Prior to the unveiling of the 2019 Veloster at the 2018 North American International Auto Show, the Hyundai Veloster seemed to be a shoo in candidate for vehicles that were about to be axed. Its odd proportions made it not that great of a hatchback, and its driving manners (even in Turbo guise) were nothing to write home about. In an age where the crossover is slowly surpassing the car as king of the jungle, killing it seemed like a good choice. But alas, it has been redesigned, and the 2019 Veloster’s fine details make us glad that it has been given a second crack at redefining itself.
The similarities between it and its predecessor are obvious to see, with the base and turbo Velosters carrying over their 2.0 liter and 1.6 liter engines into the new model year. The 1.6 liter turbo retains its 201 horsepower figure, but the base naturally aspirated 2.0 liter gets some air blown into its lungs, and it now makes a healthy 147 horsepower (a gain of over 15 horsepower.) Six speed manual transmissions are standard across the board, but the base Veloster can be equipped with an optional 6-speed automatic, wheras the Veloster Turbo works with a 7-speed dual clutch unit.
The exterior styling retains its odd asymmetrical layout, with two doors on one side, and a lone door on the opposite side, but it is more refined, and the front fascia in particular gives it more of a resemblance to the recently launched Elantra GT. The rear fascia is still a hit or miss affair, but we will give Hyundai props for putting a solid effort in making the funky rear end more chiseled and angular than its decidedly more rounded ancestor.
The biggest news however, is that the Veloster also has been given a special task for 2019, launching the N performance brand in the U.S. market. While it is NOT the good looking i30 based N hatchback that Europe gets, Hyundai engineers made sure that no detail was spared in creating our country’s potent hot hatch offering. The front and rear fascias are exclusive to the N model, and all new brake ducts help keep the brakes cool under hard track work. Aggressive rocker panels, red accent lines, and an equally slick shade of light blue help the N stand out from its lesser siblings, and also gives notice to potential opponents wondering whats in store for them should they choose to take it on head to head.
N Velosters also benefit from sticky Michelin Pilot SuperSport tires with even stickier Pirelli P-Zero summer tires and optional 19-inch wheels enhancing the ready to race aura even further. Braking comes from standard 13 inch front brake rotors and 11.8 units in the rear. Naturally, N will also have bigger 13.6 and 12.4 inch rotors (front and rear respectively) available as options. A high flow active exhaust provides an exclamation point to the rear of the car, which has been equipped with a rear diffuser, a roof mounted spoiler, and plenty of chiseled creases. The front of the car incorporates an integrated splitter, and it looks good in person.
The interior of the N Veloster even gets its fair share of upgrades, including an N designed steering wheel, N emblazoned shift lever, and unique sport seats with good amounts of bolstering to keep occupants firmly in place during sharp cornering. it also retains some of the Velosters funky charm, and we look forward to spending more time with the N Veloster in the near future to see if it can hold its ground against the Volkswagen GTI and the Focus ST.
Look for the 2019 Hyundai Veloster and Veloster N to go on sale later this year, but for buyers that can’t wait that long, and happen to own a copy of Forza Motorsport 7. Hyundai is working with game developer Turn 10 on a free DLC pack for the game that features both the N and its slightly milder sibling the Veloster Turbo.