By on April 15, 2019

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo front quarter

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Ultimate

1.6-liter turbocharged four (201 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 195 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm)

Seven-speed dual clutch transmission, front wheel drive

28 city / 34 highway / 30 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

8.5 city / 6.9 highway / 7.8 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

31.1 (observed mileage, MPG)

Base Price: $29,035 US / $32,231 CAD

As Tested: $29,160 US / $32,412 CAD

Prices include $885 destination charge in the United States and $1,705 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

Hyundai turned itself into a successful brand by building sensible, reliable cars and crossovers that match up nicely with the competition. Where rival carmakers have a product, Hyundai has a very similar alternative. Making a sale by imitating the class leaders is generally a winning strategy.

And then you have the 2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo – a car that really has no similar rival. No other automaker offers an asymmetrical three-door, sloped-rear-light hatchback. No matter how functional it is or how well it drives, all conversations about the Veloster start with its funky layout.

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo profile

Of course, what differentiates the Veloster from a more traditional hatchback are, for me, the big drawbacks. The asymmetrical door arrangement led to a pair of sisters climbing over one another to exit via the single rear door, and that sloping roof cuts down on rear headroom. Every time I drove over a speed bump, my five foot six eldest bashed her skull on the headliner.

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo rear seats

Some of that headroom deficit may lie at the feet of the panoramic sunroof. The wide expanse of glass is nice, should one want a bit more airflow, but it cuts into the head space. Further, I was annoyed by a lack of body rigidity seemingly amplified by the gaping glass hole, as I noted a good number of squeaks, creaks, and rattles above my head, especially when driving spiritedly.

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo front seats

That’s a shame, because the 201 horsepower 1.6 liter turbocharged four practically begs you to go play. Power delivery is excellent, with minimal turbo lag – the full complement of 195 pound/feet of torque is available at 1,500 rpm. The seven-speed dual clutch transmission works well enough, though downshifts can be somewhat sluggish when trying to hustle on that deserted twisty road down by the river.

I beg you, however. If you do take the plunge on a Veloster of your own, make it a manual. While not Miata-perfect, the Hyundai six-speed manual pairs perfectly with this engine, making a very good car even more enjoyable.

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo front

Handling from the short-wheelbase Veloster is superb. While never quite straying into the oversteer category, the multi-link rear suspension (shared with the Elantra GT Sport I so adored last year) is happy to rotate when asked. My only note is an unusually strong self-centering action to the steering. It often feels as if the steering wheel is pulling you back to straight with more gusto than in most cars. My guess is the Veloster is designed to be aligned with more caster than the similar Elantra, to aid stability on interstate drives.

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo rear

While my rear seat passengers complained about bopping their noggins, they were otherwise comfortable, and welcomed the convenient center-mounted cupholders. That plastic console does mean this is a car limited to four passengers, rather than five.

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo interior

I love that Hyundai offers something more interesting than a typical black or charcoal interior – the off-white leather looks wonderful and brightens up the entire cabin. I’d be wary of how long it stays looking nice, of course. The asymmetry on the exterior continues inside, with differently colored sides of the dashboard and door panels. It’s one of those things that strikes you at first, but quickly fades into the background after a few days of living with the car.

Were I to sign a note on a Veloster Turbo – and not the Veloster N, which is an entirely different monster – I’d play right into my thrifty nature and specify the Turbo R-Spec. I’d lose the sunroof, heated seats, rain sensing wipers, leather, navigation, active cruise control, power lumbar support, and wireless cell charging, but I’d save nearly six thousand dollars. I’d miss the active cruise and wireless charger, but I’d have a car that fits me so much better. And it’s only available with the six-speed manual.2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo screenshot

Make mine Sunset Orange.

Really, though, the Veloster Turbo is not the right fit for my family or my lifestyle. I need a bit more headroom and cargo space – I’m hauling kids everywhere all the time, it seems. But if you can live with the baked-in quirks – really, if you love those quirks simply because they are the essence of Veloster – than this funky warm hatch is a great choice.

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo rear quarter

[Images: © 2019 Chris Tonn/TTAC, screenshot via]

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21 Comments on “2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Review – Hyundai Brings the Funk...”

  • avatar

    Sunset Orange? So does that mean you don’t get the incredible colour names that we get north of the border? That’s just called, um, “Tangerine Comet” here. We also have “Cobalt Eclipse”, “Ignite Flame”, and “Shooting Star”, amongst others.

  • avatar

    It is a mystery why this car is still made. Get a Kia Soul instead.

  • avatar

    Neat little car, but its’ biggest problem is that across the showroom, there’s an Elantra Sport sedan that has the same running gear and much of the same equipment, but stickers for about $25,000 (and goes out the door for closer to $21,000).

    Hyundai’s doing a great job with medium-hot sport compacts like this car – as long as you don’t expect GTI/WRX level performance, they’re quite entertaining to drive.

    • 0 avatar

      I get the case for an “N” Veloster but yeah you are right about this Veloster Turbo. Get the Eleantra Sport and you might be able to bring 3 other adult humans with you.

    • 0 avatar

      Nearly the same performance but can bring people in comfort and doesn’t look so uh..”interesting”. I love the hell out of mine. It’s no STI or GTI but for the price is hard to beat.

    • 0 avatar

      While that’s true to a certain extent, if the number of practical human seating spaces is a non-issue, then the Veloster is still a fair competitor. — With regard to the fact that you can option up a LOT more equipment in the Veloster than the Elantra Sport. Such as the panoramic roof, sensing wipers, adaptive cruise, etc.

