2021 Hyundai Veloster

2021 Hyundai Veloster Review: The Odd One Out

The Hyundai Veloster has been somewhat of an enigma since it first launched in the US, and has continued to intrigue ever since. The second-generation car has built upon what was a good car to start with, but we can now confidently say that it is an impressive daily hatchback with all the space and practicality of its competitors, and also drives well, especially in Turbo guise. Power comes in the form of either a 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated engine or a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, the latter producing a healthy 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. We were thoroughly impressed with how the Turbo model drives; it's not a hot hatch, not by a long shot, but it offers warm hatch performance at a perfect price. On top of that, you get Hyundai's solid reliability record and excellent safety ratings. The Veloster goes up against the Honda Civic and Mazda 3, among others in the compact segment.

Read in this review:

2021 Hyundai Veloster Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Veloster?

After a few important updates for 2020, Hyundai has held to the mantra of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." For 2021, the Veloster is a carryover model with no changes aside from a small increase in price.

Pros and Cons

  • Lively turbo engine
  • Lots of standard features
  • Good value for money
  • Sporty handling
  • Unique styling
  • Back seats are tight
  • Fuel economy is average
  • Questionable interior design
  • Lazy base engine

Best Deals on Veloster

2021 Hyundai Veloster Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.0
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
6-Speed Manual
Front-Wheel Drive
$18,900
2.0 Premium
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$23,100
Turbo R-Spec
1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Front-Wheel Drive
$23,450
Turbo
1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$25,750
Turbo Ultimate
1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$28,450

Veloster Exterior

When the first-generation Veloster first made an appearance on US soil, it surprised everyone with its unique layout. Why are there two doors on the one side and a single door on the other? Is this a hatchback or some sort of morphed coupe? Either way, the second generation car continues with the quirky layout that has become a massive character trait for the sporty Korean hatchback. The exterior features projector headlights on the base and Premium models, while the rest of the lineup gets LED headlights with high beam assist and LED taillights. Other standard exterior features include heated, dual power, bodycolor, manual-folding mirrors, and tinted glass. The base model runs on 17-inch alloy wheels while all other versions get 18-inch units. Turbo models get side mirrors with integrated turn-signal indicators, while the Turbo Ultimate sports a two-tone roof. Premium, Turbo, and Turbo Ultimate trims get a sunroof. The base model gets a less aggressive rear end with a single exit exhaust, while the rest of the range gets dual exit pipes. Turbo models look more aggressive with red pinstriping on the bottom front air intake, and get some cool-looking DRL designs as well as a mesh front grille.

2021 Hyundai Veloster Front Angle View Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Veloster Rear Angle View Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Veloster Front View Driving Hyundai
See All 2021 Hyundai Veloster Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Manufacturers use a few tricks to get their sports-oriented cars to handle well. One of these is to make use of a short wheelbase and place all four wheels as far into the corners of the vehicle as possible. The compact Veloster does precisely that with a total length of only 166.9 inches and a stubby 104.3-inch wheelbase. Competitors such as the Mazda 3 hatchback and Honda Civic measure over 175 inches in length. The maximum width is 70.9 inches when you exclude the mirrors, and the car is 55.1 inches tall. At its lightest, the Veloster weighs 2,701 lbs, but that figure grows to 2,987 pounds for the Turbo and Turbo Ultimate models due to the DCT gearbox's complexity.

  • Length 166.9 in
  • Wheelbase 104.3 in
  • Height 55.1 in
  • Max Width 70.9 in
  • Front Width 61.0 in
  • Rear Width 61.5 in
  • Curb Weight 2,822.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

Its competitors might be slightly more mature in their color offerings, but to plaster a 2021 Hyundai Veloster with the same dull colors would be a crying shame. Hyundai has done an excellent job of matching up paint options with the car's overall design, and the result is eye-catching. The Veloster is available in Racing Red, Ultra Black, Chalk White, Sonic Silver, Sunset Orange, and Thunder Gray, but some trims such as the Turbo Ultimate lose the black option. At the same time, the Turbo R-Spec misses out on Racing Red and Sonic Silver.

