First Drive: 2019 Hyundai VelosterJul 26th, 2018
The Hyundai Veloster was introduced in 2011 as a replacement for the Hyundai Tiburon which was discontinued in 2008. It marketed itself as a coupe, but distinguished itself by having a three-door design, one door on the driver side and two smaller doors on the passenger side. The Veloster has gone through a complete redesign for the 2019 model year.
If you’ve read my First Drive about the Volkswagen Jetta, you’ll know that I’m not a car guy. I base my opinions on the look and drive of a car. Is it smooth? Does it look nice? Is the technology easy to use? Things that the average customer is going to be looking for when they decide to buy a new car. As with the Jetta, I took the 2019 Veloster out to get a feel for the newest Hyundai model.
When researching the Veloster, it definitely stuck out as being unique. It advertises itself as a coupe, but has more than 2 doors. That destroys every conception I had about what makes something a coupe (I told you, I’m not a car guy). It is also a hatchback vehicle, which you don’t see very often in a coupe. Looking at the car straight on, it looks sharp.
It has kind of adopted the Lexus style grille on the front giving it a bit of a luxurious look, which looks good. From the back…I’m not the biggest fan of hatchbacks anyways, but if you like hatchbacks then it has a nice rear end. It has shapely LED tail lights and a centre exhaust which definitely looks sporty. I also drove the Ignite Flame Red version, which is a sharp colour.
Again referencing my Jetta post, when I sat in the Jetta I felt a bit cramped. The cabin didn’t feel big enough to fit myself and a passenger. I didn’t get that feeling with the Veloster. I felt like I had more than enough space to sit comfortably and still have plenty of room (the passenger behind me might not be as comfortable, but I’ll get into that later). I had the same passenger with me in this one, and he agreed that it felt a bit roomier than the Jetta.
It’s a bit harder taking a vehicle for a test drive in Markham during morning rush hour. The volume of cars on the road really restricts how fast you can go or how much freedom you can get driving. Because of this, I wasn’t able to take it out onto the 404 or any other highways, but I was still able to get a pretty good feel for it.
I was given a Turbo model to drive and man…can it Turbo. Even in just the Normal drive mode, it moves FAST. You can really feel the raw power that comes from the car when you hit the accelerator. Switching it over to Sport mode almost makes it dangerous on sideroads just from the power and acceleration that comes from it. It’s the kind of car I’d like to take onto the Autobahn so I can put the pedal down all the way and see what happens.
It has some smaller quirky things about it that I really liked as well. The model I drove has a 7″ touchscreen display that controls the radio, maps, etc. But it also has a button on it that brings up something like a screensaver that only displays the time and date. The car also has paddle shifters on the steering wheel for when you switch the car into Manual mode. While the shifter still has the up/down capabilities, the paddle shifters give it a sporty feel when shifting.
The Veloster isn’t perfect. I really don’t think any vehicle would ever be perfect for every driver out there. Probably the most concerning thing for me on it was how small the rear window is. Looking out that window through the mirror was difficult. I wasn’t able to see very far behind me through the mirror; I’d estimate a viewing range of only 20 metres. Not very far back at all.
While not a safety concern, the back seat is small. Obviously, the Veloster is designed as a coupe, and coupes generally have a small back seat. However, I feel like if you’re putting a third door in to accommodate extra passengers, you should have the room to fit them. They also completely removed the choice of a third person in the back, replacing the seat with cupholders.
I’m going to be completely honest here: I thought I was going to hate the Veloster. It just didn’t look very appealing to me. While I’m not a fan of the hatchback look or the tiny backseat, as a driver this car actually surprised me in a really good way. It had way more power than I was expecting and the drive was very comfortable. I drive a very similar car regularly, so the layout of the dashboard and the infotainment system are familiar to me, which helped my opinion on this.
The 2019 Hyundai Veloster is a surprisingly good coupe, and starting at only $23,330* is a relatively cheap option for a coupe. It just goes to show you that you really can’t judge a vehicle solely on a picture you see online, you need to drive it before you make a judgment on it.