2019 Hyundai Veloster Review
2019 Hyundai Veloster Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Vehicle Test EngineerCalvin Kim is an automotive journalist at Edmunds.
- Unique and functional three-door body style
- Enjoyable power from the Veloster's turbocharged engine
- Sporty handling around turns
- Base engine is down on power
- Less trims and option packages mean fewer choices
- No power seat adjustments
- New exterior and interior design
- New 2.0-liter inline-four base engine
- Revised suspension for better handling
- Part of the second Veloster generation introduced for 2019
The 2019 Hyundai Veloster is fully redesigned. Hyundai made a variety of subtle changes to improve it compared to the first-generation Veloster, yet the car's signature design element continues to be its unique door configuration. Instead of being just another compact two-door hatchback, the Veloster has a single driver-side door and two passenger-side doors. That extra door makes carrying a third, or even fourth, passenger a piece of cake because there's no need for the contortions a typical passenger must go through in order to get into the rear seat of a coupe.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2019 Hyundai Veloster 2.0 3dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 6M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.12 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$136/mo for Veloster 2.0
Avg. Compact Car
Power from either of the two mainstream available engines won't win any horsepower awards, but the turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine (201 hp, 195 lb-ft) is plenty sporty for this lightweight car. The new base engine, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, produces 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. It's enough to get the Veloster moving, but that's about it.
There is, however, an added performance variant this year: the 2019 Veloster N. The N is similar to the Turbo R-Spec, but the N moniker speaks to loftier ambitions: racetrack durability in a car you drive every day. The transformation involves the usual upgrades — more power, firmer suspension, stickier tires and bigger brakes. The N's turbo 2.0-liter engine cranks out 250 hp, or 275 hp when equipped with the optional Performance pack.
On the technology side, the new Veloster gets lane keeping assist, forward collision mitigation, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard equipment. Some optional equipment on higher-trim vehicles include an 8-inch infotainment display, an Infinity eight-speaker audio system, automatic climate control, and wireless charging pad.
Overall, the 2019 Veloster fills a niche as a sporty and usable hatchback with good in-car technology and usability. Compared to the last Veloster, it's a more cohesive and comfortable car that performs better. Other compact hatchbacks, such as the Honda Civic and the Kia Forte5, feature more interior volume with similar levels of handling. But nothing else on the road offers the Veloster's unique three-door configuration.
Edmunds' Expert Rating8.3 / 10
The 2019 Hyundai Veloster is a sporty hatchback coupe that offers a little extra functionality thanks to its unique three-door configuration. But the sportiness only applies if you get the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine. The 2.0-liter engine is underwhelming and doesn't have any efficiency benefit.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Hyundai Veloster R-Spec (turbo 1.6L inline-4 | 6-speed manual | FWD).
|Overall||8.3 / 10|
The Veloster, especially the R-Spec, captures the spirit of small, light, front-wheel-drive sport compacts. It's an all-around fun-to-drive car, with approachable handling and just enough steering feel. Both the automatic and manual transmissions work OK, but each has quirks that slightly diminish this otherwise excellent hatchback.
Power from the 1.6-liter turbo comes on quickly around 3,000 rpm, with no real lag, and holds until within 700 rpm of the redline. There's enough torque down low for city driving. The engine's strength through the midrange makes it fun to rev. With the automatic, the Veloster Turbo managed 0-60 mph in a quick 6.3 seconds in Edmunds testing. We also tested a car with the manual. The accel time increased to 7.2 seconds, in part because of how the clutch engages.
The Veloster's brakes start off soft initially but firm up and provide more feel as pressure increases, making them easy to modulate and pleasing to use. The R-Spec managed a superb 60-0 mph braking distance of 108 feet in Edmunds testing, due in part to the sticky summer tires it comes with. We've also tested a Veloster with the all-seasons; we observed a stop of 122 feet, which is average for the class.
The steering is precise but a bit light in Normal mode. In Sport, the weighting matches the car's character, and resistance builds naturally through turns. There's just enough feel from the tires to give you extra confidence and add to the fun. The on-center feel is a little numb, but enough that freeway cruising isn't a chore.
The Veloster is a fun little car: There's only the slightest body roll, and it's well controlled during transitions. Turn-in is light and the car is eager to change direction. Grip from the R-Spec's sticky tires is phenomenal. Overall, the Veloster is engaging and predictable on the road, encouraging you to have a good time.