  • Ultra Black
  • Chalk White
  • Thunder Gray
  • Sunset Orange
  • Sonic Silver
  • Racing Red
  • Lunar White
  • Space Gray, Build Out: 10/5/2020
  • Chalk White/Black Roof
  • Lunar White w/Black Roof
  • Sonic Silver w/Black Roof
  • Thunder Gray w/Black Roof
  • Sunset Orange w/Black Roof
  • Racing Red w/Black Roof

Veloster Performance

The 2021 Veloster suffers from a mild case of bipolar when it comes to the way it performs. You're going to have to choose between sedate and lively, and we know which one we'd rather have. With the introduction of the second-generation car, Hyundai introduced a new 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine which replaced the hopelessly underpowered 1.6 engine. This has made drivability better, but it's still a long way away from being a thrilling driving experience. At least it performs well in the city and offers reasonable gas mileage.

On the other hand, the turbocharged 1.6-liter four-pot offers spicy performance that easily places it in warm hatch territory alongside the Honda Civic Si. The turbocharged models deliver energetic performance both on city streets and on the highway. There's lots of low down torque on offer making quick maneuvers stress free. And, with 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque, the chassis and suspension setup can be tested thoroughly. Turbo models equipped with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission have been independently verified and recorded a 0-60 mph time of six seconds. Power is sent to the front via a choice of a further two transmission choices: a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. Rivals like the Mazda 3 and Subaru Impreza, however, offer both front- and all-wheel-drive alternatives.

2021 Hyundai Veloster Front View Driving 1 Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Veloster Rear View Driving Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Veloster Engine Hyundai

Engine and Transmission

The Veloster lineup starts with a mild 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine. This engine isn't tuned for high performance as you'd find in the 2.0-liter Honda S2000s of old but offers dependable performance. This engine replaces the 1.6-liter unit from the first-generation model and delivers 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. Without forced induction, this engine requires you to keep the revs high if any progress is to be made. It can be equipped with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic (the latter standard on the 2.0 Premium), neither of which truly stands out.

If it's performance you're after, the turbocharged 1.6 engine should be the only one to go for as this four-pot delivers 201 hp and 195 lb-ft, with power spread out over a wide rev range. This engine is very entertaining and is a major reason why the Veloster is such a fun car to drive. Turbo R-Spec models ship with a six-speed manual gearbox with a B&M Racing sport shifter, while the Turbo and Turbo Ultimate use a snappy seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

  • Engines
    1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 2.0L Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Automatic, 6-Speed Manual, 7-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Hyundai has done its research. With a relatively low curb weight and short wheelbase, the Veloster feels like a go-cart when flung around. The second-generation car features standard multi-link rear suspension across the range, which was only offered on higher trims when the car was first released. On the road, the Veloster doesn't feel overly harsh, but it is noticeable that the car's suspension has been tuned to deliver some driving fun. Fling it around a corner, and the nose neatly tucks in, and once in the corner, the Veloster hangs on with surprising keenness, and will slowly drift into understeer as the speed increases. There's even hints of lift-off oversteer, which adds to its playful character. If you're looking for a true hot hatch experience, you'd best look at the hardcore Veloster N, but for what it is, the standard Veloster handles and drives great.

Veloster Gas Mileage

It might be sporty, but the 2021 Hyundai Veloster also returns reasonably appropriate gas mileage comparable to the competition but lags behind the segment leaders. The difference between the base 2.0-liter engine and the turbocharged 1.6 isn't that vast. With the six-speed manual transmission fitted, the base engined car will do 25/33/28 mpg city/highway/combined. Things only get better from there: the six-speed manual Turbo R-Spec will manage 26/33/29 mpg, while both the automatic 2.0 and 1.6 vehicles will crack 30 mpg combined with 27/34/30 mpg and 28/34/30 mpg, respectively. With a 13.2-gallon fuel tank, the 2021 Veloster should see a range of between 369 and 396 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    13.2 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 25/33 mpg
* 2021 Hyundai Veloster 2.0 Manual

Veloster Interior

Once you've figured out how to enter the Hyundai Veloster, it will come as a slight disappointment when you see the UberX-like design, which does little to inspire, and unlike the exterior of this funky little hatchback, the interior looks slightly dated and drab when compared to competitors such as the Civic Si. One positive thing we can say about the interior is that it is very ergonomic: all buttons and knobs fall easily to hand and making driver inputs while on the move is rather simple. Base features include a six-way adjustable driver's seat and passenger seat with slide and recline adjustment, a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, and air conditioning. Premium models add a touch of leather, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. If you want to go all out, the Ultimate model offers leather seating and even a head-up display. The Veloster trades practicality for style, most notably in the rear where the driver's side rear passenger can't slide across the rear bench since the two seats are split by a storage console.

