The 2019 Hyundai Veloster N actually Kicks Ass

“It was like a bomb,” Albert Biermann told me, describing one of the more, uh, experimental settings for the Hyundai Veloster N during its testing at the Nürburgring. Biermann runs Hyundai N, coming off of his old job running the alphabetically-adjacent BMW M. If anyone knows how to make a fully-realized performance car, it’s Biermann and his team. But you don’t get a well-polished car without it being rough at first, and I wanted to know how rough things had been.

(Full Disclosure: Hyundai flew us out to the Nürburgring and fed us and roomed us for several days. They also rented out the track for a couple hours, giving us time for two laps of the Nordschleife, and gave us a couple hours more to go around the local roads nearby, including a dead-end de-restricted Autobahn. They even let us borrow a staff Santa Fe to go see the Eifel Rallye Festival, where we saw many good rally cars and more extremely drunk Germans.) 

“There was a day when I was not happy with the power understeer,” Biermann was telling me as we rested in some shade next to T13 at the Nordschleife. Hyundai N has a test center here (the N stands both for Nürburgring and Namyang, Hyundai’s South Korean dev center), right on the industry row beside Aston Martin, Jaguar, Öhlins, Manthey Racing and everyone else.

Biermann said that his engineers had been futzing with different settings with the car’s electro-hydraulic limited slip differential, tweaking as many different settings as they could with getting power to the front wheels.

“You keep telling me this,” Biermann repeated, “for months.” He was tired, and he took things into his own hands. “Just give me the car with almost no toe at the rear and I’ll test it.” So the engineers gave him the car with almost zero toe at the rear. Rear toe helps keep a car stable, pushing the car to straighten out. Taking it out adds instability, and that’s exactly what Biermann got. “It was perfect,” he laughed, “but it was perfect conditions.” The car had become wildly sharp and reactive, but nearly impossible to keep straight on even a sunny, dry, ideal track, in the hands of an experienced driver. “It was like a bomb,” as Biermann put it, knowing that the car could never have this setup for production, but that at least the team had learned it needed to solve its understeer by fixing it at the rear. Resolve the car as a whole, not part-by-part.

In many ways, it’s easy to see the Veloster N as what it isn’t.

It’s not a hardcore track car. Bierman and his team admitted they could have chased down quicker lap times, gone for a trickier aero balance, but they didn’t. They wanted a car that was fun more than absolutely fast.

It’s not a muscle car of a hot hatch, big boost and power and not much else, like an old Alfa Romeo or a Dodge Caliber SRT-4. The most you get is 275 horsepower and 260 lb-ft with the performance pack, pushing around a hefty 3,106 pounds. (Standard is 250 HP and the same 260 lb-ft for 3,035 lbs.)

And the Veloster N also isn’t a collection of expensive parts smashed onto a standard car without much thought. N opted against putting Brembos on the car to keep costs down, instead using the rotors off of the South Korean Kia K5 (aka Sonata) but with different pads and more cooling.

The shocks don’t come from a fancy outside supplier like Bilstein. Hyundai decided against putting 20-inch wheels on the car for better laps, but they’d blow out on potholes driving to the track. Standard are 18s, 19s for the performance pack, and they kept as big a sidewall as they could.

The steering is “nothing special,” in N’s own words, “with Revo-knuckles” or whatever. They are heavier and more expensive and still not perfect. “Ours also is not perfect,” Biermann said, but it works. The team even accepted that the car will get torque steer, and didn’t try to tune it all out. Then they’d lose feedback.

What they focused on was making the car as fun as possible, as accessible as possible. It’s simple and even tail-happy, and strong enough to take lap after lap on track. The car did 10,000 kilometers of testing at the Ring, only for the team to discover that the wheel bolts would break after changing tire after tire on a hot track. They had to change them to make them as strong as possible but also not over budget. Eventually they changed the coating on the metal, and sent the car back out for another 10,000 km of certification. (That extra testing was the idea of Biermann’s Korean employees. He himself figured nobody would have the time to get it done.)

