What could you possibly do with three doors? How about whatever you want to? The new Hyundai Veloster is a three-door hatchback which is part crossover, part hot-hatch and 100-percent fun. Introduced in 2012, the Veloster attracted strange comments from old, grizzled auto critics and nattering nabobs alike. Back at that time, the Veloster was first with an asymmetrical single door on the driver’s side, and a pair of doors on the other. It was an innovative look at what “could be.” It actually became successful in its own right, but would Hyundai be content enough to leave well enough alone? No way! After a thorough seeing to, the Veloster is back for more. Let’s check it out again.
IS THE HYUNDAI VELOSTER A REVERSE HALO CAR?
Designed as a “reverse halo car,” the Veloster is intended to bring young drivers to the brand, to then graduate them through the product lineup. Start with a Veloster, continue with a Sonata, Palisade, Genesis and so on. Reasonably priced, it is not like high-top halo cars you would see from other brands. It’s a halo car for the rest of us!
New for 2019, the Hyundai Veloster went to the spa. While there, it worked out a bit, lost some weight, got a nip here and a tuck there, and spent some time in charm school. We think the end results are quite impressive.
There’s a choice of two engines, three different gearboxes, a variety of trim levels and a myriad of possibilities. The base engine is Hyundai’s Nu 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine that makes 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. That’s 15-ponies and 12 lb-ft, respectively, more than the amount found on the previous version. That engine connects to either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission.
The Hyundai Gamma 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder engine is the Veloster’s “Big Daddy.” despite being so small. Making 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque, it will be a familiar engine to the Hyundai faithful. We found its power impressive while in the hill country outside Austin, Texas. The Veloster gives drivers a choice between a SHIFTRONIC seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) with steering-wheel-mounted paddle-shift levers, and a six-speed manual with slick B&M shifter. It’s a gearbox an enthusiast could get on board with.
The Veloster is loaded with other cool features too. Start with an over-boost switch that expands the torque range of the 1.6-liter Turbo from 195 to 202 lb-ft. That makes it perfect for overtaking maneuvers, and drivers can make a move when it really counts. All Veloster models now include Torque Vectoring which deliver dynamic handling, through wheel sensors and the car’s electronic stability control (ESC). Those sensors cause braking to occur on the inside wheel of a turn for crisper turn-ins, making the car faster and more agile as a result.
For 2019, the Veloster’s suspension has been upgraded from a torsion bar to a contemporary multi-link rear suspension. The kit has lost some weight in the process. A revised steering box has been moved for improved road feel, transforming the Veloster from an also-ran into a legitimate long-distance runner.
At the front, a bold cascading grille leads the way, joined by available LED headlights. Functional air curtains channel airflow over the front tires and work to decrease the sound levels inside. The Veloster’s new roofline presents a more swept-back appearance for a high-performance vibe. At the rear, a new diffuser houses the single exhaust for the base engine, while the more potent Turbo or Turbo/R-Spec powerplant doubles the offerings.
Hyundai designers have revised the interior of the 2019 Hyundai Veloster to be more refined and engaging and refinished with new materials. Looking as though it has grown up a bit, it’s even comfortable enough to stuff a couple of passengers in the back seats. Just have mercy on them during a long-distance trip.
Designed for drivers, the Veloster’s interior has been redesigned with more comfortable seats. The driver’s side is “dark-contrasted,” dividing itself from the rest of the cabin. The cargo area offers 19.9-cubic feet of cargo volume behind a 60:40 split second-row seat.
The car’s Infinity premium audio system includes a seven-inch display, standard. It can be optioned with an available eight-inch display with navigation. The system uses Harman/Kardon’s Clari-Fi technology to restore audio mp3 files to pre-compression glory.
Speaking of in-car entertainment (yes, we were!), the Veloster Turbo models receive amplified engine noises through the sound system, to enhance the exhaust notes coming out of the tailpipe.
Behind the wheel.
The familiar driver’s side of the Veloster is all business. The improved steering moves it up to the big kid’s table. Squeezing the skinny pedal caused a pushback into our seats, while the DCT moved competently through the seven cogs. The B&M manual transmission had us happily sawing up and down the gear range.
Braking from the four-wheel discs was sure-footed, and Hyundai’s new Brake Assist safety protocol helps bring the car back under control in a panic situation.
Testing the Turbo and Turbo R-Spec Veloster in Texas hill country, found us corner-cutting and gear banging like the kids we are. A thoroughly engaging ride is just part of what this pocket rocket does. Easily tossable, it is now even more so, thanks to the multi-link rear suspension.
After a year off, the 2019 Hyundai Veloster has matured. It’s now back bigger, stronger, more behaved than its younger self and the results are impressive. It’s a remarkable way to have fun with three doors! The new Veloster is available at Ed Napleton Hyundai dealerships across the country.
2019 Hyundai Veloster Veloster Veloster Turbo
Engine size: 2.0-liter 1.6-liter T
Type: 4-cylinder 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 147 @ 6,200 rpm 201 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 132 lb-ft 195 lb-ft
Drive Type: FWD FWD
Auto Transmission: 6-Speed Auto 7-Speed DCT
Manual Transmission: 6-Speed Manual 6-Speed Manual
Suspension F: MacPherson Struts and Gas-Filled Twin Strut Shocks
Suspension R: Multi-Link with twin-tube gas-filled Shocks
Steering: Motor-Driven power steering rack and pinion
Curb Weight: 2,734-2,855 lbs.
Passenger Capacity 89.9-cubic feet
Cargo Capacity 19.9-cubic feet