Hyundai might not necessarily be a motoring manufacturer that readily comes to mind if you’re thinking of outrageously sporty vehicles. This, though, is not a view that is likely to linger if the new Veloster, Kona and Elantra N models are anything to go by.
These vehicles have arrived in the Middle East and Africa regions, and, while being designed to be useable as everyday road cars, there is more than a nod towards extreme fun as well. Hyundai’s N models are all about high performance and these three have that in abundance.
Basically, as the manufacturer tells us, “all N models have sportier exteriors, enhanced powertrains, track-ready suspension and exhaust notes”.
In case you’re wondering, the N stands for Namyang, which is the company’s research and development centre in South Korea. It also apparently references the Nurburgring track, with the shape of the logo being inspired by the German circuit’s curves.
The trio under the spotlight here give a good indication of what is on offer from the N series. Each has plenty of power under the bonnet, but there are differences in the ride experience.
As such, the vehicles are likely to appeal to a different clientele. The Elantra is a sound midsize sedan, the Kona an appealing hot hatch and the Veloster an even more compact, three-door version of its middle sibling. Plenty of choice there.
The interior of all three is minimalist, but that seems to fit in with the whole N philosophy.
One constant between the vehicles, though (aside from all sharing the same engine), is that there is joy a-plenty when you get behind the wheel and put your foot down.
Dubai Autodrome has some twisting corners that you get into after leaving the main straight, and while the thrills of a heads-down-and-charge tear down the longest part of the track isn’t without jollity, it’s the breaking into and tearing out of the curves that gives the most satisfaction.
These cars do this with ease and, while the grip is impressive, putting the power on early and coming out with the tyres wailing in a suitably discordant fashion is nothing short of uplifting.
This is what Hyundai refers to as the cars’ “corner rascal”, which probably gives a fairly accurate picture of what we’re talking about here.
All three are comfortable inside, too. Sometimes you can get thrown around a little when you’re on a track in a car without racing seats, but the Elantra, Kona and Veloster all cuddle you fairly effectively.
So that’s the track stuff in the bag. What about the practicality?
Well, that box is ticked as well – flooring the accelerator is all very grin-inducing, but this group are, without a doubt, vehicles that you can use every day. They look nice on your driveway, too, especially the ones decked out in the N brand’s signature pale blue colour. You can breeze around town or on the motorway, experiencing a comfortable, easy ride, and looking smart at the same time.
The thrills, then, are there if you want to get down the local track, but it’s not by any means compulsory.