Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
The 2019 Hyundai Veloster is a sporty hatchback coupe that distinguishes itself by its unique body style — it has one door on the driver’s side and a front and rear door on the passenger side. Beyond its unusual portal arrangement, however, the Veloster offers sporty looks and performance as a way to entice younger buyers to the brand.
You'll Like The 2019 Hyundai Veloster If...
The new Veloster is for you if you want something that is fun-to-drive when a stylish and functional hatchback body style is on your wish list. Also, if you crave the Civic Type R, but can’t quite afford one, the new Veloster N offers similar levels of performance for under $30,000.
You May Not Like The 2019 Hyundai Veloster If...
While Hyundai touts that the Veloster has more cargo space behind its second row than subcompact crossovers like the Toyota C-HR, Jeep Renegade and Chevy Trax, it’s still a car not an SUV.
This is the second generation of the Veloster, so it’s slightly bigger with a much more aggressive look. The interior has been redesigned and the base engine tweaked to produce more power, while the uplevel 2.0-liter turbo has been carried over. There’s also been considerable improvement in the clutch take-up and shift action on the 6-speed manual transmission. Topping off all this newness is the arrival of the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N, a particularly sporty model available with either a 250- or a 275-horsepower turbocharged engine.
Hyundai has come a long way in improving the interiors of its products, and the Veloster is no exception. There are plenty of soft-touch surfaces and a twin-cockpit design to the cabin that separates the driver and front passenger spaces. Base and Turbo R-Spec models come with cloth seats while Premium and Turbo models sport leather and cloth upholstery, while the top line Turbo Ultimate has full leather. The rear seat has functional 60/40-split fold-down capability. Hyundai has resisted the trend towards huge touch screens controlling all functions, and does a masterful job of blending traditional buttons and switches for the climate control and sound systems. The center infotainment display is a 7.0-inch screen on base models, while the uplevel Premium and all Turbo models come with an 8.0-inch unit. A new 8.0-inch head-up display is also offered as an option, and it shows safety, navigation and audio information, and switches over to an analog tach and digital speed display when Sport mode is engaged.
Compared to the previous model, the 2019 Hyundai Veloster has a much bolder and aggressive look thanks to its larger, cascading grille design that features a mesh insert. There are also larger lower inlets and supplemental slots to improve front wheel-arch aerodynamics that also add to the more muscular appearance. The Veloster also sports a more sharply raked roofline, a rear deck top spoiler, and a more pronounced rear diffuser and twin round center-mounted exhaust tips. There are LED daylight running lamps and taillights, while LED main lighting is an option. Beefy 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels contribute to the Veloster’s hunkered-down stance. The Turbo Ultimate model is further distinguished by a black roof.The new Veloster N is distinguished by its N-design front fascia and grille with brake-cooling ducts, along with LED headlights, unique rocker sills, and ultra-high-performance tires – 225/40R-18 Michelin Pilot SuperSport on the standard N and 235/35R-19 Pirelli P-Zeros on the N with the Performance package. In back, the N sports LED taillights, a large rear spoiler, an integrated diffuser and high-flow dual exhaust. The N is available in black, white, red or blue, the last a light hue that reminds of the famous Gulf Oil livery of the legendary Porsche 917 racecar.
The other big change to the 2019 Hyundai Veloster is the switch from a twist-beam rear axle to a multi-link independent rear suspension. The car has a more planted feel when you’re pushing it. Other improvements include better steering response, though it still could be sharpened to European levels. The Turbo models pump out 201 horsepower from 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engines, while the standard normally aspirated 2.0-liter models make 147 horsepower. The Turbo models aren’t that much more expensive and offer levels of performance more in line with the vehicle’s looks.Overall, the Veloster feels light on its feet and is easy to drive quickly, but also has a stiff feel to the body and chassis. Hyundai has done an excellent job of controlling noise, vibration and harshness. There’s very little wind or tire noise that’s transmitted to the cabin. Given its price point, if you had your eyes closed, you’d swear you were in a class-above car. The Turbo R-Spec model comes with the much-improved 6-speed manual transmission, while higher-spec Turbo models are equipped with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that has both paddles for shifting and a sequential mode on the gear selector. The new Veloster features Normal, Sport and Smart driving modes — in Sport, the exhaust note is a bit louder and amplified through the sound system. The drive modes make a noticeable difference in throttle response and the shift points of the dual-clutch automatic.The new Veloster N, particularly when equipped with the optional Performance package and its electronic limited-slip differential, feels totally at home on a racetrack, yet it does not beat you up with overly stiff suspension in everyday driving. This is a car that has been tuned on the famous Nürburgring in Germany, and it shows. Each downshift of the 6-speed manual transmission is accompanied by an automatic throttle blip, and the chassis responds beautifully to steering inputs. Perhaps most important, the electronically controlled differential allows the driver to power out of tight corners without inducing any of the wild inside wheelspin so common with other powerful front-wheel-drive cars.
