2020 Hyundai Veloster

2020 Hyundai Veloster Review: A Loveable Oddball

by Michael Butler

The sport compact market is a difficult nut to crack for most newcomers, but Hyundai clearly didn't get the memo when it launched the first Veloster back in 2011. People were intrigued by its out-there styling and unusual 2+1 door configuration, and the Veloster slowly started winning over the American market. The second-generation car's sporty nature has been reinforced by the introduction of the Hyundai N Performance line of cars, and although the standard Veloster is a soft version of the mighty N, it still delivers an entertaining driving experience, especially in Turbo guise. Hyundai has included a bunch of driver assistance features and an impressive warranty to sweeten the deal even further. We love this little oddball, and it should make for a great alternative to the safe choices out there.

Read in this review:

2020 Hyundai Veloster Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Veloster?

The second-generation Veloster, unveiled at the 2018 North American International Auto Show, gave us a brand new car that retained its eccentric 2+1 door configuration and featured standard multi-link suspension across the range, as well as a new naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Fast forward to 2020, and Hyundai now offers the Veloster with standard cargo-area tie-down hooks, a wireless device charger on Turbo trim cars, while Turbo R-Spec cars get standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Unfortunately, Turbo Ultimate cars are no longer offered with a manual transmission.

Pros and Cons

  • Entertaining turbo engines
  • Good levels of standard features
  • Great bang for your buck
  • Sporty front seats
  • Entertaining handling
  • Back seats get a bit tight
  • Not the best fuel economy
  • Competitors offer better interior designs
  • The base engine is a dud

2020 Hyundai Veloster Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.0
2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
6-Speed Manual
Front-Wheel Drive
$18,800
2.0 Premium
2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$23,000
Turbo R-Spec
1.6-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Front-Wheel Drive
$23,350
Turbo
1.6-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$25,650
Turbo Ultimate
1.6-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$28,350

Veloster Exterior

When the first-generation Veloster landed on American shores, we were intrigued by its strange 2+1 door design - was it a coupe or was it a hatchback? It was a breath of fresh air in a segment ruled by more mature designs. The second-generation car continues to break the mold and looks pretty cool while doing it. There's no doubt that the 2020 Veloster's looks will divide opinions, but whether you like it or not, you have to admit that it's different. As we've come to expect from Hyundai, the exterior features list is an impressive one: base and Premium trim cars get LED headlights with automatic headlight control while the rest of the range get LED projector headlights with high beam assist and LED taillights. All cars in the Veloster range get LED daytime running lights with daytime running lights, a feisty dual-center exhaust system, and heated body-colored manual-folding mirrors. Stepping up to the 2.0 Premium will bag you a sunroof, and Turbo R-Spec cars gain projector headlights with high beam assist and LED taillights. Veloster Turbo models gain side mirrors with integrated turn-signal indicators, and Veloster Turbo Ultimate models round things up with an exclusive black two-tone roof.

2020 Hyundai Veloster Front Angle View Hyundai
2020 Hyundai Veloster Rear Angle View Hyundai
2020 Hyundai Veloster Front View Driving Hyundai
See All 2020 Hyundai Veloster Exterior Photos

Dimensions

One of the things we like about the Veloster is its planted and stubby stance, and looking at this plucky Korean's dimensions reveals its secret; it measures in at only 166.9 inches in total length and rides on a 104.3-inch wheelbase. Competitors such as the Honda Civic Coupe with its 177.3 inches and the Mazda 3 Hatchback with its 175.6 inches of total length make the Veloster seem stunted in comparison. Maximum width excluding mirrors is 70.9 inches, and the 2020 Veloster stands 55.1 inches tall. So it's shorter but just as wide as the abovementioned cars. Not only is it compact, but it's the regular featherweight too: the base model, fitted with a manual transmission weighs only 2,701 lbs, growing to a maximum of 2,987 pounds for Turbo and Turbo Ultimate models with the DCT.