The automatic transmission behaves as you'd expect in both Normal and Sport modes, and it responds quickly to manual input from the paddles. Unfortunately, shifts — especially downshifts — can take noticeably longer to engage than we'd like. With the manual, the shifter action is a bit rubbery during travel. The clutch pedal feels a little mushy, and there's a restrictor that slows engagement.
The Veloster is sportier than most compact cars, but it's comfortable, if a bit basic. The ride is composed and stable, the seats pleasantly supportive, and the classic climate control is easy to use. We do wish the manual seats had adjustable lumbar.
The R-Spec's seats are nicely shaped and have a pleasantly soft but grippy cloth covering and an appropriate amount of bolstering. There's a good range of adjustability, but the seats lack adjustable lumbar, which will limit comfortable seat time for some drivers.
The Veloster is very settled and doesn't wallow when driving over bumps. But the ride is undeniably sporty and on the stiff side. The suspension both takes the edge off larger bumps and irons out cracks and smaller imperfections, but the short wheelbase makes the car more sensitive to choppy roads.
Noise & vibration6.5
Cabin noise is middle-of-the-road for the class. Road and wind noise shows up at freeway speeds. The engine note is persistent, which can become a little wearying on longer freeway drives. Depending on which tires you have, tire noise can become increasingly intrusive.
In lower-trim Velosters, you control the climate system through a classic two-dial control that has clearly marked buttons. It doesn't get more straightforward than this. Higher trims have single-zone climate control, which is also easy to use and highly functional. But some competitors have dual-zone at this price.
The interior is intelligently designed and packaged. Even though the Veloster is small, it makes good use of the available space and its asymmetrical door design. The back seat is even usable by adults of about average size or smaller. But the long driver's door can be awkward in tight spaces, and the rear roof pillars obstruct some visibility.
Ease of use9.0
The controls are clearly marked and logically grouped, and both the trip computer and infotainment system are straightforward to learn. There's not a lot going on in this car, but what's there is easy to find and simple to use.
Getting in/getting out7.0
The long driver's side door and relatively forward position of the seat can make getting in and out of the car tough in tight parking spaces. But if you have space to swing the door wide, it's a breeze to get in for such a low car. The short passenger-side doors can open wide even with limited space, making access much easier. Getting into the rear seat requires ducking under the sloping roof.
The driving position is appropriately low and sporty, making you feel nicely ensconced. There's also a good amount of steering wheel telescope, although the shifter is a bit far forward on the console. Taller drivers might feel like they have to sit a little farther forward than they'd prefer.
Room up front is generous, with plenty of knee and shoulder room. The back seat has more room than you might think, and adults of average size or smaller should fit fine. Kneeroom is good for how small the car is. But headroom is a limiting factor, and there's very little toe room under the seatbacks.
The roof pillars are relatively thick, but the Veloster still provides a clear view forward. Rear visibility is also good, but the massive rear pillars create large blind spots in the rear three-quarters view. The wide mirrors and a good camera help a lot.
There's a lot of hard plastic around the interior, but most touchpoints use nicer materials. A good variety of textures and colors liven up the cabin. The car feels solid and substantial, with tight panel construction and tolerances for the class.
For such a small vehicle, the Veloster has excellent utility. The trunk is surprisingly spacious. However, it relies on a low load floor to create space, which makes for a noticeable liftover. There's also lots of interior storage. The Veloster might not be the best pick if you're frequently installing and removing a car seat.
The door pockets are a bit shallow, but they are wide and can hold water bottles. You also get anti-tip cupholders, a generous cubby in the center stack, and a sizable center armrest box. Rear passengers get cupholders and a small tray but no seatback pockets.
The trunk is surprisingly generous for the car's small footprint, with 19.9 cubic feet of volume. But a lot of that volume is height. The load floor is very low, which means there's a lot of liftover — heavy items will be more awkward to load and unload. The rear seats fold down but not fully flat.
Child safety seat accommodation6.0
LATCH anchors are clearly marked but are just tucked between cushions without any special access. Top tethers are on the trunk floor, so setting up a seat means getting in the trunk, which impinges on trunk space.
Our manual-transmission R-Spec test car was about as stripped-down as the Veloster gets, but it had Hyundai's very functional infotainment with smartphone connectivity and a very good stereo system. Fully loaded, the Veloster comes with nearly every feature in the book.
