2020 Hyundai Veloster Review

The Veloster coupe has helped Hyundai shake off its dowdy image, with excellent handling and a big dose of visual attitude. It has a single door on the right and two on the left.

2020 Hyundai Veloster
Score breakdown
Safety, value and features
Comfort and space
Engine and gearbox
Ride and handling
Things we like
  •   Punchy turbo, ride and handling, affordable sport coupe
Not so much
  •   Rear seat space, bland non-turbo performance

What stands out?

The second-generation Veloster four-seat coupe brings all the elements of its striking predecessor, but in a more refined package. Like the previous model it comes with some real dynamic ability and is remarkable for having a single door on the driver side and two doors on the passenger side. All Velosters are well appointed, with seats trimmed partly in leather, Apple and Android phone integration, and autonomous emergency braking.

While the original Veloster wasn't a huge seller here by Hyundai standards, the company was happy enough with its place in the lower-priced sports car segment to produce a right-hand version solely for the Australian market.

What might bug me?

Driving at 80km/h on the space-saver spare, until you can fix your full-size flat tyre.

That your Veloster doesn’t feel as fast as it looks. The base Veloster – the less costly of the three spec grades on offer – goes about as hard as a typical small hatchback such as a Toyota Corolla or Hyundai’s own i30. If you want sporty performance to go with the looks, you need the more expensive Veloster Turbo versions, which are much quicker.

Forcing rear passengers to use just the one door (if you plan on making frequent use of both rear seats). Still, this is better than having to squeeze in via the front doors as with traditional coupes.

If you choose an auto Veloster, getting used to the dual-clutch auto gearbox design in city driving. It won’t match the very fluid, elastic response from a standing start that you get with conventional or CVT auto gearboxes, and may therefore require more attention in stop-start traffic or when parking.

What body styles are there?

There’s just the one body style, and that’s a four-door coupe (if you count the three passenger doors and the hatchback).

The Veloster is front-wheel drive, and it is classed as a sports car, lower priced.

What features does every Veloster have?

Proximity key entry and start, which lets you unlock the car and drive away without removing the key from your pocket or bag. To start the Veloster, you push a button on the dashboard.

Cruise control, and 'Hyundai SmartSense' active safety technology including city-speed autonomous emergency braking, driver attention alert, and lane-keeping assist.

A reversing camera, and rear parking sensors.

An audio system with iPod compatibility, AUX and USB inputs, and Bluetooth connectivity for phone calls and audio streaming. This is controlled from a central touchscreen that supports Androd Auto and Apple CarPlay. You can display apps (such as navigation) from compatible smartphones on the touchscreen, and control them from there or by voice.

Tilt and reach adjustment for the leather trimmed steering wheel, and buttons on the wheel for operating the cruise control and the sound system.

Sports front seats with extended bolstered and powered tilt and slide driver's seat adjustment. Air-conditioning that maintains a set temperature and filters the cabin air.

Headlamps that sense when the sun is setting and turn themselves on, and long-lived LED daytime running lamps. Power-folding and heated exterior mirrors. A long glass sunroof, with powered sunshade.

Aluminium alloy wheels in an 18-inch size, and a space-saver spare wheel. A tyre-pressure monitor, which will warn you if a tyre has lost pressure – a major safety feature.

Hill-start assist, which controls the brakes automatically to make take-offs on hills easier.

There are six air-bags: two directly in front of the driver and front-seat passenger; two to protect the front occupants from side impacts; and full-length curtain air-bags to protect the heads of front and rear passengers from side-impacts.

Electronic stability control, which can help avoid a skid occurring. This technology is mandatory on all new cars.

All Velosters are covered by Hyundai’s five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty.

Which engine uses least fuel, and why wouldn't I choose it?

There isn't much of a difference when it comes to fuel economy across the different powertrains. The 1.6-turbocharged petrol engine with the dual-clutch automatic gearbox is the most efficient in paper with an official combined consumption of 6.9 litres/100km.

With the manual gearbox that rises to 7.3 litres/100km, which is higher than the manual and six-speed automatic versions of the 2.0-litre non-turbo engine in the more affordable Velosters that consume 7.0 litres/100km and 7.3L/100km respectively.

Price is main reason you wouldn't choose the automatic turbocharged engine. It is a much stronger and responsive unit than the 2.0-litre, and is much more suited to the Veloster's sporty ambitions.

The 2.0-litre on the other hand isn’t as fast as the car looks – about as quick as a Toyota Corolla.

The turbo's dual-clutch auto works like a robot-controlled manual gearbox. It changes gears for you very swiftly and silently once on the move and reduces fuel use, but it won’t match the fluid, elastic take-up from rest offered by a conventional auto gearbox like the one coupled with the 2.0-litre engine.

What key features do I get if I spend more?

The base spec Veloster comes with the less-powerful 2.0-litre petrol engine and six-speed manual gearbox, with the six-speed auto costing $2300 extra. It also has cloth-trimmed sports seats, a 7.0-inch touchscreen and six-speaker audio system.

Spending more on the Veloster Turbo brings the much more powerful turbocharged and and dual-clutch gearbox if you opt for an auto. In addition, it has bigger front brake discs, more effective headlights, very long-lasting LED taillights, and cloth/leather appointed seats. And it rides more firmly, on suspension that has been tuned for sportier driving.

The infotainment system gains a bigger 8.0-inch screen, satellite navigation, digital radio (DAB+) and eight-speaker Infinity premium audio system.

You also gain more Hyundai SmartSense features including higher-speed autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist protection, high-beam assist, rear-cross traffic warning. The duel-clutch auto version also has adaptive cruise control.