      I skipped the Elantra Sport the first time, because I wanted a practical car and a lower purchase price. I skipped the Elantra Sport again, and went GT N-Line, because the Elantra Sport (17-18, the 19 is an unattractive refresh) is the lower-cost option for that running gear and I wanted more equipment (fully loaded N-Line).

      Side note, though…. these cars are typically an intake (with catch cans, ideally) and an ECU flash away from 250-ish HP. Which makes it a little more powerful than a GTI, and considering both can be had for the tidy-yet-inexpensive sum of around $1,000 or less, still keeps it cheaper than a GTI SE w/ Performance Package while having more equipment. Though the lack of a LSD for the Hyundais is a minor sticking point.

  • avatar

    Why were your rear passengers climbing over each other to exit. The one closest the door exits first and the other exits next. Is there some complexity to this that I am missing?

    • 0 avatar
      Chris Tonn

      Anxious tween sisters. That’s it.

    • 0 avatar

      This. My old Mini Clubman had the same door arrangement, and it worked just fine. Obviously not ideal if you’re hauling kids all the time, but then if you were you wouldn’t buy this.

      I like it, but it’s not practical enough for me. Not sure there’s much of a market for a cramped 2+2, sadly.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    This would have been in single me ‘s apartment parking lot in early ’00s
    Count me as a fan of the R spec version in red or gray

  • avatar

    We all love to complain about crossovers and how much coverage they get around here, but then a preview of the new bland Ford Escape will rack up dozens of comments. Meanwhile, this quick, weird, affordable, intriguing little thing can only muster up 11 comments. Sigh.

    • 0 avatar

      To be fair, this website is pretty much dedicated to SUVs, pickups, and cuvs. I was rather surprised to see a car review here honestly. I don’t think that’s really the audience?

  • avatar

    The three door layout, is the single most inspired automotive design element since Bangle’s flame surfacing and the Avalanche’s midgate.

    You get to drive a 3 series coupe, while your passengers get to ride in the sedan. The 3 series is a bit of a barge now, but back when it was more tidy, the trade-off between passenger ingress/egress and a properly sized drivers door without the world’s most annoying b-pillar, was one of automobiledom’s greatest conundrums. 3 doors cuts through that Gordian knot like a Katana through butter.

    Also, passengers, in particular kids, really ought to enter and exit a car at the curb side, even if there should happen to be a door street side. In most of the world outside America, and even in some cities in America, newsstands and phone booths don’t have multilane, off street “drop zones” in front of them.

    • 0 avatar

      Saturn launched the 3-door SC coupe in 1999, two years before Chris Bangle’s first hard to look at BMW made it to market.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m not saying Hyundai invented it or anything. Just that it a brilliant way to improve the driving impression of a driver focused, smaller car, without unduly harming passenger carrying ability.

        As for flame surfacing, I think most will agree BMWs (and other cars) prior were better looking. But they also didn’t have beltlines as high, and were hence less slab sided. And cars weren’t as uniform in design as aero and other standardizing requirements now require them to be. If you have to be slab sided and the same as everyone else anyway, you need something to break up the slab and let you stand out. Bangle provided that, without straying from the box externally imposed requirements placed on him

  • avatar

    Come on, when will your reviews, especially of sport-ish cars, catch up with the reality that weight is more important than power? 2899lb belongs at the top of the spec sheet, not way down in the comments.

    Also, how’s it ride? Noise levels? Visibility? Armrests actually usable or a decorative feature a foot behind your elbows?

  • avatar

    I would not eat Kimchee if it were given to me, Same with gook cars

  • avatar

    I own a 2018 Elantra GT Sport, fully loaded, and I just traded my 2017 Elantra Value Edition sedan for a 2019 Elantra GT N-Line, also loaded. In addition, I test drove the Veloster Turbo Ultimate. All of these vehicles, with the DCT.

    I had my heart set on an Elantra Sport sedan, but because of “reasons” I got the Value Edition. Then the Elantra GT Sport came out, and I changed my mind. Then I drove the Veloster Turbo when IT came out, and changed my mind yet again.

    Though for a short time, before going back and forth between the Elantra Sport and the GT Sport/N-Line

    The Veloster is a hoot. It’s fun, it’s funky, and I love it. Even though it’s just me and my partner, with no kids, it still ended up missing the mark and didn’t end up being the “right” car for me. Here’s why, and why I ultimately chose the GT N-Line over the Sport sedan (17-18, the 19 facelift is a huge miss):

    The Veloster’s armrest is adequate for one person. Not two. And it doesn’t slide forward. When he had a 16 Fiesta, we CONSTANTLY elbowed each other. The Elantra GT and sedan, have a wider one that slides forward. For reference, the Veloster

    Veloster and Elantra sedan, both have leather seats without a ventilation option. In Sunny California, and my sweaty butt and back, this was 90% a deal-breaker up front.

    Veloster has a weird and disparate options mix. Rain sensing wipers, when few Hyundai vehicles even offer that. Can I trade those for the vented seats?

    In essence, what I needed was the utility of a hatchback (nix sedan), and something more along the lines of a Touring car (GT) rather than a sport coupe (Veloster)

    It really is a car for just a single person or two for a trip, and that’s it. Though the hatch opening is low, the seats DO fold down quite low and you can fit more in there than you think.

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