Audio & navigation8.0
The Infinity-branded stereo system is very good for the class. There's decent clarity and plenty of bass response, with no distortion or harshness as the volume rises. Hyundai's navigation system is basic but clear and easy to use, but it's only available on the Turbo Ultimate trim.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and they work as you'd expect. A 12-volt plug, auxiliary jack, and both a USB data and a USB charging port are standard, and some trims come with a wireless charging pad. Hyundai also offers a connected app for remote functions.
The base car gets a handful of aids, including lane-keeping and collision warning. Midtrim Velosters come with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, but only the Turbo Ultimate gets adaptive cruise. Adaptive cruise can't take the car to a full stop, which is becoming a more common feature. We also had some issues with automatic emergency braking panicking and stopping more than a car length short of cars ahead, even when the driver attempted to intervene.
Voice controls are limited to a handful of functions, but they respond well. A guide is displayed on the infotainment screen, and it adjusts a bit to your commonly used commands. Thankfully for some commands you can skip superfluous steps and just say what you want.
Which Veloster does Edmunds recommend?
If you're looking at the Veloster, we're assuming you're exploring the sportier end of the hatchback spectrum. For that role, we recommend the R-Spec due to its turbocharged engine, sport-tuned suspension and standard summer performance tires. All are standout features in the class.
2019 Hyundai Veloster models
The 2019 Hyundai Veloster is a three-door hatchback that seats four people. It is available in six trims. The base 2.0 model is well-equipped on tech features, while the next-up 2.0 Premium adds some luxury features. Both are powered by a 2.0-liter inline-four (147 hp, 132 lb-ft). The next three trims are powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four (201 hp, 195 lb-ft).
The Turbo R-Spec adds performance features while keeping it simple. The Turbo adds safety and luxury features, while the Turbo Ultimate combines the best from both and adds even more luxury amenities. Headlining the lineup is the Veloster N with its upgraded engine and performance parts.
The 2.0 model is the only Veloster variant that rides on 17-inch wheels. It comes with a six-speed manual transmission as standard, but it can be optioned with a six-speed automatic. Since the 2.0 is the base car, all its features are standard on every other variant. These features include safety features such as a forward collision mitigation system, lane keeping assist and a rearview camera. The 7-inch infotainment system features standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, Bluetooth, two USB ports and a six-speaker sound system.
Premium models add 18-inch wheels and come with the six-speed automatic transmission as standard. Also standard is additional safety equipment such as blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. In addition, standard luxury equipment includes a sunroof, automatic climate control, heated front seats, and a proximity entry system with push-button start. The infotainment system gets a boost as well thanks to an 8-inch display, Hyundai's Blue Link connected services, a standard wireless charging pad, and an eight-speaker Infinity audio system with satellite radio.
The Turbo R-Spec is our favorite of the line. It has the turbocharged engine, a standard six-speed manual transmission (the automatic isn't offered here), summer performance tires and a sport-tuned suspension. R-Spec equipment includes much of what you get with the 2.0 with bits of Premium intermixed throughout, such as the infotainment system, Blue Link connectivity, and the proximity entry system and push-button start. R-Spec specific items include LED headlights with high-beam assist, LED taillights and its own cloth seat design.
For the Veloster Turbo, Hyundai essentially takes the Premium and adds the turbocharged engine, the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and special interior trim. The Turbo Ultimate reverts back to a standard six-speed manual transmission, with the dual-clutch transmission as an option. It also comes with some luxury equipment, such as leather seating surfaces, a head-up display and a built-in navigation system. Also included is additional safety equipment encompassing a forward collision mitigation system that features pedestrian detection, automatic wipers, and adaptive cruise control for automatic transmission-equipped cars.
For the N, Hyundai drops in a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine good for 250 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. It also comes with a six-speed manual transmission, a reinforced body structure, N-specific suspension tuning with adaptive dampers, performance brakes, 18-inch wheels with stickier tires, a rear wing, special red accents and sport front seats. An optional Performance package for the N adds a limited-slip front differential, a variable exhaust, 19-inch wheels, even bigger brakes and an extra 25 hp.