The 2019 Hyundai Veloster 2.0 Base starts at $18,500. The 2.0 Premium trim level begins at $22,750, while the more powerful Turbo R-Spec is a relative deal at just $150 more, clocking in at $22,900. Turbo models are priced from $25,400, while the Turbo Ultimate starts at $26,650. The 2019 Hyundai Veloster N starts at $26,900. When ordered with the $2,100 Performance package, the new N climbs to $29,000, which is still thousands less expensive than its obvious competitor, the Honda Civic Type R. All Hyundais have an $885 destination charge.There’s plenty of value in this sport hatch that’s only further enhanced by Hyundai’s 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain guarantee. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. It’s too early to assess the resale strength of the new Veloster, but our last calculation had the car performing at about average for the class.OK, so what’s next?I’m interested in the newest version of this car. What’s for sale near me?I’m interested in this car, and I’d like to trade in my current car while I’m at it.Then again, maybe I should be thinking about a used car.
There are six trim levels: 2.0 Base, 2.0 Premium, Turbo R-Spec, Turbo, Turbo Ultimate and N. Even Base models benefit from such upscale safety features as forward-collision avoidance with automatic braking, lane-keeping assist, and automatic headlights. Premium and up models get blind-spot collision warning as well as rear cross-traffic collision warning. A Drive Attention Warning system is standard on all models, monitoring your driving and alerting you when it’s time to take a break. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility comes with all models, as well as cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, and LCD touch screens. Base models come with 17-inch alloys on Base while all other models have 18-inch rims.
Uplevel models can be had with features like wireless charging, proximity keys with push-button start, Infinity premium audio with 8-speakers, a sunroof, heated seats, automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers and LED headlights. Also available are Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer tires on the 6-speed manual Turbo R-Spec and Turbo Ultimate models, smart cruise control on 7-speed automatic models, a 4.2-inch TFT digital display in the instrument cluster and the 8.0-inch head-up display.
DOOR CONFIGURATIONWhile the 3-door layout may seem odd, you never look at both sides of the car at the same time. So, when you walk up on the driver’s side, it looks like a coupe. Come at it from the passenger side and it looks like a 4-door hatch. That extra portal makes a huge difference in the usability of the rear seating area. And the hatch adds additional functionality to a sporty looking package. THE N PERFORMANCE PACKAGEAt $2,100, the optional N Performance package is a bargain. With its extra 25 horsepower, its electronic limited-slip differential, its 19-inch alloy wheels (shod with 235/35R-19 Pirelli P Zero summer tires), and its larger brakes (vented front and rear), the Performance package transforms the Veloster N from a good track car into a great one.
Under the Hood
The 2019 Hyundai Veloster is powered by a normally aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 147 horsepower in Base and Premium trims. The uplevel Turbo motor pushes out 201 horsepower from its 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, as does the Turbo R-Spec model. Base and Turbo R-Spec models come with a 6-speed manual, while 6-speed automatic is available on the former and standard on Premium trim models. Turbo and Turbo Ultimate models come with 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions. The 2019 Hyundai Veloster N is available with only one powertrain: a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine (with 250 or 275 horsepower) and a 6-speed manual transmission. All Velosters are front-wheel drive only. Combined fuel economy for the 2.0-liter model is 28 mpg for the 6-speed manual gearbox, 30 mpg with the automatic, while the Turbo models are 29 mpg combined with the manual and 30 mpg with the 7-speed automatic. Naturally, the powerful N suffers a bit at the pump, returning an EPA combined rating of 25 mpg.2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder (Veloster Base & Premium models)147 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm132 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/34 mpg (automatic), 25/33 mpg (manual)1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder (Veloster Turbo R-Spec & Turbo models)201 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm195 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/34 mpg (automatic), 26/33 mpg (manual)2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder (Veloster N)250 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm (275 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm with Performance package)260 lb-ft of torque @ 1,450-4,000 rpm (260 lb-ft @ 1,450-4,700 rpm with Performance package)EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 mpg
The 2019 Hyundai Veloster is a sporty hatchback coupe that distinguishes itself by its unique body style — it has one door on the driver’s side, and a front and rear door on the passenger side. But aside from its unusual portal arrangement, the Veloster has a larger role to fill as sort of a “reverse halo” car that offers sporty looks and performance as a way to entice younger buyers to the brand. This approach is different from the traditional halo car, a range-topper which most people aspire to, but can’t afford. Manufacturers count on these cars to get shoppers into the door which perhaps leads them to buying a lesser model. Veloster buyers, on the other hand, thanks to its affordable price, can have their cake and eat it too. And given the improvements in the newest version, it is quite tasty indeed. New for this year is the Hyundai Veloster N, the sportiest Veloster ever, and a legitimate rival for the Honda Civic Type R.