2021 Hyundai Veloster Front Seats Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Veloster Gauge Cluster Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Veloster Front Seats 1 Hyundai
See All 2021 Hyundai Veloster Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The usual recipe for cars that has been followed for well over a century is one or two doors on each side of the vehicle. But the Veloster foregoes this standard and does its own thing. You'll find one door on the driver's side, which opens up nice and wide, but walk around to the passenger side and you're met with two shorter doors, which makes entry and exit a little bit more complicated, particularly since the rear driver-side occupant needs to access through the front rather than sliding across the rear seat, a seat that's blocked in the center by a storage console.

Once inside, it's clear that the front passengers get the lion's share of space, but despite this, four adults should be able to fit inside this car without much complaining. In front, you get 38.1 inches of headroom and 35.9 in the rear, with a sunroof on select trims dropping front headroom to 36.9 inches. Legroom in front is 42.6 inches, and those in the back get 34.1 inches of space.

  • Seating capacity
    4-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.6 in
  • Front Head Room 38.1 in
  • Rear Leg Room 34.1 in
  • Rear Head Room 35.9 in

Interior Colors and Materials

The 2021 Hyundai Veloster doesn't come with a premium price tag, so it would be unfair to expect a premium interior. Still, it's easy to find some interior bits and pieces that fail to impress. What Hyundai does well is to hide some of the lower quality materials behind some premium-feeling grain finishes. It isn't a deal-breaker, however, as the interior as a whole feels well put together. Active sound dampening on Turbo models raises the refinement of these cars to a respectable level.

Seating upholstery feels good across the lineup: base models get simple black cloth with blue accents while the 2.0 Premium adds leather bolsters for a more exclusive experience. Turbo R-Spec cars are offered with black premium cloth with yellow accents, and Turbo models get a perforated black fabric and leather combo with red detailing. Turbo Ultimate trims feature Black and Sand Storm Gray leather seats with red accents.

Veloster Trunk and Cargo Space

It might not have the most conventional exterior design, but the three-door hatchback is actually very practical and offers a lot of space for such a short car. As with any other traditional hatchback, the Veloster's rear end opens up nice and wide. When you keep the rear seats in the upright position, the Veloster offers a generous 19.9 cubic feet of trunk space. With the 60/40 split fold-down rear seats in the downward position, that space increases to a roomy 44.5 cubic feet. Unfortunately, the seats don't fold down completely flat, but there should still be enough space for a medium-sized dog travel crate.

In terms of small-item storage, the Veloster offers a decent amount of storage space: there are two cupholders, door pockets, a small glove box, as well as a center console storage bin and a phone holder in front of the shift knob. In the rear, you get an extra pair of cupholders and a small center console.

2021 Hyundai Veloster Side View Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Veloster Rear View Driving 1 Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Veloster Rear Bumper Hyundai
  • Maximum Cargo Space
    44.5 ft³

Veloster Infotainment and Features

Features

When it comes to feature lists, Hyundai isn't usually one to disappoint. The Veloster is another example of why this Korean brand is gaining popularity amongst those looking for a well-priced bargain. Exterior features on the base model include projector headlights with automatic headlight control and LED daytime running lights. Turbo R-Spec and Ultimate cars get projector LED headlights, LED taillights, and high beam assist. Premium, Turbo, and Turbo Ultimate derivatives get a sunroof. The interior features a six-way adjustable driver's seat on base models with power lumbar support for the driver in Turbo and Turbo Ultimate cars. Base and Turbo R-Spec variants get manual air conditioning while higher trim cars are offered with automatic climate control. Heated seats are standard on the 2.0 Premium, Turbo, and Turbo Ultimate. Furthermore, the latter boasts a leather interior, rain-sensing window wipers, and a head-up display. Driver assistance features include driver attention warning, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, and blind-spot monitoring across the range, but Turbo Ultimate models also include smart cruise control.

