Car of the Year Car Reviews

Hyundai Veloster: 2019 MotorTrend Car of the Year Finalist

Voted Most Improved

Voted Most Improved

WE LIKE Styling inside and out, three-door whimsy, no-lag turbos, value

WE DON’T LIKE Base-model road noise, hard plastics, Elantra-sourced 2.0L engine

A dab of asymmetry, undeniable value, coupe-flavored hatchback styling, and a penchant for a good time? That’s a great way to get the judges’ attention.

As it did in its first iteration in the 2012 COTY contest, the second-gen Veloster advanced to the finalist round on its many merits. Back then we suggested what it would take for the Veloster to make the leap: “When Hyundai gives it the engine it desperately needs and tunes the suspension to deliver the sportiness the exterior suggests, this will be the hottest pocket-rocket in the segment.”

Looks like Hyundai listened. The 2019 version benefits from a larger, more powerful base engine, two new (and terrific) optional turbocharged motors, a better stick shift, an optional dual-clutch automated manual, an improved chassis, and independent rear suspension. In the process, Hyundai broadened trim offerings and performance.

Pricing starts at a reasonable $19,385 USD for the 147-hp base car up to about $30,000 USD for the 275-hp high-performance N model, and each step up the Veloster ladder adds equipment and driving enjoyment. We were impressed by the standard lane keeping assist and automatic braking, plus the availability of adaptive cruise control, head-up display, and premium audio. The Goldilocks of the brood is the $23,785 USD R-Spec, which delivers near-N performance for thousands less.

The base model, aptly named Veloster 2.0, didn’t quite have the road manners to be that perfect weekday commuter and weekend wild thing. Voted Most Improved over its previous generation, the Hyundai Veloster nonetheless deserves a good look from those looking to spice up their drives.



2019 Hyundai Veloster 2.0 R-Spec Turbo 1.6T Turbo N
Base Price/As tested $19,385/$23,760 $23,785/$23,785 $26,285/$29,160 $28,000 (est)/$30,000 (est)
Power (SAE net) 147 hp @ 6,200 rpm 201 hp @ 6,000 rpm 201 hp @ 6,000 rpm 275 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (SAE net) 132 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm 195 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm 195 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm 260 lb-ft @ 1,450 rpm
Accel, 0-60 mph 8.6 sec 6.5 sec 6.7 sec 5.9 sec
Quarter-mile 16.5 sec @ 84.2 mph 14.8 sec @ 95.6 mph 15.3 sec @ 92.3 mph 14.4 sec @ 98.0 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 119 ft 110 ft 121 ft 117 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.86 g (avg) 0.93 g (avg) 0.87 g (avg) 0.94 g (avg)
MT Figure Eight 27.3 sec @ 0.62 g (avg) 25.8 sec @ 0.71 g (avg) 26.2 sec @ 0.69 g (avg) 25.2 sec @ 0.75 g (avg)
EPA City/Hwy/Comb 27/34/30 mpg 26/33/29 mpg 28/34/30 mpg 22/28/25 mpg
Vehicle Layout Front-engine, FWD, 4-pass, 3-door hatchback Front-engine, FWD, 4-pass, 3-door hatchback Front-engine, FWD, 4-pass, 3-door hatchback Front-engine, FWD, 4-pass, 3-door hatchback
Engine/Transmission 2.0L Atkinson-cycle DOHC 16-valve I-4 /6-speed automatic 1.6L turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4 /6-speed manual 1.6L turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4 /7-speed twin-clutch auto 2.0L turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4 /6-speed manual
Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 2,852 lb (61/39%) 2,817 lb (61/39%) 2,955 lb (62/38%) 3,052 lb (64/36%)
Wheelbase 104.3 in 104.3 in 104.3 in 104.3 in
Length x Width x Height 166.9 x 70.9 x 55.1 in 166.9 x 70.9 x 55.1 in 166.9 x 70.9 x 55.1 in 167.9 x 71.3 x 54.9 in
Energy Cons, City/Hwy 125/99 kW-hrs/100 miles 130/102 kW-hrs/100 miles 120/99 kW-hrs/100 miles 153/120 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 Emissions, Comb 0.65 lb/mile 0.67 lb/mile 0.64 lb/mile 0.80 lb/mile