flappy paddles ain't no shame
One of the Best Hot Hatches in America Is Getting a New Performance Option for 2020
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Here in the United States, we generally get the short end of the stick when it comes to fast, sporty, inexpensive hatchbacks — or, as they’re colloquially known, hot hatches. They’ve usually been reserved for European audiences, where narrow roads and higher fuel prices make smaller sporty cars more appealing than, say, muscle cars.
Still, we’re not completely bereft of hot hatch love here in America. The VW GTI has represented the category well for decades, while Honda’s latest Civic Type R redefined how capable a front-wheel-drive compact can be. Then there’s the Hyundai Veloster N, which packs most of the Type R’s speed at an appreciably lower price. Like the fastest Civic, it doesn’t let its FWD platform slow it down — and like the Type R, it’s only available with a six-speed manual gearbox.
That’s about to change, however. It seems Hyundai is about to drop a dual-clutch transmission into the Veloster N for 2020.
On Monday, the brand’s Hyundai N YouTube page dropped a teaser video showing a Veloster N being shifted via steering wheel-mounted paddles and boasting something called “Grin Shift,” which we’re very curious to try. The Hyundai N Instagram account gave away the big reveal: the 2020 Veloster N would be receiving an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
While stick shifts certainly offer more driving engagement, it’s hard to beat a dual-clutch automatic for maximum performance. (There’s a reason Porsche only uses DCTs in its high-performance models, while Ferrari uses them exclusively.) Using twin clutches means a car can prepare the next gear when accelerating or decelerating, spinning it up in advance — and thus effectively eliminating the pause in power when shifting. It also has the added bonus from a sales standpoint of making a car both more idiot-proof (there’s no clutch pedal to learn) and more accessible (there’s no clutch pedal to learn).
Hyundai didn’t announce when the new DCT gearbox would be coming to the Veloster N, but considering that the 2020 model is already on sale, we have to guess that it should drop any day now. (In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if it had actually been planned to be revealed at the New York Auto Show before that was cancelled.) Obviously, the coronavirus pandemic has put a hold on many automotive projects, but we’re betting the new gearbox will be in road-bound Veloster Ns within a couple months of the lifting of stay-at-home orders.
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