Hyundai's 2021 Veloster Comes in Three Flavors, but North of the Border, It's a Very Different Story

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The Hyundai Veloster remains an automotive oddity in a vehicle landscape rapidly shunning nonconformity, and for that, we give Hyundai credit. The car still exists. You author can still recall the first time he ever encountered one in the wild — in historic Vieux-Québec, with the “three-door” hatchback resting quietly under a streetlamp on those cobblestone streets.

A second-generation model landed in the latter part of 2018, with newfound power coming by way of the first N-badged Hyundai. With 250 horses and 260 lb-ft of torque, the Veloster N was a vehicle worthy of the hot hatch banner. And come 2021, it’ll be the only Veloster offered north of the border.

As reported by Driving, the base and mid-level Velosters will disappear from Canadian dealerships for the upcoming model year. That means buyers will no longer have the choice to outfit their oddball hatch with a fairly tepid entry-level 2.0-liter (147 hp, 132 lb-ft) or stouter 1.6-liter turbo (201 hp, 195 lb-ft).

In Canada, the Veloster will only exist to enhance the brand’s performance cred. And performance buyers shall receive, as the 275 hp Performance Package becomes standard for the coming year.

Reasons? Hyundai isn’t saying, but one needs only look at the model’s sales figures to guess why. In all of 2019, Hyundai Canada sold just 1,420 Velosters. Compare that to the model’s debut year, where 5,741 Canucks lined up to look offbeat — and that was in the absence of any N-derived heat. In the first seven months of 2020, Veloster sales amounted to just 572 vehicles.

With an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic arriving for 2021, the hottest of Hyundai’s hatches opens itself up to buyers who never wanted, or never learned, to row their own. Sadly, the elimination of the lower-end Veloster comes at the same time as two other discontinuations in that northern market. The Accent, available only in five-door hatch form in Canada, vanishes from that market come 2021 (the sedan-only model remains in the U.S.), and the same goes for the Elantra GT in North America as a whole.

The latter model was available in turbocharged N Line guise, replacing the identically-equipped Sport model. Replacing all of these affordable hatchbacks? An affordable crossover of diminutive proportions (and power). For an automotive brand that introduced itself to the North American market through its hatchbacks, Hyundai seems to want to get rid of them in a hurry.

[Images: Hyundai]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Aug 16, 2020

    I saw a current generation Veloster a couple weeks ago and noticed it seemed a bit bigger than the last. Is my memory correct in that they used the same, or similar, platform as the Elantra this year versus the first generation riding on the Accent's platform, or a related platform?

    • Todd Hoover Todd Hoover on Aug 17, 2020

      Correct, the current Veloster is built on the Elantra GT platform so it's larger than the original Veloster. I have a 2020 Veloster Turbo and it has been great so far. Nice small hatchback with pretty good pick up (the turbo has 201 hp). I know everyone wants a crossover these days but it fits my needs just fine.

  • Deanst Deanst on Aug 17, 2020

    What subcompacts are left? Spark, Rio, Versa, Accent? In Canada the problem is the value of the dollar. How can Nissan or GM make any money selling $10,000 cars - or 7500 US $ ?

  • FreedMike Well, here's my roster of car purchases since 1981: Three VWsTwo Mazdas (one being a Mercury Tracer, full disclosure)One AudiOne FordOne BuickOne HondaOne Volvo I think I hear Lee Greenwood in the background... In all seriousness, I'd have bought more American cars had they made more of the kinds of cars I like (smaller, performance-oriented).
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X I'll gladly support the least "woke" and the most Japanese auto company out there.
  • Jmo2 I just got an email from the dealership where I bought my car and it looks like everything has $5k on the hood.
  • Lou_BC I suspect that since the global pandemic, dealerships have preferred to stay with the "if you want it, we will order it" business model. They just need some demo models on hand and some shiny bits to catch the impulse buyer. Profits are higher and risks lower this way.
  • Probert When I hear the word "patriot", I think of entitled hateful whining ignorant traitors to democracy. But hey , meant to say "Pass the salt."