Car Reviews

2019 Hyundai Veloster Review

Stephen Ottley’s Hyundai Veloster and Veloster Turbo 2019 Review With Price, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Interior, Ownership, Verdict And Score.

2019 Hyundai Veloster and Veloster Turbo Specs

Price From $29,490 plus ORCs Warranty 5 years/unlimited km Engine 2.0L petrol; 1.6L turbo petrol Power 110kW at 6200rpm; 150kW at 6000rpm Torque 180Nm at 4500rpm; 265Nm at 1500-4500rpm Transmission 6-speed auto or manual; 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch auto Drive front-wheel-drive Body 4240mm (l); 1800mm (w); 1399mm (h) Kerb weight 1235kg; 1255kg Seats 5 Fuel tank 50 litres Spare Space saver

Comprehensive Car Insurance

IN A NUTSHELL: A hatchback that doesn’t look like a hatchback. Hyundai has draped a dramatic and quirky three-door body over the same underpinnings as the popular i30 to create something unlike anything else on the market. The Veloster is funky and sporty without being a sports car, but it’s not as practical as a hatch so you are trading substance for style.

2019 Hyundai Veloster and Veloster Turbo review

Hyundai has been on a mission to change its image from a once cut-price car brand to something more appealing for decades. These days the i30 N and i30 Fastback N are proof that the brand can build a true performance car, far removed from the days of the Scoupe and Tiburon. 

The brand’s transition towards the hot hatches arguably began with the launch of the first generation Veloster in 2012. It was a bold departure for the brand, creating a quirky three-door layout – with a large coupe-style door on the driver’s side and two smaller doors on the passenger side – but utilising the same platform as the i30 hatchback to improve the business case.

It was such a success, selling approximately 19,000 examples, that the second generation Veloster has made it to Australia as the only major right-hand drive market in the world to receive it. That meant Hyundai had to go to all the trouble of designing and engineering the doors on the correct kerbside just for us. It underlines the importance that having such a statement car makes for Hyundai Australia.

What Does The Hyundai Veloster Cost And What Do You Get?

There is a three-tier line-up for the Veloster, consisting of two engine options with the choice of manual or automatic and three distinct trim levels – Veloster, Veloster Turbo and Veloster Turbo Premium.

The range starts at $29,490 for the Veloster with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission. If you’d prefer the six-speed automatic that starts at $31,790.

Hyundai Veloster 2.0

For that money you get 18-inch alloy wheels, Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tyres, auto headlights, LED daytime running lights, cruise control, climate control air-conditioning, reversing camera, sports seats, leather-appointed steering wheel and gear selector, a six-speaker sound system and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay.

The Turbo gets a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine and the choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Pricing starts at $35,490 for the manual and $38,490 for the auto.

Aside from the new powertrain the extra money adds unique 18-inch rims, Michelin Pilot Sport 4, partial leather trim, a larger 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, navigation, digital radio, LED headlights and taillights.

Hyundai Veloster Turbo Premium

The range tops out with the Turbo Premium, priced from $38,990 for the manual and $41,990 for the auto. It gains its own unique metallic and machined-finish 18-inch rims, a sunroof, leather interior trim, head up display, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, rain-sensing wipers and a wireless smartphone charging pad. You can also pay another $1000 to get a two-tone roof, finished in Phantom Black, which is unique to Premium.

What’s The Hyundai Veloster Interior Like?

Naturally there are some similarities between the Veloster and i30; for example, the steering wheel looks and feels the same, as do some of the switchgear. But the overall design is unique to the three-door, with changes to the centre fascia designed to create a more driver-oriented cabin.

There’s a different trim for each model to create further separation; from the cloth Veloster through to the leather-lined Turbo Premium. However, there are some hard plastics used throughout every model, specifically on the key touchpoints such as the armrest that remind you that this is a sub-$45k hatchback in disguise.

How Much Space Is There In The Hyundai Veloster?

Of course the biggest compromise Hyundai had to make when creating the Veloster is cabin space. The dramatic, sloping roofline and three-door layout mean rear room, for both passengers and luggage, is less than you’ll find in the i30.

Indeed, perhaps the biggest criticism of the original Veloster was its cramped back seats, which made it more of a 2+2 rather than a genuine four-seater hatch (there are cup holders in the middle of the rear seats). Hyundai has acknowledged this and tried to liberate more space in the back, but with unconvincing results.

For starters, the rear door opening is 58mm wider for easier access, but the roofline still makes it tricky for adults to climb inside without bumping your head. Another change is that the rear headliner has been moved backward by 450mm to create more headroom.

Once again, though, it’s nice in theory but in practical terms the roofline still compromises headroom for adults. The addition of the sunroof doesn’t help matters either, so buyers of the Turbo Premium may need to factor that into their decision-making process.

The boot measures 303-litres, which is significantly smaller than the i30’s 395-litres, another sign of the Veloster’s style bias.

What’s The Hyundai Veloster Infotainment Like?

It gets Hyundai’s latest system with a simple interface as well as menu buttons integrated into the centre facisa instead of next to the screen for a cleaner looking touchscreen.

The system itself does everything you expect, with a easy-to-use menu of large icons as well as the option of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. That’s especially good news for base-model buyers because the standard Veloster misses out on the in-built navigation offered in the Turbo so your smartphone maps serve as back-up.