“We didn’t go to the extreme,” Biermann put it. “We knew that fun is lost.”

And it fucking worked.

With no prior planning, I ended up driving three different front-wheel drive cars on the Nürburgring Nordschleife in a week. I did two laps in a race-prepped and caged Suzuki Swift. I did two laps in a totally stock manual Volkswagen Golf. And I did two laps in the Hyundai Veloster N, running in ‘N Mode’ with the performance pack. Of the three, it was in the Hyundai that I wanted to push more and more.

The Golf was hilarious but all over the road once things started getting fast. The Swift was totally competent and secure, but its limits were far above mine, all grip and no power. The Veloster just made me laugh. If it wasn’t lifting a rear wheel going into a corner, it felt like it was.


The majority of the Ring is blind, full of corners where it looks like the road is about to cut in on you, only to reveal over a crest that you could have curled in with more speed, gotten on the gas earlier. I recognized a few spots by the time I was in the Veloster N, pushing into the throttle and letting the front diff pull the car up the track’s steep grades. It’s not aggressive, but it is satisfying.

More fun is to press into the corners harder and harder, starting to let the tires sing. You feel, genuinely feel, the car like it’s starting to rotate under you. You play with it, not fight against it. It reveals its character quickly but stays entertaining, encouraging you and rewarding you.

Again, this is not a particularly extreme car, no mini GT3 RS. It’s never twitchy. It’s comfortable, mentally at least. In its stiffest setting, the suspension will hilariously pogo-stick over the concrete expansion joints of the Karussell. The car itself, at least, never feels deflected. It’s stable. You just want to keep your foot planted and let the car hop and bound on the bumps of the Ring’s faster back sections.

Even when you’re not hunting for the limit on track, the car is still fun on the road. There’s an “N custom” mode that lets you individually change the throttle response, rev-matching, steering weight, suspension stiffness, exhaust noise. It is very satisfying to keep the car super eager, but tone down the exhaust for not pissing off the neighbors, calm yourself and make the suspension comfortable, too.


There’s even a good amount of leg room in the back seat. The front buckets (specific to the N along with the pedals, shifters, steering wheel, and gauges) are comfy but not race-car tight. It’s an enjoyable vehicle to bop around in, if only because you know in your heart that it whips on track.

Particularly enjoyable is the exhaust. There is a quiet normal mode and a louder sport mode, and also a third “Sport+” setting that, after some testing, doesn’t make the car any louder, it just turns on a part of the car’s brain that makes the exhaust pop and crackle when you lift off the gas. It’s retarding the ignition timing to do a kind of mock anti-lag, but Biermann and his team asserted that it’s not there to make the car faster, just more fun.

It would be easy to be cynical about it. But it’s not synthesized. It’s a genuine novelty in the vehicle, a built-in goof. You can turn it off if you don’t want to be silly, but if you do, the Veloster N is here to enable your dumbest tendencies.

It’s kind of funny that this very German branch of Hyundai, with a staff that includes the guy who was in charge of all of the AMG Black Series vehicles, made a car that’s such a lark.

The only thing they’re stern about is that N will continue, strongly asserting over beers one night that the Veloster is just the first (for America) of a number of N cars. Only for the moment is it a lone attempt to make Hyundai seem more fun. The company has already changed its attitude on quality, on design, now it’s looking for enthusiast credibility.


Source: Jalopnik

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And you do get the sense that they could have bought their way into a car that had all the right parts and all the right figures but no cohesion and no character. But it didn’t turn out that way. Maybe it’s just that everyone in charge was too serious about a fun-to-drive car to let that happen.

Audi and Hyundai partner on developing fuel-cell technology

Audi and Hyundai will work together on the development of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles through a patent cross-licensing agreement. The deal means that each company will be able to access the other's existing and future patents surrounding fuel-cell cars as the two automakers work to promote hydrogen cars.

