2019 Hyundai Veloster Preview
- Redesigned small sports coupe with hatchback functionality
- Standard, Turbo, and performance-tuned N model series
- Model moves well past “racy Accent” status
- Numerous driver assistance, collision avoidance, and infotainment systems
- Built in South Korea, and on sale by summer of 2018, with the Veloster N arriving near the end of the year
Small, energetic, and aggressive, the redesigned 2019 Hyundai Veloster is the automotive equivalent of a Jack Russell Terrier. If come upon one, don’t dismiss it as cute, especially if it has an “N” badge on it.
Originally introduced as a low-budget and stylish alternative to typical small cars, the Veloster’s name promised velocity that it couldn’t muster. Turbocharging helped, along with occasional ride and handling massages, but there was no getting around the Veloster’s cuddly looks and solid-axle rear suspension.
Now, at the 2018 North American International Auto Show, Hyundai debuts a new 2019 Veloster, and it wears its smug-looking mug for good reason. Especially in N tune (‘N’ is the name for Hyundai’s upcoming family of Nurburgring-tested performance vehicles), the Veloster’s bite is just as threatening as its bark.
Looking angry and irritated, the new 2019 Veloster is more angular than the original, retaining both its signature ‘shooting brake’ functionality and asymmetrical 2+1 door arrangement, which ensures easier access to the car’s rear seat.
Functional air curtains and a lower roofline improve aerodynamics, and single- or dual-outlet chrome center exit exhaust tips protrude from a rear diffuser panel. Available LED headlights, running lights and taillights add a premium appearance, as do a set of 18-inch aluminum wheels and a darkened roof treatment for a 2-tone appearance.
To separate the Veloster N from the standard Veloster and Veloster Turbo, Hyundai makes numerous changes. The front fascia is different, and contains functional brake cooling ducts. An N-badge is affixed to the grille, and the Veloster N wears racy red exterior accents, specific rocker panel sills, a unique rear spoiler, and a bolder rear diffuser panel perforated by high-flow dual exhaust outlets. A set of lightweight 19-inch aluminum wheels is available for, and exclusive to, the Veloster N.
Inside of the driver-focused cabin, the Veloster is more conventional in terms of its design and layout.
Each trim has unique colors, materials, and accents to clearly differentiate them, and upholstery choices include cloth, cloth/leather, and leather. Veloster Turbo models have Active Sound Design technology, which enhances intake and exhaust sound for a more engaging driving experience.
Veloster N models are equipped with special sport seats wrapped in cloth, a unique steering wheel and shift knob, revised instrumentation, and exclusive blue accents. A sequential shift indicator illuminates when the driver revs the engine closer to redline.
Under the Hood:
You’ll choose a standard-issue Veloster more for its style than its performance. This one has a new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine making an estimated 147 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 132 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm. A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard, a 6-speed automatic transmission is optional, and drivers can select between Normal, Sport, and Smart driving modes.
Veloster Turbo models have a turbocharged, direct-injected, 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine making 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque on regular fuel. A new overboost function supplies 202 lb.-ft. of torque under maximum acceleration. A 6-speed manual is standard, while a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox with paddle shifters is an option. Normal, Sport, and Smart driving modes are available, and with the manual transmission the car’s 18-inch wheels are shod with summer performance tires.
All Velosters have brake-administered torque vectoring control and 4-wheel-disc brakes with brake assist. Turbos add quicker steering with revised calibration for better feel, feedback, and control.
Perhaps most noteworthy is that the previous Veloster’s torsion-beam rear axle suspension is swapped out for a multi-link independent setup, which should result in dramatically improved ride and handling characteristics. Turbos get a sport-tuned version of the suspension.
Switching now to the dramatically different Veloster N, Hyundai says it will “deliver thrilling cornering ability coupled with everyday sports car drivability and race track capability.”
As such, the Veloster N comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making an estimated 275 hp at 6,000 rpm and 260 lb.-ft. of torque between 1,450 rpm and 4,700 rpm.
A short-throw, close-ratio, 6-speed manual gearbox is the only transmission choice. It includes downshift rev matching, as well as carbon-coated synchro rings and gear material reinforcement for smoother operation and reduced shift force combined with positive engagement.
An upgraded clutch is designed to handle the extra torque, and a high-flow active sport exhaust with over-run crackle on upshifts and downshifts is standard equipment. The Veloster N’s various driving modes are referred to as a Grin Control System (I swear), and offers Eco, Normal, Sport, N, and N Custom settings.
Equipped with front-wheel drive, the Veloster N features a Power Sense Axle design that Hyundai says contributes to quicker, more precise, better feeling steering for the rack-mounted, electrically assisted system. The standard Corner Carving Differential (yes, that is what it is called) is a limited-slip differential that improves launch at acceleration, reduces understeer, and adds torque vectoring to the proceedings.
An electronically-controlled suspension is standard, featuring track-tuned driving modes honed on Germany’s legendary Nurburgring race circuit. A rear strut brace stiffens up the car’s rear end, and a load transfer control system reduces dive and squat while enhancing roll when cornering.
Naturally, the brakes are upgraded to 13-inch rotors in front and 11.8-inch discs in back. An option installs even larger 13.6-inch and 12.4-inch stoppers.
Ultra high performance 225/40 Michelin Pilot SuperSport summer tires are mounted to the Veloster N’s standard 18-inch aluminum wheels. As an option, buyers can upgrade to 19-inch wheels wrapped in 235/35 Pirelli P-Zero summer tires.
A car with the Veloster’s performance potential needs to protect its occupants should something go wrong. While it remains to be seen if the vehicle’s new architecture has what it takes in terms of impact dispersion, Hyundai includes an unusually robust package of driver assistance and collision avoidance systems for its new pocket rocket.
Standard equipment includes a forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking system, and a reversing camera. Additionally, the car is offered with lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, driver attention warning, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert systems.
Turbos include adaptive cruise control, and Velosters with LED headlights add automatic high-beam operation.
Two different infotainment systems are available for the new Veloster. The standard setup includes Siri Eyes Free integration, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone projection, and a 7-inch touchscreen display.
The upgrade is to an 8-inch screen that appears to float in front of the dashboard. It adds satellite radio, HD Radio, next-generation Blue Link LTE-powered services with a free 3-year trial period, and a navigation system with traffic data.
Qi-compatible wireless device charging and an Infinity premium sound with Clari-Fi digital music restoration technology are also available. Among a long list of services, the Veloster’s Blue Link includes an Amazon Alexa skill, a Google Assistant app, and is accessible via Android Wear and Apple Watch smartwatch apps.
A new heads-up display is also available, showing vehicle speed, navigation instructions, cruise-control setting, lane departure warnings, and audio detail. When the car is in Sport driving mode, it emphasizes engine rpm, vehicle speed, and transmission gear.