Emma Jayne Williams

Hyundai’s sporty Veloster hatchback gets a major redesign, new technology

The Hyundai Veloster compact sport hatchback has been completely redesigned for 2019, entering its second generation. This is the Veloster Turbo model.
The Hyundai Veloster compact sport hatchback has been completely redesigned for 2019, entering its second generation. This is the Veloster Turbo model.

The Hyundai Veloster four-passenger hatchback is all-new for the 2019 second generation, with a more-expressive exterior and interior redesign, powertrain enhancements, and lots of new and improved cutting-edge connectivity and infotainment features.

Veloster retains its unique two-plus-one door asymmetrical bodystyle, a design both appealing and purposeful. The third, passenger-side door allows rear passengers to enter easily from the curbside, while maintaining the design appeal of a sport coupe.

New design features include a striking new grille, morphed from Hyundai’s signature cascade grille into a three-dimensional design specifically for the sport coupe. Narrow, three-dimensional headlights and distinctive LED daytime running lights flank the dark grille.

A more-muscular shape, with higher-volume fenders and wheel arches, conveys dynamic performance, and rearward cowl and A-pillars connect the hood line and belt line for a powerful posture. Large front air curtains are an active aerodynamic function and a bold visual design cue.

The 2019 Veloster is available in five trims, each with unique interior colors, materials, and accents: Veloster 2.0 with standard six-speed manual transmission, $17,500 (six-speed automatic transmission adds $1,000); 2.0 Premium, $21,750 (automatic only); Turbo R-Spec, $21,900 (manual only); Turbo, $25,400; and Turbo Ultimate, $26,650 for six-speed manual transmission (seven-speed automatic transmission adds $1,500). No packages are available, as each trim adds to the previous.

The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine produces 147 horsepower, while the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 201 horsepower. The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission has steering wheel-mounted paddle-shifters and Shiftronic transmission gear control.

Drive Mode Select offers Normal, Sport, and Smart modes, according to driver preference. Active Sound Design on turbo models enhances powertrain sound, just for fun.

Torque Vectoring Control, offered in all Veloster models, is an active cornering feature to improve dynamic cornering during enthusiastic driving by applying precise brake force to the inside front wheel, reducing wheelspin and enhancing corner-exit acceleration.

For this review I drove a Turbo Ultimate in deep Ultra Black with gray/black (light/off black) interior. As the top-of-the-line Veloster, my Ultimate added a heads-up display, a Qi wireless charging pad, an eight-inch touch-screen navigation system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and leather seating surfaces.

Six snappy exterior colors are available: Besides Ultra Black, they are Chalk White, Sonic Silver, Thunder Gray (dark), Sunset Orange (muted), and Racing Red (dark). Interiors come in cloth, cloth/leather combinations, and all leather, in black or gray/black, depending on the trim chosen. A black roof is unique to the Turbo Ultimate.

LED headlights, standard for my Veloster, lifted from the upper corners of the massive grille to the top of the well-shaped muscular fenders, with the sculpted form extending into the front door panels. The front air curtains were set deep into the outer bumper, further accenting the size and profile of the grille. The bumper lip below the grille was trimmed in red.

The windshield raked back to just above the front passenger area, where the lowered roof then sloped back to the top of the hatch, presenting a more coupe-like appearance.

My Veloster had a wide sunroof with a power-sliding sunshade. Rocker panels were clad in black, with a “Turbo” badge at the trailing edge. The third door was cleverly disguised by placing the handle in the trim at the rear angle of the window.

As the front fender form extended into the front doors, the rear fender form extended to the third door and driver’s side body panel. In the rear, my Veloster had a distinctive glass hatch, more-aggressive integrated diffuser design, LED taillights (three distinct rectangular shapes, curved up around the lift gate) and center-fascia dual chrome exhaust tips. The rear presented a powerful crouching appearance.