The Turbo models also get a unique instrument cluster with a larger tachometer and speedometer with sportier red needles. There’s also an extra page on the infotainment screen where you can bring up performance gauges to show off how much turbo boost you’re using or g-forces you are pulling while you drive. 

What’s The Hyundai Veloster Engine Like?

As mentioned earlier, there are two engine choices – the 2.0-litre Veloster and the forced induction Veloster Turbo.

The Veloster’s powerplant is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit that replaces the old model’s wheezy 1.6-litre four-pot. This new engine is good for 110kW of power at 6200rpm and 180Nm of torque at 4500rpm, which isn’t a lot but is adequate for a small hatch. It’s paired to your choice of a six-speed manual or automatic transmission and returns fuel economy figures of 7.0-litres per 100km and 7.1L/100km, respectively.

While it looks sporty the 2.0-litre Veloster doesn’t feel racy on the road. There’s adequate performance but nothing more, if you really want to get it going you need to wind it up above 6000rpm. If you do the manual is well-matched to it, with a nice spread of ratios that allow you to shuffle the cogs to keep the engine on the boil. But around town and in the auto, there really is not much to split the Veloster and the i30 in terms of the way the engine performs.

The Turbo is a different story. It gets the same 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder you’ll find in the i30 N Line. It’s good for 150kW of power at 6000rpm and 265Nm of torque at 1500-4500rpm; or 275Nm on overboost.

It comes with a six-speed manual for those who want to embrace the sportier, more engaging side of the Veloster, or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic for those who prefer the two-pedal layout. The manual returns 7.3L/100km while the auto is the most efficient option of the range, using a claimed 6.9L/100km.

The output of this engine puts it firmly in ‘warm hatch’ territory, packing more punch than the 2.0 but still well short of the 202kW i30 N hot hatch (it’s worth noting here that Hyundai offers a Veloster N in selected markets but it won’t be built in right-hand drive, unfortunately).

It offers up a lot more punch than the entry-level Veloster, feeling more in tune with the looks of the car. There’s an even spread of torque across the middle of the rev range so it always feels willing to pull whenever you put your foot down. 

There are three Drive Modes too – Normal, Sport and Eco – that adjusts the throttle response and shift mapping (on the auto) to add to the driving experience.

One area where the Turbo falls short of the Veloster’s sporty looks is the soundtrack. The engine sounds dull and mechanical, lacking the rorty note and fizz you’d expect to emit from such a bold looking car.

What’s The Hyundai Veloster Like To Drive?

It’s important to recognize that while the Veloster technically falls under the definition of a ‘sports car’, Hyundai acknowledges that it is, in reality, a hatchback at heart. So instead of measuring it against a Toyota 86, Mazda MX-5 or Ford Mustang it really needs to be benchmarked against an i30 or Mazda3.

But that hasn’t stopped the company from trying to make it a more dynamic offering. Torsional rigidity has been increased by 28 per cent, there’s a faster steering rack (2.7 turns lock-to-lock) and all-new multi-link rear suspension. Plus all models ride on Michelin Pilot Sport tyres for better grip.

But the underpinnings are still largely the same as you find underneath an i30, so naturally, the two cars feel very similar on the road. That’s not a criticism though, as the current generation i30 is a fun and engaging small car to drive.

On the twisty mountain roads we sampled the Veloster on at this week’s launch in Queensland the Veloster – both 2.0 and 1.6 Turbo – performed admirably. The chassis felt responsive, as did the steering, making for an enjoyable drive. 

The locally tuned suspension can be noisy at times but the Hyundai Australia team have once again done a great job of making the car feel at home on our patchy local roads. There’s a nice balance between body control and comfort that suits the Veloster’s sporty image.

Ultimately, though, the Veloster is a warm hatch and can’t really compare against the likes of the i30 N, Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST. While we may lament the lack of the Veloster N locally, the Turbo will fill the needs of most looking for a small car with a splash of sportiness and a lot of style.

How Safe Is The Hyundai Veloster?

Standard safety equipment across the range includes six-airbags, forward collision warning (city), driver attention warning and lane keeping assist. Stepping up to the Turbo models brings more gear like active cruise control, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert and forward collision warning with inter-urban and pedestrian detection; at least on the automatic models, as the systems aren’t compatible with the manual gearbox.

What Are The Hyundai Veloster Alternatives?

Hyundai sees no shortage of rivals with a broad range spanning the Toyota 86 to the Mini Cooper and even the Nissan Juke and Toyota C-HR compact SUVs. 

More likely rivals will be the i30 N Line (and potentially i30 N) as well as other warm hatches, including the Mazda3 G25, Kia Cerato GT, Ford Focus ST-Line and Peugeot 308 GT.

2019 Hyundai Veloster Pricing And Specifications

Priced from $29,490 plus on-road costs.

Powered by either a 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 110kW and 180Nm or a 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine producing 150kW and 265Nm.

Transmissions are a six-speed automatic or manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

Fuel economy is 7.0L/100km (2.0-litre) and 6.9L/100km (1.6-litre turbo).

ANCAP has not tested this car yet.

Editor's Rating

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Hyundai has draped a dramatic and quirky three-door body over the same underpinnings as the popular i30 to create something unlike anything else on the market. The Veloster is funky and sporty without being a sports car, but it’s not as practical as a hatch so you are trading substance for style.

Stephen Ottley

Stephen Ottley