Though the deal is specifically between Hyundai and Audi, it applies to related brands like Kia and Volkswagen. Within the Volkswagen Group, however, Audi has taken the lead on developing fuel cell vehicles. Audi plans to launch a long-range hydrogen-powered SUV "at the beginning of the next decade."

Hyundai's latest fuel-cell car is a crossover called the Nexo. Audi will be able to access information used for that vehicle, as well as its predecessor, the ix35/Tucson fuel-cell. Moreover, Audi will have access to Hyundai's parts supply chain for hydrogen tech. The Korean company owns Hyundai Mobis, which builds hydrogen fuel cell stacks and associated components.

Audi says that it believes fuel cell technology will be ideal for larger vehicles, but notes that building a refueling infrastructure is one of the "key aspects for its future market success." The automaker has been developing fuel-cell prototypes for nearly two decades, with models including the A7 h-tron. Hyundai says that fuel-cell vehicles are ideal because they offer long driving ranges and short refueling times, especially compared to electric cars. Hyundai currently sells fuel-cell cars in 18 countries

2019 Hyundai Veloster first drive review: A superb second act

The first-generation Hyundai Veloster was a fun little thing, despite Hyundai not really knowing how to build a properly sporty car at the time. It wasn't an area where the automaker had a lot of experience, and it showed.

It's a wonder what seven years will do. The 2019 Veloster feels better put-together before you even turn the key, and once you set out on the road, you'll find a solid, competent sports hatch that is ready to compete against some long-time segment darlings.

A looker full o' quirks

If there's one thing the Hyundai Veloster has always, and will (hopefully) always have, it's that Zooey Deschanel brand of sanitary quirkiness. The driver's side has one big, coupe-like door, but the passenger side has two smaller doors. On the inside of the top-spec Turbo Ultimate trim, the driver and passenger door panels rock different colors.

But whereas the last generation was quite a bit much to behold, Hyundai's styling has grown more cohesive. It now carries a relatively familiar family face, but there's still some weird stuff to help it stand out, like wonky scalloping on the quarter panels or the wee rear diffuser that straddles the center-exit exhaust.

Weirdness doesn't beget a super-cramped interior, thankfully. There's ample room up front, and thanks to the placement of various cut lines and trim pieces, I feel like I have a space all my own as the driver. The second row is a bit cozier -- at 6 feet tall, my hair ever so slightly brushes the headliner and my knees are only about an inch from the front row, but it feels roomier than before, if only barely.

Back-road hustler

The base Veloster comes with a 2.0-liter I4 good for 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque, mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission. If you care only about standing out and not standing on the gas pedal, it'll do you just fine. Automatic emergency braking and a 7-inch infotainment system (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) are standard, regardless of cog-swapper.

But Hyundai only has its Turbo models available during my time in Austin. For a four-grand price premium, the engine changes to a 1.6-liter turbocharged I4 putting out 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet. The exterior is a bit more expressive, as are the interior color choices, adding splashes of color in the seats and on the dash. The base R-Spec trim can only be had with a six-speed manual, whereas the range-topping Ultimate is mated exclusively to a seven-speed dual-clutch unit.

The R-Spec's manual is very good, with a clutch bite point that has plenty of feel and a B&M-developed short shifter that is tight and rewarding to use with every shift. The DCT is almost as good as the manual, and buyers will like it, but it gets confused when downshifts bring the engine near redline, and I keep experiencing a delay between pulling the paddle and feeling the clutches engaging a lower gear. When shifting up, though, the DCT blasts through the gears as well as any other competitor's transmission.

No matter the method, the drive is rewarding. A new multi-link rear suspension keeps the car well composed in tight corners, and lighter aluminum steering knuckles has the car digging into turns with confidence. The car feels vastly more solid than it ever did, and when the curves get tight, there's little body roll. The only tradeoff here is that its stiffness is more obvious over highway expansion joints and poor-quality pavement.