Infotainment

The infotainment system on the 2021 Hyundai Veloster is a pretty standard one: the base model is equipped with a seven-inch touchscreen display, which is mounted high for good visibility. Standard features include Bluetooth streaming, a six-speaker sound system, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. Premium models and above get a larger eight-inch touchscreen and an eight-speaker Infinity sound system with a subwoofer while the Turbo Ultimate gets integrated navigation. The eight-inch setup also gets SiriusXM satellite radio and a Bluetooth hands-free system with voice recognition. From the 2.0 Premium, all models and up benefit from Blue Link Connected Care for three years, while the 2.0 Premium, Turbo, and Turbo Ultimate gain wireless device charging. The overall experience is pleasurable, but it doesn't stand out for anything other than its ease of use.

Veloster Problems and Reliability

There have been no recalls issued for the 2021 Hyundai Veloster. The second-generation car has only been recalled once in 2019 due to the possibility of the driver's door opening up in a side-impact collision. That issue was rectified with the 2020 model. Hyundai has a competitive edge over cars such as the Mazda 3 and Honda Civic, thanks to an excellent warranty plan. Hyundai will cover the Veloster with a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, a seven-year corrosion warranty, a ten-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and a five-year roadside assistance plan.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    10 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    7 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

Veloster Safety

Both the NHTSA and IIHS have not tested the 2021 model year car, but the IIHS review of both the 2019 and 2020 vehicles yielded impressive results, both models receiving a Top Safety Pick award. We attribute this performance to the Veloster's remarkable list of standard driver assistance features.

Key Safety Features

Hyundai has spent lots of time and money improving the safety standards of its cars in recent years, and it shows: the Veloster should be one of the safest hatchbacks in its class, and ranks up there with the Honda Civic and Mazda 3. Exterior safety features include LED headlights on some trims, as well as front and rear crumple zones. There's a total of six airbags inside, and you get other traditional systems such as ABS and stability control management. Hyundai then adds driver assistance features such as lane keep assist, forward collision warning, and driver attention warning. 2.0 Premium models and upward are fitted with blind-spot assist and rear cross-traffic assistance. Additionally, Turbo Ultimate models get a head-up display, pedestrian detection, and rain-sensing window wipers.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Hyundai Veloster a good car?

The first-generation car was quite the shock to American consumers used to the regular two or four-door layout of hatchbacks. But, with the arrival of the second-generation car, consumers have warmed up to having two doors on the one side, and a single entry point on the other. This isn't the most practical of entry solutions and will be frustrating to some who need constant access to the rear seats, but besides this odd characteristic, the Veloster proves to be a capable and entertaining car to drive, especially in either of the three Turbo derivatives. The chassis is well sorted and doesn't mind a bit of spirited driving. Inside, the Veloster won't blow you away with cutting edge design, but everything is well put together and works well. The same can be said of the infotainment system, which gets the job done but didn't bowl us over. If you're going to buy one, skip over the entry-level models and go for one of the Turbo trims.

🚘What's the Price of the 2021 Hyundai Veloster?

The Veloster has the edge over the competition in the form of a low asking price that undercuts rivals by a fair margin. It should be noted, however, that its main competitors offer more power in base form, and you'll have to step up to the Turbo models to compete in that regard. The base model with the manual transmission will cost you $18,900, excluding tax, registration, and a destination fee of $975. For the six-speed auto version, you'll have to cough up $19,900. 2.0 Premiums go for $23,100 while the first Turbo car in the lineup, the R-Spec, requires you to part with $23,450. The Veloster Turbo costs $25,750 but at the top of the pile sits the Turbo Ultimate, setting you back $28,450.

2021 Hyundai Veloster Models

For 2021, Hyundai offers the Veloster in five different trim levels ranging from mild to slightly wild. These models are named as follows: Veloster 2.0, 2.0 Premium, Turbo R-Spec, Turbo, and Turbo Ultimate.

The base 2.0 offers exterior features such as projector headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, and manual-folding mirrors. Under the hood, you'll find a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The interior gets manual air conditioning, a six-way adjustable driver's seat, and a seven-inch touch screen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Standard driver assistance tech includes forward collision avoidance and driver awareness assist.

The 2.0 Premium model steps up the game substantially by adding a sunroof to the outside. Meanwhile, the inside is on the receiving end of a set of heated cloth and leather seats. A larger eight-inch touchscreen display is also included, paired to an eight-speaker Infinity sound system and SiriusXM satellite radio. There's also wireless phone charging and keyless entry thrown in for good measure.

