2021 Hyundai Veloster

By November 11, 2020

The 2021 Hyundai Veloster hatchback features expressive shapes, strong dynamics and a punchy powertrain, at a good price. It’s all about fun. And for 2021 it gets more fun, with a new 8-speed dual-clutch automatic on Veloster N versions.

With no rear passenger door on the driver’s side, but one on the sidewalk side, it’s called a three-door, not counting the hatch.

The cabin contains budget materials assembled in clean shapes, with a standard touchscreen having smartphone compatibility.

It’s powered by three different 4-cylinder engines, two of them turbocharged. The base engine is a 2.0-liter inline-4 making 147 horsepower, while an available 1.6-liter turbo-4 makes 201 hp and can do six-second 0-60 mph sprints. Finally there is a 250-hp turbo-4 in the Veloster N. If that’s still not enough, you can get it with 275 hp.

Available transmissions include a 6-speed manual or 6-, 7-, or 8-speed automatic transmissions.

Every Veloster holds its own on curvy roads with good steering and a competent ride, but Veloster Turbo and Veloster N models are superb.

Technically the Veloster seats four, but not in reality; the rear seat is cramped and not for adults. Behind the second row there’s nearly 20 cubic feet of cargo space, which grows to more than 45 with the seats folded.

A Veloster with the base engine and automatic transmission rates 27 mpg city, 34 highway, 30 combined; the 6-speed manual brings the mileage down by 2 mpg.

The 1.6-liter turbo-4 nets 26/33/29 mpg with a manual transmission, 28/34/30 mpg when equipped with an automatic.

Even the powerful Veloster N gets good mileage; with a manual transmission the Veloster N rates 22/29/25 mpg.

The IIHS called the 2020 Veloster a Top Safety Pick last year. Automatic emergency braking and active lane control are standard.

Model Lineup

The 2021 Veloster is available in 2.0, 2.0 Premium, R-Spec, Turbo, Turbo Ultimate, and Veloster N models. Prices range from $20,000 to $30,000.

The base Veloster is equipped with a manual transmission, 17-inch wheels, automatic emergency braking, active lane control, cloth upholstery, power features, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, two USB ports, and Bluetooth connectivity. An automatic transmission costs $1,000 extra.

A 2.0 Premium adds a sunroof, upgraded interior materials, keyless ignition, and an automatic transmission paired with the base engine for about $24,000.

The Veloster Turbo R-Spec offers more power, 18-inch wheels, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, short-throw shifter for the 6-speed manual transmission, and premium audio for about $25,000.

The Veloster N comes with a 250-hp turbo-4, premium audio, adaptive cruise control, wireless smartphone charger, sporty front seats, and adaptive cruise control. For another $2,000 you can get 275 hp, 19-inch wheels, and better brakes.

Hyundai covers the Veloster with a superb 5-year/60,000-mile warranty.

Exterior

The sporty asymmetrical styling is unique.

A big front end is capped with a broad grille with strakes and intakes that visually lower the little hatch. The swept-back headlights reach into the front fenders that flex the car’s front-wheel-drive power.

Around the sides, flared rear arches and short overhangs announce the car’s determination to be hot.

Interior

The Veloster’s cabin is also expressive, although not fancy. There is a lot of hard and grainy plastic. However Hyundai does a good job of cutting costs in hidden corners, and they don’t save money on materials but cutting back on sound insulation. The cabin is surprisingly quiet for a car like this. Most Velosters pipe in synthetic sound that can be turned off.

Comfort for two is average. The front seats are mostly comfortable and adjustable, although maybe not for broad shoulders.

The driver’s single door is longer than the passenger’s front door, so it is possible for a passenger to reach the rear seat from the driver’s side; it’s just not as convenient as using the third door.

But the back seat is not comfortable. Hyundai says the Veloster has 34.1 inches of rear seat leg room, but its space is suitable more for small people.

Behind the second row, the Veloster offers 19.9 cubic feet of cargo space that expands to 45.5 cubic feet with the seats folded forward. That’s more than small sedans, while that versatility is excellent.

Driving Impressions

The 2021 Hyundai Veloster’s performance ranges from mild to extremely wild. Even the mild is far from lame, with the base engine, a 2.0-liter inline-4 making 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. The non-turbo engine powers the front wheels via a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The power isn’t thrilling, but it’s plenty for a car this light.

The 1.6-liter turbocharged engine in the Veloster Turbo makes 201 hp and 195 lb-ft, which enables it to sprint from 0-60 in six seconds. The power is shuttled through a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. We prefer the manual transmission, partly because it’s so engaging, and partly because the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic isn’t great at slow speeds. The R-Spec version of the Turbo gets a short-throw stick that’s a win-win.

The Veloster N uses a 250-hp turbo-4 that’s incredibly fun and satisfying, especially for the money. A 6-speed manual is standard (and highly recommended) although an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic is newly optional this year. The Veloster N adds a stiffer suspension, bigger brakes, retuned steering, and an electronic limited-slip differential on the front axle that drives the car with precision.

For another $2,000, a performance package adds 25 horsepower, bigger brakes, and grippier tires. We’re all in..

The Veloster can handle it. The steering is precise and gets progressively heavier in different modes; it feels a bit synthetic, but you forget about that when you’re lost in the fun.

Final Word

We highly recommend this pocket rocket. The base 2021 Hyundai Veloster is very affordable as an excellent stylish hatchback for two people, with room for gear in the back, a third door to access the rear seat, and plenty of cargo space. Three great powertrains, excellent gas mileage, and did we mention the stylish looks?

 

—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection

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