The 1.6-liter offers enough low-down torque that you won't have to reach toward the high end of the tachometer in daily driving, and it sounds quite nice no matter the revs -- something I first noticed when this engine landed in the Hyundai Elantra Sport. There is a fake-sound synthesizer that bumps up the volume in the cabin, and while it's never so loud as to be annoying, I believe the engine sounds better with it turned off.

The 200-ish-hp sporty car segment has some heavy hitters like the Honda Civic Siand Volkswagen Golf GTI. Hyundai morphed the Veloster into something that's wildly better to drive, and while it feels more adult, it still hasn't lost that little bit of weirdness that makes it unique. If an automaker wants to perform in this segment, it needs to bring its A-game, and this time around, Hyundai did.

Hyundai Mobis taps first non-Korean leader to drive autonomous investment

Hyundai Mobis Co. may be Hyundai Motor Co.'s biggest auto parts supplier, but that didn't help it win early inroads with Hyundai in a critical field.

Rival South Korean supplier Mando Corp. beat Mobis in supplying the automaker with a driver-assistance system that bundles several semi-autonomous technologies that are all the rage today. The Hyundai Motor Group even awarded Mando a prize for the technology in 2016.

Mobis, by contrast, is just this year delivering its first driver-assist system to Hyundai.

Stung by the slow start, Hyundai Mobis now wants to leapfrog from fast follower to leader.

To kick the effort into higher gear, Mobis CEO Lim Young-deuk has for the first time tapped a non-Korean to head the company's rapidly expanding Driver Assistance Systems division responsible for autonomous driving. It is part of an urgent campaign to infuse the unit with more expertise and money.

Gregory Baratoff was recruited from Germany's Continental AG and became the new vice president for driver-assist technology in July 2017. The American engineer is a computer vision specialist who began his career at Daimler AG doing augmented reality, then moved to Siemens VDO to work on cameras for driving-assist systems. Continental bought Siemens VDO in 2007.

Baratoff's first priority is to quickly ramp up spending in autonomous driving technology. The new vision for Smart speaks to how much new demands of electrification and autonomy are revamping corporate strategies, even for a longtime technology leader such as Daimler. 


A soaring investment is needed to play catch-up in the race for Level 3 and Level 4 autonomous driving systems, Baratoff said. If Mobis keeps investing at its current levels, leaders such as Continental or even Mando will always be in the lead.

"To put it simply, by 2021 we want to catch up, and by 2025 we want to lead," the soft-spoken Baratoff said in an interview at Mobis' global r&d center outside Seoul. "We may have high growth rates, but we're starting lower and maybe later than others."

The Hyundai Mobis tech center is abuzz with sub-suppliers anxious to team with the South Korean company as it increases investment in driver assistance systems. Photo credit: HANS GREIMEL

Hyundai Mobis plans to increase investment in driver-assistance systems by 20-30 percent each year through 2021, Baratoff said. Headcount is expected to grow up to 15 percent by then.

Hyundai Mobis has about 450 people working in the field in South Korea and 150 at three overseas tech centers, near Detroit, in Hyderabad, India, and in Frankfurt.


Massive investment

"We are now starting massive investment," said Hwang Jae Ho, director of the driver-assist unit.

Hwang declined to give figures. But he said Mobis will boost r&d spending to about 10 percent of core revenue by 2021. Half that spending will be channeled into driver-assistance systems and infotainment. Today, by contrast, only 7 percent of the company's overall revenue is plowed back into r&d.

"Compared with the competition, it's a pretty good number," Baratoff said. "That's a good sign to the outside that we're willing to invest the sufficient amount needed to get these topics going."

Delivering to the Hyundai Motor Group is critical to Mobis, which gets a big majority of its worldwide sales from group companies.

This year, Mobis will begin selling a suite of technologies to Hyundai Motor bundled in its cars and marketed as highway driving assist, or HDA.

The Level-2 HDA package has one camera and one millimeter-wave radar. The basic setup doesn't enable lane tracing to keep the car automatically centered or lane changing. But Mobis is working on a more advanced Level-2 system for sale in late 2019 or early 2020. That version will deliver lane-changing capability and autonomy on highway on- and off-ramps.