The first Turbo model in the lineup is the R-Spec, which is powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-pot. On this trim, the engine comes exclusively mated with a six-speed manual transmission. The exterior features LED headlights with high beam assist while the interior gets sport cloth seats, active sound assist, and a set of sporty alloy pedals.

Stepping up to the Turbo model bags you a seven-speed DCT transmission first and foremost. After that, you can expect to find small luxuries such as the return of a sunroof, power-adjustable lumbar support with leather side bolsters, and automatic climate control.

At the top of the pile sits the Turbo Ultimate, which adds several premium features such as navigation and HD Radio, as well as a head-up display unit, adaptive cruise control, and a full leather interior. The exterior gets a two-tone paint job and added safety systems include pedestrian detection.

See All 2021 Hyundai Veloster Trims and Specs

2021 Hyundai Veloster Additional Options

Hyundai doesn't offer much in the way of options, which means each trim level is an option package on its own, and if you're after a full leather interior or a head-up display, you'll have to go for the top-tier Turbo Ultimat,e for instance. Hyundai does, however, offer a few accessories such as a cargo net for $50 or an interior lighting kit for $250.

🚗Which 2021 Hyundai Veloster should I buy?

If you're only after the appearance, we would say go for the Premium 2.0, which gets nice-to-haves such as a sunroof and heated leather-trimmed seats, but the Veloster is so much more than its looks alone. This little car likes to be driven hard, and as such, should be enjoyed with the peppy 1.6-liter turbocharged motor. There are three turbocharged variants to choose from, with the R-Spec starting at $23,450, and the Turbo Ultimate ending things off at $28,450. If it were us doing the buying, we would skip out on all the luxuries and go for the R-Spec car, which comes exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission. The R-Spec offers just enough gear to make it a comfortable driver: you get LED headlights out front while the interior benefits from the larger eight-inch touchscreen display and eight-speaker Infinity sound system. You also get sporty cloth seats and alloy pedals.

Check out other Hyundai Veloster Styles

2021 Hyundai Veloster Comparisons

Honda Civic Hatchback Honda
Mazda 3 Hatchback CarBuzz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Hyundai Veloster147 hp25/33 mpg$18,900
Honda Civic Hatchback 174 hp31/40 mpg$22,200
Mazda 3 Hatchback 186 hp26/34 mpg$22,650

2021 Hyundai Veloster vs Honda Civic Hatchback

There's no denying the fact that the Honda Civic is an excellent car, a class leader, and one of the most popular hatchbacks ever produced, so the Veloster will have to pull a few special moves to overcome some of the clear advantages here. The Civic is powered by a punchy 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that produces 180 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. This motor blows the Veloster's base engine out of the water, but the Hyundai's 1.6T motor feels perkier. The Civic sends its power to the front via a six-speed manual or CVT transmission. Not only is the Civic a punchy little car, but it's fun to drive, and will deliver an impressive 31/40/34 mpg city/highway/combined at its best. The interior is arguably a nicer place to be in, and material quality is excellent. There's also more interior space, and you get a larger trunk. The Civic is the safe choice here, but we love the uniqueness of the Veloster.

See Honda Civic Hatchback Review

2021 Hyundai Veloster vs Mazda 3 Hatchback

Even though Mazda recently announced that the Mazda 3 would be getting a turbo variant, this hatchback remains the mature choice, and these cars should appeal to two very different buyers. The Mazda's Eurocentric styling and sedate 2.5-liter engine all culminate in a car with a more relaxed view on driving. Power comes in the form of a 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated four-pot generating 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. One advantage here is that the Mazda 3 gets AWD for added stability. Gas mileage comes in at best figures of 26/35/30 mpg city/highway/combined. On the road, the Mazda 3 is more comfortable, but sacrifices driving dynamics for it, and once again highlights its more mature approach. The interior is best in class and is a more refined place to be in, while the Mazda also offers more standard features and has an excellent safety record. If you're after comfort, get the Mazda, but if you enjoy a bit of fun behind the wheel, go for the Veloster.

See Mazda 3 Hatchback Review

Hyundai Veloster Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2021 Hyundai Veloster:

2021 Hyundai Veloster Video Review

Check out some informative Hyundai Veloster video reviews below.

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