Hyundai finally seems to be figuring out driving dynamics. You know, suspensions that don’t become flummoxed after hitting a mid-corner heave. Steering that does more than simply exist. A general driving experience that you may actually remember.
Indeed, I’m going to remember the 2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo, the latest Hyundai group car to demonstrate newfound dynamic talents. Fully redesigned, it picks up its predecessor’s funky mantle, bringing over its unique three-door count and unusual hatchback rear, but actually satisfies the “velo” bit of its name. The old car was a dud, this one is not. Well, at least in Turbo guise, as no amount of chassis improvements can make the base 147-horsepower version go anywhere with immediacy.
That, however, is not why the Veloster ultimately left me cold. While it excels on a mountain road, it is merely OK everywhere else. It just isn’t alive and involving enough to make mundane drives a joy — much as a Civic Si or VW GTI can. Comfort and general ambiance are also lacking, and road noise is excessive. The manual-operated driver seat lacks sufficient height or tilt adjustment for taller drivers.
Then there’s the styling. Its dimensions are virtually identical to the outgoing car, but it nevertheless appears much longer, lower and sleeker than the stubby and rather bug-like original. There’s also something unusual about its profile, and specifically the short rear overhang, that reminds of a Citroen DS. Unusual, in this case, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Neither is the contrasting black roof. Though overused throughout the industry, it works here.
Ultimately, the Veloster Turbo is oh-so-close to being excellent. It’s cool and characterful. It can be fun to drive. It’s well-equipped for a price that deeply undercuts the competition. However, if paying a little extra meant a higher quality interior, less noise and a more sophisticated automatic transmission, it would be money well spent.