Help wanted

Looking ahead, Baratoff is focused on speeding development of Level 3 and 4 technologies.

That will require not only more money but also more outside expertise, he said.

Part of the strategy is headhunting more international talent, but Baratoff also will be scouring the globe for new technology partners.

"That's my goal, to have a very fast development team," he said.

Mobis already has identified two partners in Germany. One is working with Mobis on low-cost, mass-market radar. The other is assisting on high-end radar for Level 3 and beyond.

It is also partnering with a group of South Korean companies to develop a low-cost, entry-level lidar technology for Level 3 autonomous driving by around 2023.

Hyundai partners with Autotalks to develop vehicle-to-everything technology

Hyundai has a new partner to develop future vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technologyin Autotalks, an Israel-based company founded in 2008. The Korean automaker announced on Tuesday it will partner with the technology company via a direct investment in its operations.

V2X includes vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology. Effectively, the tech allows cars to communicate with other connected things, such as traffic lights, roadways, buildings, other cars, and more. Hyundai said the partnership is vital to its future work with self-driving cars; the automaker plans to reveal its first Level 4 self-driving car in 2021.

Specifically, the focus of the partnership will be on vehicle safety. In manned vehicles, V2X tech can alert drivers of conditions ahead and notify them of potentially dangerous conditions. Think of a car sending a message to another car letting it know there's a wreck up ahead, or the roadway is icy. In self-driving cars, V2X will help vehicles make better decisions by communicating with "smart" objects embedded in the surrounding infrastructure.

The Korean automaker has been on a roll with future-forward technology as of late. Hyundai showed off the Nexo fuel cell vehicle at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show and also detailed plans for an artificial intelligence personal assistant. The AI assistant will debut in Hyundai vehicles next year, and more futuristic gear could come from its Intelligent Personal Cockpit concept.

The cockpit concept includes voice recognition, a Wellness Care system to monitor various driver vitals, and a few other party tricks. Drivers can also knock twice on the door to unlock the car.

Hyundai didn't detail when it plans to include V2X technology in production cars, but the automaker said the partnership "will accelerate the development and deployment of the next generation chipset for connected cars."

Though its company headquarters are in Israel, Autotalks has offices in North America, Germany, France, Sweden, Japan, and Korea.

2018 Hyundai Kona Named One of Wards 10 Best Interiors

The all-new 2018 Hyundai Kona's sleek and modern interior was acknowledged by the editors of WardsAuto today, which named it to this year's Wards 10 Best Interiors list.

"The Kona smashes the notion that a small-vehicle interior will be bland or have low-quality materials," said Christie Schweinsberg, senior editor, WardsAuto. "Thanks to its matte black plastics, great head-up display, generous advanced-safety technologies and funky lime-green accents -- all for under $30,000 -- the inside of Hyundai's new small CUV knocked our judges' socks off."

WardsAuto editors studied the vehicles in February and March, selecting the 10 winners from a field of 40 vehicles with new or significantly refreshed interiors. Editors evaluated the vehicles' features including ergonomics, driver information, fit-and-finish, materials, value, safety, comfort and design harmony. There was no price cap on entries. Ultimately, WardsAuto editors are looking for interiors that raise the bar not only for that particular brand but also for that vehicle's segment.

"The all-new Kona offers buyers a wide and spacious feel even with its compact dimensions and low roof line by using a strong horizontal character line," said Andrew Moir, ‎interior design manager, ‎Hyundai Design North America. "The floating display design adds further to the occupants' sense of interior openness and the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) controls are surrounded by soft, fluid details that contribute to a sensuous experience and enhance the comfort-focused environment."

During the selection process, editors pay close attention to fit-and-finish, checking to see if seams are straight and match up cleanly on armrests, instrument panels and throughout the interior. Editors climb in and out of back seats and third rows in larger CUVs and SUVs to check overall comfort levels, headroom and legroom. Another increasingly important category is driver information. Smartphone integrations and voice-activation systems also are rigorously tested.


