don’t think Honda really has an automatic that could be both cheap and fun enough to make sense in the ever-popular Civic Si.
Hyundai, on the other hand, might not have that problem. I still remember being shocked at how much fun the Kia Soul’s DCT felt and that car was barely optimized for spirited driving. I have faith that the Veloster N DCT will be good, though I’m compelled to add that I’d never spec it while a traditional manual was on the table.
Here are some details about this transmission that Hyundai published in a release today:
N Eight-speed Wet Dual-clutch Transmission
Hyundai developed the N DCT with manual or fully-automatic modes and eight speeds for improved acceleration and efficiency. N DCT is equipped with electronic actuators that operate the dual clutch, providing ride comfort, fuel efficiency and driving fun. Unlike a dry dual-clutch transmission, the wet N DCT uses oil to significantly improve lubrication and cooling performance, as required of higher-torque applications. The new N wet-type dual-clutch transmission uses an electric oil pump for increased thermal endurance and reduced direct parasitic drag on the powertrain. The N DCT was fully-developed in-house by N engineers, with a fun-to-drive tuning focus.
N DCT Engineering
The Veloster N DCT transmission employs two clutch assemblies, one for odd gears and one for even and reverse gears. The clutch actuator assembly utilizes a lightweight electric motor-driven system for greater efficiency, optimized shift response and compact packaging. It also deploys an external damper for improved NVH (noise, vibration and harshness). The DCT uses an electromechanical gear actuator, yielding a lightweight design, higher fuel efficiency and precise shifting control via the engine’s electronic control unit. The DCT gearing assembly uses hollow input shafts for an ultra-lightweight and extremely responsive shifting character.
N Grin Shift
The N DCT even comes with game-like features that enhance driving fun. N Grin Shift (NGS) increases peak torque by seven percent from 260 lb.-ft. to 278 lb.-ft. by allowing temporary turbocharger over-boost and maximizing transmission response. When activated, the N Grin Shift mode causes the powertrain to shift to its sportiest program for up to 20 seconds (such as for passing). Further, transmission customization settings are now available in the “Custom” screen mode.
Race-like Manual Shift Logic
This fun-to-drive tuning target is further enhanced via an aggressive shift feel that is accentuated by “push” actuation. Under braking, with the driver resisting forward g-forces, lower gears are selected with an ergonomic forward push of the gear selector. Conversely, under the rearward g-forces of acceleration, higher gears are selected via a natural, rearward pull of the lever.
N Power Shift and N Track Sense Shift
N Power Shift (NPS) engages when the car accelerates with more than 90 percent throttle demand, mitigating torque reduction by using upshifts to deliver maximum power to the wheels through each gear change. This gives the driver a responsive feeling of dynamic acceleration when shifting, with a factory-estimated zero to 60 mph time of 5.6 seconds. N Track Sense Shift (NTS) discerns when road conditions are optimal for dynamic driving and activates automatically, selecting the right gear and shift timing for optimal performance.
Whoa, Power Shift! Grin Shift!! Track Sense Shift!!! Hyundai sure... felt compelled to name things. But if it translates to a good driving experience, I don’t mind that the car’s brochure reads like a comic book. (Who am I kidding, I have a giant parrot painted on the hood of my car, I love this shit.)
For the more mature set, you may be interested to know that the safety features now baked into ever Veloster N include: “Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Following Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist and Rear Cross-traffic Collision Warning.”
The lit-up logo seats, which are a thing, apparently also save 4.4 pounds over the old ones so that’s cool.
Pricing updates are TBD but the 2021 Veloster N is supposed to be in Hyundai stores come October. I would guess the dropping of the “standard package” 250 horsepower variant means base price will be closer to $30,000, but we’ll see!