Other extras include paddle shifters on the steering wheel for the dual-clutch auto versions, digital performance gauges, auto-folding door mirrors, auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

The Turbo also brings you sporty visual touches that include a body kit, different wheels, and interior highlights and contrasts.

The most expensive Veloster, the Turbo Premium adds rain-sensing windscreen wipers, leather-appointed seats, heated and ventilate front seats, wireless phone charger, head-up display that shows your speed and other driving information in the windscreen, and electric sunroof.

Does any upgrade have a down side?

Not really. Going for the manual turbocharged car will cost you a bit more in fuel. The Turbo version's body kit may demand you take more care on transitions to steep driveways.

Ignite Flame (red) and Thunder Bolt (yellow) are the only standard colours, with the latter only available with the Turbo versions. All other colours cost about $620 extra.

The Turbo Premium is also available with an optional black contrasting roof for about $1000.

How comfortable is the Veloster?

The Veloster is not a coupe and it’s not a hatch, and as a result picks up both good and bad traits from both.

Up front, there’s next to no difference between sitting in the Veloster as an i30. The floating multimedia screen, twin-tube dash and simple button arrangement straight from the i30 playbook.

It does out on some of the finer fit and finish items of the i30. There’s a lot more rigid plastic in key areas like the tops of the doors, for example, while even the auto models come with a manual handbrake.

The seats – cloth on the entry-level Veloster, cloth/leather on the second-tier Turbo, and leather on the top-rung Turbo Premium – up front are comfortable and decently size, but it’s a different story out back where it can be tight fit for an adult not helped by having just the one door on the left-hand side.

Headroom has been improved over the previous model, but it’s not sufficient for even moderately tall people, and there’s not a lot of room behind the front seats.

Each engine can become a little noisy when revved really hard, and sunroof on the Turbo Premium lets in a bit more wind noise.

The rear multi-link suspension is firm but seems to absorb bumps more comfortably than the Hyundai N-Line and Kia Cerato GT that feature the same multi-link suspension but with harder settings. Ride quality is firm but not brittle, with the Veloster’s stiff base allowing the suspension to do its work to soak up road imperfections.

What about safety in a Hyundai Veloster?

The Veloster comes with six airbags, and its side-curtain airbags extend to the rear compartment so that rear-seat passengers get some cushioning in a side impact. A reversing camera and rear parking sensors are standard, and LED daytime running lamps and auto-on headlamps make it more likely you will be seen in dim light.

All variants come with lane-keeping assist, and autonomous emergency braking (AEB) that uses a camera to detect and prevent or mitigate a collision at speeds up to about 60km/h.

The Turbo variants also have a more advanced radar-operated AEB that works at higher speeds and can also detect pedestrians and cyclists. The Turbos also have blind-spot collision warning, high-beam assist, rear cross-traffic alert, with the auto versions also coming with and adaptive cruise control.

A tyre pressure monitor warns you if a tyre is going flat, meaning you are less likely to lose control from a puncture.

The Veloster senses crash impacts and automatically unlocks all the doors, to allow occupants out and rescue teams in.

The Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) is yet to rate the second-generation Veloster.

I like driving - will I enjoy this car?

The Veloster is based on the same underpinnings as the i30 hatchback family but is about 100kg lighter, which helps overall handling capabilities. The multi-link independent rear suspension arrangement also gives it a leg up in the ride quality and handling prowess stakes.

The Veloster benefits from revised suspension settings that were developed in Australia to help the car feel better in turns. The Turbo versions benefit from slightly firmer settings, and it steers and corners more enthusiastically, while larger front brake discs help provide more stopping power.

Performance wise, keener drivers will gravitate towards the Veloster Turbo, mainly because of the extra performance from the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine. It really makes a difference, too. While the base Veloster is only so-so as a driver’s car, the Turbo is a much more convincing package.

How is life in the rear seats?

Not great, in a nutshell. As well as having a centre console in the rear, making the car a strict four-seater rather than five, rear leg room is pretty tight.

Also, because of the sweep of the roofline, rear-seat passengers’ heads are covered by the glass of the hatchback, rather than being shaded by the roof itself.

But that extra door on the kerb side does work, making it easier to enter the rear seat from that side. It also makes the Veloster much more child-restraint friendly.

How is it for carrying stuff?

The 303-litre boot space is deep and wide and, while small for a hatch, is a decent size compared to other sports coupes with chopped off tails.

The rear seatback splits 50:50 and folds reasonably flat for carrying longer loads.

Where did Hyundai make this Veloster?

The Veloster is made at Hyundai’s Ulsan plant in South Korea.

What might I miss that similar cars have?

Perhaps rear-wheel drive, which is offered in the Toyota 86 Coupe and its cousin the Subaru BRZ – both of which are a little more hard-edged and would appeal more to the purist.

The Mazda MX-5 sports roadster is also rear-wheel drive and offers open-air motoring via a fold-away roof.

If you are looking at the Veloster as an alternative small car and don’t necessarily want a coupe, it is worth noting Hyundai i30 N-Line and the closely related Kia Cerato GT also offer fine handling and a revised version of the Veloster’s turbocharged 1.6-litre turbocharged powertrain.

Are there plans to update the Veloster soon.

The second-generation Veloster arrived in September 2019 for the 2020 model year. Don't expect an update until at least 2020.

I like this car, but I can’t choose which version. Can you help?

Without a doubt, the Veloster Turbo makes the best fist of being an entertaining car, thanks to its firmer suspension and perkier engine, while having additional active safety features.
Score breakdown
Safety, value and features
Comfort and space
Engine and gearbox
Ride and handling
Things we like
  •   Punchy turbo, ride and handling, affordable sport coupe
Not so much
  •   Rear seat space, bland non-turbo performance


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