Hyundai designers also maximized Kona's interior space for luggage storage capabilities, reflecting the requirements of customers with active lifestyles. The split-folding rear seats fold flat via a dual-level loading floor that gives three inches of additional vertical space and allows easy access for a variety of recreational equipment.

Technology is a strong selling point of Kona with standard features including Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™. Owners can also enjoy the convenience of Qi wireless charging for their smartphones.

Kona has a number of unique and exclusive features compared with competitive vehicles. For example, Kona offers the largest Heads-Up Display (HUD) in the segment. The display is more than twice as bright as the competition and double the size, making it a lot easier to keep tabs on speed, audio, navigation and active safety information. Kona's Driver Attention Warning is also a segment first, adding to Kona's level of active safety.  


Kona offers a full suite of sophisticated technologies paired with user-friendly functionality to keep passengers informed and entertained. The premium infotainment system offers various advanced connectivity features, including standard Android Auto™ and standard Apple CarPlay™, SiriusXM® Radio, HD Radio and next-generation Blue Link® LTE-powered connectivity. The standard seven-inch color LCD display includes AM/FM/MP3 touchscreen audio, auxiliary input jacks, voice-command recognition and Rear View Monitor. The available eight-inch touchscreen navigation display includes next-generation Blue Link, traffic flow and incident data via HD radio, Infinity® premium audio with eight speakers, subwoofer and Clari-Fi ™ music-restoration technology.

Kona offers features that they would be accustomed to in larger CUV segments, such as a large color LCD electroluminescent gauge cluster, power driver's seat, heated leather seats, automatic air conditioning and proximity key.


Kona offers advanced active safety features, including Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), which uses the car's front-facing camera and radar to help detect an imminent collision and to help avoid impact or minimize damage by braking autonomously. Three additional systems also utilize the front-view camera to boost safety and convenience: Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), High Beam Assist (HBA), and Driver Attention Warning (DAW).

Kona radar systems also assist with the Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW) to help detect approaching vehicles that may be obscured from view during highway driving. The Rear Cross-Traffic Collison Warning (RCCW) helps detect when another vehicle may have entered the car's rearward path, such as backing out of a parking spot, by providing a driver alert.

Cuerpo Policial Aruba receives first batch of new Isuzu units

Recently on the shorwoom of Garage Centraal Aruba a ceremony was held for the delivery of the first batch of vehicles sold by Garage Centraal Aruba to the Aruban Police.

This first delivery, consisting of 4 Isuzu D-Max DoubleCab and 4 Isuzu mu-X units, will be used for the Traffic Section and the Planologie sections, with an additional number of Isuzu units on route for delivery soon. The delivery ceremony counted with the presence of, among others, Justice Minister Andin Bikker and the just appointed KPA head Andrew S. Hoo.

For Garage Centraal Aruba is a source of inmense satisfaction to be able to provide units of a brand known for its superior quality such as Isuzu, for use in such a critical and noble task as the protection of Aruba's citizens. 

Tony Hartman Kok

Sales Manager
T: 730-3000

Johnny Milan

Senior Sales Associate
T: 593-3778

Demis Thielman

Sales Associate
T: 739-1974

Lizzette Koolman

Sales Associate
T: 594-4900

Alex Dijkhoff

Sales Associate
T: 592-6075

Adolfo Gonzalez

Sales Associate
T: 563-5074

Jerald Winterdal

Sales Associate
T: 660-2425

About Garage Centraal

The goal of Garage Centraal Aruba is simple: that everyone that needs a vehicle is able to have a vehicle that satisfies their needs and expectations, with expert service and parts support.

That is why we offer brand new, award winning vehicles from the renowned Hyundai brand, as well as Isuzu pickups and trucks. We also offer an extensive catalog of commercial vehicles from Hyundai as well as Hyundai Construction.