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Exactly what I wanted
Ron Fox, 10/15/2018
2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo 3dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
This car gets left out of a lot of interesting comparisons for some reason. Maybe it's because Hyundai hasn't had the reputation like some of the other manufacturers, or because the third door puts it in between a sedan and a coupe. It doesn't matter, this is a really great car that I'm guessing most people won't find. I chose it over the Mazda 3 because for the same price, it had far … more options, was more efficient and had way more pop on the throttle. I also felt that the interior quality was much higher particularly at the the joints and seams of the trim. The warranty was also out of this world. Actual driving usage puts this car much higher than EPA estimate MPG ratings. I routinely get 39mpg in mixed traffic on normal driving mode. Smart (eco) sees even higher efficiency numbers at the expense of acceleration. Sport mode is just a blast. I do not fully understand how to drive this car with the paddle shifters, however. This car is my commuter and provides great comfort for me (a larger guy) and enough room to comfortably fit (and access) a child seat in the back for morning school drop off. All of the doors shut with a very solid, sealing, "thunk" akin to german car manufacture and quality. The Inifinity stereo system is perfect in this car with a high degree of clarity across multiple genres of music and audio indications. Blind spot monitoring is far less spastic than other cars I've driven, maybe 10 -15' zone of interest rather than 40'. I think the thing that you're not going to see in a lot of these reviews is the fact that this car has absolute soul. When you sit in the driver seat, you feel in total control - completely connected to the car. You're in a cockpit designed to give the driver everything you need. Some of it is modern convenience. The rest of it is feel. I love the red accents, from the bottom air scoop in the front of the car to the seat trim, to the steering wheel. The leather is high quality, firm to the touch. The plastic (which gets highly criticized in reviews) on the door panels is hard and firm - it does not bend when you push it even in the broad areas. The DCT with the turbo provide instantaneous power when passing on a highway. I find myself still waiting for the downshift and still being surprised when it just happens without the delay. Android auto on the 8" touchscreen is great - you can actually split screen the thing to look at two things at once. The rear visibility is probably the worst thing about the car - on the highway it's not an issue, but backing out of my driveway, I feel like I can't see much. The backup camera does a great job of providing a broad field of view however, I'm just not used to it yet. Otherwise, I wish it had a built in garage door opener.
5 out of 5 stars
My new grocery getter
Lou Kirchner, 12/24/2018
2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Ultimate 3dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I have always been a car nut from before I even knew how to drive. I have probably owned more cars than any sane person would. I presently have a large premium German sedan and a 1965 Shelby Cobra ( makes a lot of sense for a man my age?). I recently purchased a 2019 Velositer Turbo Ultimate. I still can"t get over the value, fit and finish, drive characteristics and comfort in a … car of this size and price. People have no idea as to what kind of car this is and it does draw quite a few second looks. I will use the car for local driving and errand hopping but so far it is my favorite go to car. Great value and a heck of a lot of fun!!!
5 out of 5 stars
Great little car
2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo 3dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
I purchased a 2019 Veloster, traded in a 2016. Many changes in the Veloster in 3 years. I got the Turbo model, all of the safety featuers and more. The difference between the two, transmission smother, better fuel economy, more featuers to help the driver. Lane keep assist, blond spot and cross traffic. I agree with Ron Fox , this car doesn't get the reviews it should. Always compared to … civic r and GTI, these cars cost much more equipped the way the Veloster is. Most reviews recommend the Turbo spec, yet I would say 90% of the people can't drive a 6 speed transmission. The warranty is better than most car's, 5 years or 60,000 miles.
5 out of 5 stars
Way to fun to drive!!!
Jerrianne Collins, 11/15/2018
2019 Hyundai Veloster 2.0 Premium 3dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
I have only had this car (2019) for about 2 month. I LOVE it. I love cars to begin with and had a 1999 Cougar for about 20 years that I loved. I turned it in (couldn't find a part to fix it) and got a Ford focus, manual tranny. It was good. I liked it. Had power. But the Velostar I LOVE! It is me. I am over 50 but have always loved sportier cars. The handling is great. I took … it down the coast route, Hwy 101 in Oregon which has quite a few sharp turns. It did great. Smiled all the way home. I thought Hyundai's were cheap cars but I think this is better than my Ford focus. It does have a short 'back door' (if it had one) window on the drivers side so is a little hard to see out of but I don't have too much trouble seeing behind me. Maybe because I am tall. I don't think I can think of any problems. I know that I am so glad I bought this car. I think Ron Fox (another review) said it all.
