The Hyundai Veloster was completely redesigned for the latest model year. A new "N" model has been added, slotting above the old R-Spec and taking the crown as the highest-performance Veloster available.
Hyundai now offers its funky hatchback in four variants: Veloster, Veloster Turbo, Veloster Turbo R-Spec and Veloster N.
In an era where most cars look like stale photocopies of one another, the Veloster stands out as something truly unique. Sculpted flanks, flared fenders and an aggressive fascia contribute to the Veloster's look, but what really sets it apart is an unusual asymmetrical door configuration.
On the driver's side is a single, elongated coupe door, but the passenger's side features two smaller doors that not only provide a unique appearance, but add an extra measure of practicality, furnishing rear occupants with safe and convenient curbside ingress/egress. Unlike other variations on the three-door theme, the Veloster's rear passenger door is front-hinged and capable of being opened independently from the front portal.
Once inside, passengers will find an attractive, modern dashboard and plenty of standard tech features, including Bluetooth connectivity with Pandora radio capability, a rearview camera and Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system. Blue Link can be spec'd to provide voice text messaging, point-of-interest web search and download, and remote vehicle unlocking in addition to traffic, weather, restaurant and nearby gas station information. It also features Assurance Connected Care, which includes automatic collision notification and assistance, maintenance reminders, an SOS emergency function and more.
As the Veloster is a compact vehicle, it comes as little surprise that the back seat isn't sized for long road trips, but the car's useful hatchback body style affords a useful 19.9 cubic feet of cargo space.
Power and handling
Base models are powered by a naturally aspirated 2.0L engine making 147 horsepower. They also make do with a carry-over twist-beam rear suspension.
The Turbo model is powered by (you guessed it) a turbocharged, 1.6-liter engine that preserves the old Turbo's 201-horsepower output rating. Turbo models get the multi-link independent rear suspension that debuted in the Hyundai Elantra Sport last year.
Turbo models get sportier interior and exterior styling, including unique wheels and "turbo" badges and interior embroidering.
For both models, manual and dual-clutch transmissions are available. Fuel economy figures have not yet been released.
R-Spec bridges the gap between the regular Turbo and the N model. Think of it as a performance package for the Turbo rather than a dedicated track model, which was the case in the previous generation.
R-Spec cars get a revised suspension, unique wheels and upgraded rubber. They are also available exclusively with a manual transmission.
The N model is the big dog. This is where you step up to a Focus-ST-beating 275 horsepower and 260lb-ft of torque from a turbocharged 2.0L engine.
The suspension is high-spec too, with an electronic multi-mode setup along with extra bracing for its mounts. Wider, lightweight wheels wrapped in summer tires finish off the corners.
N models also get aggressively bolstered front seats, further interior trim differentiation, and, of course, a higher price tag.
Standard and optional features
The Veloster is fitted as standard with power windows and locks, A/C, an AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM stereo system with dual USB charging and AUX input jacks, Bluetooth connectivity, Pandora internet radio capability, cruise control, keyless entry, heated mirrors, LED running lights, a rearview camera, Blue Link and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Base models get a 7-inch Display Audio system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration right out of the box.
Upgrades include an 8-inch Display Audio system with navigation, Infiniti premium audio, Blue Link connected services, wireless device charging, automatic climate control, and various safety features.
All Velosters are equipped with dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system. The standard Assurance Connected Care system provides automatic collision notification, an SOS emergency function and more.
Blind spot monitoring, driver attention monitoring, forward-collision assistance and LATCH anchors are standard on all Veloster models. Blind spot collision warning and rear cross-traffic alert are available on higher-trim models.
Some models, depending on features, are also available with LED headlamps and smart cruise control.
Unsurprisingly, the Veloster is the only asymmetrical three-door hatchback on the market. For those willing to consider alternatives, similarly practical, efficient and stylish small cars include the MINI Hardtop and the Fiat 500. It also competes somewhat indirectly with its sibling, the Hyundai Elantra GT.