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Edmunds compares Volkswagen Golf GTI and Hyundai Veloster N

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Volkswagen’s redesigned 2022 Golf GTI will be arriving at dealerships this fall. It’s the latest generation of the car that pioneered the hot hatch segment when it launched in the U.S. for the 1983 model year. Nearly four decades later, the GTI still stands as a benchmark for sporty performance and everyday practicality on a budget.

A key rival is the 2022 Hyundai Veloster N, Hyundai’s distinctive and high-performing three-door hatchback. Which one of these hot hatches is the better buy? Edmunds’ experts put the two speedy compacts head-to-head to determine a winner.

PERFORMANCE

The Volkswagen Golf GTI’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder produces 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 13 horsepower and 15 lb-ft compared to the previous GTI. In Edmunds’ testing, a 2022 Golf GTI with the automatic transmission accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a quick 5.9 seconds. The new GTI also boasts short braking distances, responsive steering and confidence-inspiring handling around turns.

Impressive as the GTI is, it’s still slightly behind the Hyundai Veloster N. Powering the Veloster N is a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine good for 275 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. At Edmunds’ test track, an automatic-equipped Veloster N ripped from zero to 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds. It also edges out the GTI with added handling grip and more steering feel. For driver enjoyment, Hyundai has come up with the better recipe.

Winner: Veloster N

PRACTICALITY

Everyday usability is a requisite for every good hot hatch. The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI obliges with its four doors and classic upright hatchback roofline. Both aspects combine to offer easy access to the roomy back seat. With 19.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, the Golf GTI can also hold more stuff than a typical midsize sedan’s trunk.

The Veloster N also offers 19.9 cubic feet of room, but the cargo area isn’t as helpfully shaped. Open the rear hatch and there’s a relatively high liftover and then a drop down to the load floor. That makes it harder to load and retrieve items. For passengers, the Veloster has a unique three-door layout with one door on the driver side and two doors on the passenger side. It’s an interesting idea, but the Golf GTI’s traditional four-door setup shows that this is something that didn’t need fixing.

Winner: Golf GTI

COMFORT

The expectation for hot hatches is that owners will drive them daily. Comfort is just as important as performance. To that end, both the Veloster N and Golf GTI offer adaptive suspension dampers so drivers can choose between a firm, performance-oriented setup or a more docile ride. They come standard on the Veloster N, but you do need to upgrade to the range-topping Autobahn trim to get them for the GTI.

Springing for the Autobahn might be worth it, however. This GTI trim has a much more pleasant ride than the Veloster’s. You could even cruise around in the GTI’s Sport driving mode and not feel like you’re being punished. In contrast, the Veloster’s Comfort mode rides OK, but selecting any of the sportier settings reveals a harsh, bumpy quality. The GTI is also quieter at highway speeds.

Winner: Golf GTI

TECHNOLOGY

The Hyundai and VW come with a well-rounded set of technology features; the primary differentiator is execution. Both come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, for instance, but the GTI offers wireless connectivity as well. This means you don’t need to use a USB cord to mirror your phone’s apps on the touchscreen. The GTI’s voice controls also govern a wider set of functions, and its premium stereo sounds a bit crisper. And while the Veloster has a decent array of advanced driver aids as standard, traffic-adaptive cruise control is notably absent from the list.

Winner: Golf GTI

VALUE

The Golf GTI has always offered a lot for the money. Even the base trim, priced at $30,540 including destination, provides a bounty of grins and a well-appointed interior. But the $33,525 Veloster N has a similar set of features as a midtrim Golf GTI for a couple thousand dollars less. And remember how the GTI’s adaptive suspension dampers only come on the $38,990 Autobahn trim? Hyundai then shuts the door with a lengthier warranty period and slightly more generous complimentary service visit schedule.

Winner: Veloster N

EDMUNDS SAYS:

The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI and Hyundai Veloster N will both satisfy buyers looking to add a fun-to-drive hot hatch to their garage. In a direct comparison, the Golf GTI’s better mix of utility and comfort helps it earn the win. But the Veloster’s quicker acceleration and emphasis on value can’t be ignored.

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This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds.

Cameron Rogers is a senior news editor at Edmunds. Twitter: @—crogers.

Related links:

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI review; 2022 Hyundai Veloster N review; Edmunds’ top-rated hot hatchbacks

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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