2019 Hyundai Veloster videos
CARLOS LAGO: While it's not going to win any beauty pageants, the Honda Civic Type R is the de facto hot hatch. It's a blast to drive, with really engaging handling and pleasing road manners. KURT NIEBUHR: But what's its biggest competitor? How about the Hyundai Veloster N. It's Hyundai's first proper hot hatch for the USA, and I think it's up for the challenge. The question is, which one's worth your money? That's what we're going to find out. But before we get started, don't forget to click Like, Subscribe, and make sure to visit Edmunds to find your perfect car. OK, OK. So these cars don't line up quite so perfectly. Yeah, they're both high performance hatchbacks. Both have 2-liter, turbo-charged, four-cylinder engines, six-speed manual transmissions, automatic rev matching, and they both seat four people. There are differences, though, and big ones, too. For example, the Veloster has three doors. The Civic has three exhaust pipes. Price is a bigger concern. The Honda costs $6,700 more than the Veloster as equipped. And that's assuming you can find one of these at MSRP. It's also more powerful, even when the Veloster N is equipped with its performance back, like this one is. So the question really is, is the Honda's higher price worth the extra dough? First up, instrumented performance testing at the Edmunds test track. With a superior power-to-weight ratio, the Civic is unsurprisingly faster than the philosopher in a straight line. This particular Type-R, though, was a few tenths slower than the last one we tested. It had noticeable intervention that prevented quick up shifts. We suspected this was due to reliability concerns. After all, what good is 3/10 off your 0 to 60 time if you don't have a transmission to drive home with. Launching the Veloster N is tricky. The tires have a lot of grip when warm, and it's difficult to find the sweet spot between bogging the engine and excessive tire spin. On the upside, you could shift the six-speed transmission as quickly as you like. Both cars need to shift to third gear to reach 60 miles an hour, which worsens their 0 to 60 time and makes it less indicative of overall acceleration. Look at the quarter mile, though, and you see the Civic is much faster. The Civic consistently stops shorter than the Veloster during testing, with a nine-foot difference between the two best performances from these cars. Both vehicles are stable and predictable under simulated panic stops. Neither car exhibited odor or fade during testing, indicating they'll withstand normal use on a race track. It's worth noting that the lateral G-averages were the same regardless of stability control, showing that both car's stability control systems are tuned for high-performance driving. CARLOS LAGO: So as expected, the Honda Civic outperformed the handover lost her hand at the test track. But will those results translate to the racetrack? KURT NIEBUHR: Now, because we're at a race track, you'll probably hear some cars flying by. We spent all morning lapping these two cars and destroying their tires in the process. CARLOS LAGO: Much like you, we aren't pro racing drivers. And if you Google around, you'll find fast lap times for at least one of these vehicles. What we're actually interested in, though, is the difference in lap time that we've got from these two cars. And again, the faster car is the Civic Type R. KURT NIEBUHR: So if that's all you came here for, there's your answer. CARLOS LAGO: Now for the rest of you who care about how these actually drive from behind the wheel, that's what really get into next. KURT NIEBUHR: So Carlos, this car's fast. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah, boy howdy. I mean, of course, it's the more powerful car here. It's the more fundamentally designed vehicle here, and the more expensive car, too, so no surprise. But man, you get going real quick in this. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, it's almost hard to drive this car. It takes a couple laps, simply because you have to get used to how fast it is. CARLOS LAGO: But beyond the speed this car feels special. It doesn't feel like a tarted up Civic. It feels like a special version of a car that has some resemblance to a Civic. Some of that's going to be in the engine, and that's going to be in the chassis, some of that's going to be in the decorative stuff here, like the production number right behind the shifter-- the metal shifter, the red interior accents. All that stuff kind of speaks to how significant of a car this is. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, I feel that a base Civic is at such a high level that it allowed Honda to focus more on the little special bits and pieces like that. CARLOS LAGO: You get this suspension that feels really sophisticated in the sense that it's really comfortable on the road. This doesn't punish you like so many firms sports cars do. This is a genuinely daily drivable car. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, and you could drive it in the plus R mode that we're in right now, and it wouldn't be over the top. We're driving on a really bumpy course surface, and it still rides really well. CARLOS LAGO: When the car is smooth and controlled at high speed, you are concerned about how it's moving around. And that allows you to go even faster. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah. CARLOS LAGO: It allows you to go harder into braking zones, not be worried about, oh, can I maintain this speed through this corner here. There's a couple hairy corners on this track that this car feels totally fine in. