There are 4-door sedans, there are 3 and 5-door hatchbacks, and then there’s the Veloster. It’s a 4-door hatchback. Or is it just 3-door with something extra? Whatever it is, it’s unique and there’s and all-new one here now.
Not long after unique cars like the Hyundai Veloster arrive, one of two things tend to happen. They either tone down their quirkiness to conform, and appeal to a broader clientele, or they just go away. Well, we’ve got an outlier here, as there’s an all-new 2019 Hyundai Veloster and it’s still letting its freak flag fly.
Yes, Hyundai has surprisingly kept the funky 2+1 door + hatch arrangement intact. One thing they did eliminate is the previous gen’s base 1.6-liter engine. In its place, is a new 2.0-liter I4 still with an eye on fuel economy, with 147-horsepower and 30-combined mpgs.
The optional 1.6-liter I4 turbo does return, putting out the same 201-horsepower and 195 lb-ft. of torque.
You can send power to the front wheels with a 6-speed manual transmission for either engine, but the available automatics differ; a traditional 6-speed auto for the 2.0-liter, a 7-speed DCT for the turbo.
The Veloster’s fun-factor remains high as well; with nice quick steering, and a driving experience that is hard to find in cars that inhabit this price level.
In similar fashion, the Veloster’s nice looking, modern interior punches above weight as well. Each trim level offers unique colors and materials, and Ultimate is properly named if you want the most goodies.
You’ll get heated leather seats, 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, Infinity premium audio system, wireless phone charging, head-up display, alloy pedals, and a 4.2-inch color TFT display in the instrument cluster. A back-up camera is standard on all Velosters. That’s great, as blind spots remain significant.
Beneath the hatch, lies 19.9 cubic-ft. of cargo space; expanding to 44.5 with rear seatbacks folded. So, depending on where you’re coming from, the Veloster is either a less practical 5-door wagon, or a more practical 3-door hatchback. Just remember that +1 door is on the right side.
Even with a wider grille and more aggressive lines, this new Veloster also doesn’t look all that different. So, it’s still not pretty; but rather cute in a bulldog sort of way.
We were hoping for a little more aggression at our track test, but the little turbo is a little slow to wake up. It does come alive around 3,500 RPM, and ushered us to 60 in 7.1-seconds.
That’s 7/10ths of a second quicker than the last Veloster turbo. And since output is unchanged, it might just be the 7-speed DCT that makes the difference. It snaps through gears rather briskly, making the ¼-mile trip a fun one, at 15.5-seconds and 91 miles-per-hour.
All of this accompanied by some artificially-enhanced engine noise that we could live without.
The turbo does more than just bring more power; Turbo models also get quicker-ratio steering, with additional feedback, as well as stiffer suspension tuning. Combined with Veloster’s standard Torque Vectoring Control, you get a tossable chassis that’s crazy fun to whip in and out of cones.
Depending on how you enter each gate you’ll see either a tiny bit of understeer or a small amount of oversteer. Just about the perfect setup for autocrossing. It stays very flat, yet is soft enough to feel comfortable and not on edge at all.
Stops from 60 averaged 119-feet. Not super short, but the steady braking feel and laser-like stability are quite confidence inspiring.
Still not enough spark to put up with the Veloster’s looks? Well, the Veloster N, the first of Hyundai’s new high performance line, is on the way and we promise you it’s 2.0-liter turbo is indeed an eye opener.
But, Government Fuel Economy Ratings for our test 1.6 turbo with DCT, are 28-City, 34-Highway, and 30-Combined. Our average, a fine 30.5 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
Staying just under the $20,000 threshold, Veloster pricing starts at $19,385. Getting the 1.6 turbo will cost you at least $23,785; with our Ultimate starting at $27,535.
Whether you think it’s cool, stupid, or something else entirely; the 2019 Hyundai Veloster doesn’t really care. And unlike the Mini Cooper, it doesn’t really have charm going for it. What it does have, is uniqueness, combining above average prowess and poshness in a quirky package you won’t find anywhere else.
Engine: 1.6 liter
Torque: 195 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 7.1 seconds
1/4 mile: 15.5 seconds @ 91 mph
EPA: 28 mpg city / 34 mpg highway