Eighteen-inch wheels in gray had five spokes with pointed silver details at right angles to the tips – unique and fierce – and wore all-season tires.

Inside, the asymmetrical design continued, with a driver-focused cockpit and contrasting colors, unique to the Turbo Ultimate, further separating the driver from the rest of the cabin. The driver’s side door armrest, dash, and center console were black, while the passenger’s side was gray.

The center spoke of the steering wheel had a red strip, the shifter knob had a red accent, and the start button, infotainment, and climate controls were accented by red. The front seat backs and seating areas had a red stripe in the middle from top to bottom and front to back. Even the air bag tags on the seat bolsters were red. Door handles, center-console trim and steering wheel trim were pewter-colored.

Small-item storage was somewhat limited, with small door pockets in the front, small side pockets in the rear (third-door armrest), a small front console bin, a small bin in the middle position in the rear along with two cupholders (no middle seat), and a small glovebox.

The rear seats were comfortable, with slight bolstering. Legroom, however, was a little cramped for passengers with longer legs, at 34.1 inches. Cargo space behind the rear seat is 19.9 cubic feet, increasing to 44.5 cubic feet with the 60/40 rear seat folded down. It took more than a few minutes (Google helped) to figure out how to open the hatch – using a button camouflaged on the rear wiper base.

My Veloster’s sophisticated technologies kept passengers entertained and informed with SiriusXM Radio, AM/FM/MP3/HD radio, and next-generation Blue Link LTE-powered connectivity.

The Infinity premium audio system had eight speakers, auxiliary and USB inputs, Clari-Fi music-restoration technology, and smartphone integration. The floating-design navigation display included a Rear-View Monitor, along with traffic flow and incident data via HD radio. The touch screen enabled pinch and swipe functions, a split navigation/music display, and navigation junction-view lane guidance. A charging USB port and 12-volt outlet kept mobile devices charged.

The Qi wireless charging pad under the center stack indicated when a phone was fully charged, reminded passengers to remove their phones when exiting, and detected foreign objects in the charging area that could interfere with charging.

A 4.2-inch instrument cluster also displayed distance-to-empty, average MPG, average MPH, elapsed time, and more.

The Heads-Up Display projected onto a transparent panel behind the instrument panel, which disappeared into the dash when not in use and deployed with the touch of a button. Information displayed included speed, navigation instructions, cruise control, Lane Departure Warning, and audio system information. In Sport mode, the display also includes RPM, MPH and gear position.

My Veloster had standard Blue Link Connected Services, Remote Start and Multimedia/Map updates, all with three years of complimentary service. Technologies include Remote Start with Climate Control, Remote Door Lock/Unlock, Car Finder, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, and Stolen Vehicle Recovery, and can be accessed by buttons on the rearview mirror, MyHyundail.com web portal, and the Blue Link smartphone app. Some features may also be accessed by Android Wear and Apple Watch.

Advanced active safety features included standard Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Blind-Spot Collision Warning, and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning. Antilock brakes with Brake Assist, and Smart Cruise Control were also standard.

A Vehicle Stability Management system manages Electronic Stability Control and the Motor-Driven Power Steering. The two work together to maintain traction and steering control when the driver accelerates or brakes on split-friction surfaces (slippery on one side, dry on the other). VSM reacts the same way during sudden lane changes or fast cornering.

Safety was also addressed by six air bags, including dual front bags with occupant classification, front seat-mounted side-impact, and front and rear side curtain; energy absorbing steering column, front and rear crumple zones, and body-side reinforcements.

High Beam Assist, Hill Start Assist Control, rain-sensing wipers, heated front seats, a perforated-leather steering wheel, and alloy pedals were standard. Carpeted floor mats added $125.

My Veloster Turbo Ultimate was eye-catching, fun to drive, comfortable for around town and daily driving, and affordable at $29,160, including $885 destination charges – a good choice for the young and young-at-heart.

The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at emmajayne1948@gmail.com.

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