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, but it is, after all, a front-wheel drive car. CARLOS LAGO: Yes. KURT NIEBUHR: And what I found that I had to do was really manage the power application coming out of even medium speed corners the car will light the inside front tire up, and it's cool, but it's slow. CARLOS LAGO: We have a ton of torque, and we have front-wheel drive car, so you have to drive these things responsibly. When you do it, it rewards you. I would go as far to say that this thing drives as good as its design is silly. KURT NIEBUHR: Absolutely. Absolutely. CARLOS LAGO: We've got three exhaust tips. That's very silly. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah. CARLOS LAGO: This thing drives that well. On the downside, engine sound. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, it's actually hard to drive this car at the limit simply because when you're wearing a helmet, it's almost silent on the inside, even in plus R mode when it does get a little bit more race-y, this is still not much louder than a basic Civic. CARLOS LAGO: You have to watch the tac. I caught myself frequently balancing off the limiter just because I didn't realize it because the sounds not there. I love these seats. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah. CARLOS LAGO: Bucket seats are tricky. When I get in and out of this car, I have to put the seat back in order to comfortably exit it because these thigh bolsters make getting in and out difficult. But on the road just commuting in this thing, they're wonderful. KURT NIEBUHR: They're also very breathable seats. This car is so comfortable on the road. This is the car I want to drive home. CARLOS LAGO: It's the little things. That get the shifter right. They get the clutch engagement right. The steering feedback isn't quite as there as the Veloster, but the effort is good. KURT NIEBUHR: Also, that the brake pedal on this car really deserves special mention. It's high, it's firm, but it's never touchy. It's exactly where you want it to be on the street. It's exactly where you want it to be on the track, and it adds confidence. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah, I think my only real demerits on this car are engine sound, rev matching isn't as aggressive as I would like it to be as somebody who uses rev matching, and shame on me, and blah, blah, blah. I can read the YouTube comments now. And it has three exhaust tips. So the overall design is just so cartoonish, the opposite of how the car drives. It's an absolute standout. KURT NIEBUHR: And it's fast. CARLOS LAGO: It rips. It rips. It rips but it's stable. Like through this high speed section here, you feel like you can carry so much speed through this blind complex of corners. And this is a hairy corner at full speed. KURT NIEBUHR: It is. So that's thumbs up from you? CARLOS LAGO: I'd say two. Well, maybe a thumb up and a half for-- I hate to keep coming down on the design, but-- KURT NIEBUHR: I would have to say that, even though I like driving both cars, this is the car I would want to drive home. CARLOS LAGO: I agree. KURT NIEBUHR: All right, so why don't we go hop in the Veloster? CARLOS LAGO: I think we should. KURT NIEBUHR: I'm really surprised that we're even driving a 2019 Hyundai Veloster. And it's because when the Veloster first came out, it was such a unique and interesting vehicle, but it wasn't that good to drive. I expected it to just kind of come out for a couple of years then Hyundai go, whoops, and never build a second one. But I'm really impressed that they came back and they built an all new Hyundai Veloster. And you know what? I like it. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah, it's neat that not only has a mainstream automaker decided to make a three-door hatchback, they've also made this N version, which is a really well done $30,000 hot hatch. Yeah, they've transformed the standard Veloster into a very enjoyable car doing the usual hot hatch tricks. You know, really stiff suspension, turbo motor that's really powerful, and they've executed a really fun to drive car for the money. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, and not only that, but in the process they've given this car so much personality. It's scrappy. CARLOS LAGO: Both of these cars-- the Civic and the Veloster-- are slow cars made fast. This definitely feels like a slow car made fast. KURT NIEBUHR: Absolutely. CARLOS LAGO: You still have the Veloster interior trappings-- this plastic is pretty stiff and firm, not very good to look at. The shifter-- it works, but it still feels like it has the original Veloster trappings going on with it. On the other hand though, the trick bits are really trick, right? This engine makes good power, has good throttle response, it's very vocal, a lot more so than the Civic, and that means when you're hitting red line you can actually hear it happening. And I'm not staring at the tac in this car like I have to in the Type R. The rev matching works really well, and that's one thing I really like, as somebody who likes using rev matching. I know a lot of people out there who don't, but I like the fact that I can just trust it every single time. In the Civic, I don't. KURT NIEBUHR: And there is something else that the Veloster has that I wish the Civic had, and that's the ability to really go in and adjust every electronic setting. So you can change the way the car rev matches. You can change the limited slip settings. You can change the suspension settings, the throttle mapping, the exhaust settings. Everything can be customized. CARLOS LAGO: And then we have to talk about the parts where this falters a little bit versus the Civic. This car feels fast. KURT NIEBUHR: Yes. CARLOS LAGO: But the data shows it is not relative to the Civic. KURT NIEBUHR: That is true, and I think if you drove them in isolation, you would swear they're just as fast, especially with how involving it is to drive the Veloster N. It's a very exciting car to drive. