Veloster

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2021 Hyundai Veloster Overview

Hyundai’s got a fairly broad stable of small cars, and most of them check all the boxes without ruffling any feathers. The Veloster, a striking three-door hatchback, delivers most of Hyundai’s promises of practicality and reliability in a more interesting package. The current generation of Veloster was introduced in 2019, and the 2021 model carries over mostly unchanged except for a transmission update to the performance-oriented Veloster N model, which we review separately. Rivals include the Honda Civic, Mazda Mazda3, and Volkswagen GTI.

The Veloster is a low, sporty hatchback with an asymmetrical three-door design. Details like gloss black trim and a dual-centered exhaust help the Veloster stand out from the crowd, including its own siblings within the Hyundai lineup.

The Veloster comes powered by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine, with 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT) are available. The Turbo R-Spec model features a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine rated for 201 hp and 195 lb-ft, available only with a six-speed manual transmission. There are further Turbo trims adding a bit more content, and there's the N model, which is reviewed separately. The base Veloster gets the best fuel economy with the automatic transmission, at 27 mpg city, 34 highway, and 30 combined. The Turbo R-Spec model comes in at 26 city, 33 highway, and 29 combined.

The asymmetrical theme carries over in the cabin, creating a driver-centric space where the controls and displays are angled for easy access. The Veloster, which accommodates four passengers, features supportive and comfortable front seats. Cloth upholstery comes standard, and a cloth/synthetic leather combination and genuine leather are optional. If the Veloster has a major drawback, it’s that its interior materials look and feel a little cheap compared to most rivals.

The base infotainment system includes a 7-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a six-speaker audio system. You can upgrade to an 8-inch touchscreen, premium audio, satellite radio, HD Radio, and wireless device charging.

The 2020 Veloster earned the highest rating of Good in all Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tests, as well as a Top Safety Pick rating when equipped with specific headlights and front crash prevention systems. Standard features include a reversing camera with dynamic guidelines, forward collision warning, driver attention warning, and lane-keeping assist. Options include pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

With competitive performance and pricing, the Veloster is an interesting choice for a compact car, without giving up Hyundai’s reputation for value.

Updated

Cherise is a Chicago-based freelance writer and editor with nearly 15 years of experience covering the automotive industry. Cherise loves writing about car culture and sharing common-sense car-buying advice. She owns a 2019 Subaru WRX Series.Gray, 2020 Subaru Outback Onyx XT, 2007 Genuine Buddy Italia 150, 2015 Honda Grom, and 1979 Boston Whaler Montauk.

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