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah, but when you look at the data, when you look at the lap times, when look at cornering speeds driving the two back to back, it's very apparent that the Civic is that much faster. And, of course, it's a more expensive car. No duh. It's more powerful, and so on and so forth. But I think that really isn't a discredit to the Veloster. I think it's part of the driving satisfaction. The Veloster decided to go with mechanically adjust-- electronically controlled mechanical flap in the exhaust that helps it make that pop. There's certainly a mode that switches on when you do that. The Civic, they've opted to go with a non-electronically adjustable thing. It's just those three pipes that work with different kind of back pressure to make it sound the way it does. That's nice on the road because it doesn't drone, but you don't get that excitement on the track that this thing has. KURT NIEBUHR: And I hate to bring in the way a car looks because that's so subjective. The Veloster drives like the Civic looks. The Civic drives like the Veloster. CARLOS LAGO: Exactly. But this is a ton of fun. I can't say that enough. Steering is really well weighted. Good feedback through it. Brakes are powerful. Everything here-- all the touch points. They've done their homework in making of Veloster N. KURT NIEBUHR: I actually prefer the feedback that comes through the wheel and in the Veloster than I do through the Civic. And that may be a function of how sophisticated and smooth everything is in that Civic. But I really like it in this car. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah I would not feel bad about driving this car daily. KURT NIEBUHR: Not at all. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah. As we come around this flat, skid pad like area-- both of these cars have a ton of power going into the front wheels, and under steer fighting it, especially when you're trying to power out is always an issue. What happened when you were doing that? KURT NIEBUHR: I found myself having to be very, very patient. Even though the limited slip is very sophisticated in this car, you have to wait because it's so easy to overwhelm the fronts on this car. And it's easy to get into a corner a little bit too quickly. And it's easy to get out of the corner a little bit too quickly. And front wheel drive cars are so dependent on the front tires. If you overcook them, you've lost them for a lap and you have to cool them down. CARLOS LAGO: Absolutely, or as we found, you can shoot chunks right off of them. KURT NIEBUHR: Yes, you can. CARLOS LAGO: What is amazing about both of these cars-- the Civic Type R is a very torque-y front drive car. No torques here. This is a very torque-y front wheel drive car, as well. No torques here. So verdict on the Veloster N? Thumb up. One thumb. KURT NIEBUHR: So, who wins? Actually, all of us win because both are fantastic hot hatches. They're so fun to drive. CARLOS LAGO: But the question we set out to answer is, is the Civic Type R's additional price worth it? Yes. KURT NIEBUHR: Absolutely, yes. CARLOS LAGO: From the moment that you sit in it, it feels very special. And then you start driving the car and it's so fast and it's comfortable and it's compliant, and it's really fast. Honda's made a great hot hatchback, and that doesn't mean the Veloster N is a bad car. If you can only swing 30 grand, you're going to have a lot of fun with this thing. Hyundai's turned the Veloster into something that's genuinely fun to drive, and still is really functional as a daily driver, too. Problem is, the Veloster N just can't hold a candle to how special the Civic Type R is to drive. And that's why the Civic wins this comparison. Now for more information on vehicles like these and for all your car shopping needs, be sure to visit Edmunds.com.
2019 Hot Hatchback Battle: Honda Civic Type R vs. Hyundai Veloster N
When it comes to performance, the Honda Civic Type R is the hottest of the hot hatchbacks. Meanwhile, the latest newcomer to the scene is the Hyundai Veloster N. The Hyundai costs much less and isn't as powerful, but is the Honda's additional performance worth the extra money? That's… the question this Honda Civic Type R vs. Hyundai Veloster N comparison test seeks to answer.
2019 Veloster Highlights
|Combined MPG||28 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$136/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||5 years / 60,000 miles|
Our experts like the Veloster models:
- Blue Link
- Alerts the authorities in case of an accident, locks and unlocks the doors, and checks vehicle status, all from your smartphone.
- Rear Parking Sensors
- Audibly warns you of impending obstacles to the rear of the vehicle.
- Rearview Camera
- Shows you what's behind the Veloster when you put it in reverse.