  • 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

Exterior Colors

To plaster the 2020 Hyundai Veloster with a palette of "mature" exterior paint colors, as found on the Mazda 3, for instance, would be a crying shame. The design of the Veloster begs to be covered in colors that accentuate its shapely body and shout to passers-by, "look at me! I'm a reasonably priced sport compact that likes to have fun. #wanderlust". Thankfully the designers over at Hyundai had the same idea. For 2020 you can have your base model in a selection of six colors, ranging from bread and butter variants such as Chalk White and Ultra Black, but you also get the option of splashing your new Veloster in Sunset Orange, Racing Red, or the ominous Thunder Gray. Turbo R-Spec cars get a special Space Gray. Unfortunately, the now-famous Hyundai Performance Blue is reserved for hardcore Veloster N models. We'd go with the aggressive Thunder Gray.

  • Chalk White
  • Thunder Gray
  • Sunset Orange
  • Racing Red
  • Ultra Black
  • Sonic Silver
  • Space Gray

Veloster Performance

The Veloster's performance is a tale of two engines and three transmission options, so in short, it varies quite a lot, but one thing's for sure: the non-turbo cars will leave you wanting more power, and the turbo cars will leave you wanting more seat time. The naturally aspirated engine is all-new for the second-generation car and offers more power than the outgoing 1.6-liter engine. This bodes well for those living in the city, where the extra torque of the larger displacement engine comes in handy. On the highway things are also improved. Stepping into a turbocharged variant of the Veloster completely transforms the car from pretender to contender; there's oodles of lowdown torque, and the improved chassis and suspension setup can now be fully exploited. Turbo models mated to the dual-clutch transmission have been timed by independent testers from 0-60 mph in six seconds flat, which is almost a whole second faster than the equivalent Honda Civic Hatchback.

2020 Hyundai Veloster Front View Driving 1 Hyundai
2020 Hyundai Veloster Rear View Driving Hyundai
2020 Hyundai Veloster Engine Hyundai

Engine and Transmission

The Veloster's powertrain lineup starts off with a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder gas engine, which develops 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. This engine replaces the first generation 1.6-liter four-pot and helps the Veloster pick up some much needed low-end pluck, but we were left underwhelmed by its performance; you need lots of revs to keep things going, which induces lots of road noise, and reflects badly on the overall refinement of the car. This engine is available in either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. The base engine isn't engaging enough to warrant the manual transmission, so we'd stick with the auto. Thankfully Hyundai has retained the peppy 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo engine, which kicks out 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, which is available way down in the rev range. This engine gives the Veloster the go it deserves and is available with either a six-speed manual on the Turbo R-Spec or a seven-speed DCT on Turbo and Turbo Ultimate models. The DCT is responsive enough to engage the driver and is the quicker car, but for the ultimate driving experience, the manual tranny should be the go-to choice.

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

Handling and Driving Impressions

Hyundai has clearly upped their game - the second-generation Veloster comes with standard multi-link rear suspension across the range, a feature that was only available on top-trim cars when it was first released locally. So an upgraded suspension setup, a low curb weight, and good power from 1.6-liter turbocharged cars should equal a whole bucket load of fun, right? Right. The 2020 Veloster feels nimble and attacks corners with glee. The low curb weight can be felt everywhere: turn-in is sharp, and once you're tucked in, the Veloster will hold on for dear life. Lift off the throttle and the curvaceous booty follows you around the corner better than your student debt. The Veloster is by no means a hardcore hot hatch, for that, you'll have to look at the performance-oriented N version, but as an everyday sporty compact, it is seriously good and will soak up bumps at low speeds without complaint without feeling too cushy in the corners. Simply put, it's well balanced and fun to drive.

Veloster Gas Mileage

For a car that likes to consider itself sporty, the Veloster returns some surprisingly good gas mileage figures which easily stack up to the competition, and some will be surprised to find that the difference in consumption between the naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter, and the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine is minimal. The EPA gives a gas mileage figure of 25/33/28 mpg city/highway/combined for the 2.0-liter car mated with the six-speed manual. From there on out, it only gets better; the 1.6T car with the manual will do 26/33/29 mpg while both the 2.0-liter auto and 1.6T with the DCT will crack the 30 mpg with figures of 27/34/30 mpg and 28/34/30 mpg, respectively. The 13.2-gallon fuel tank will give the Veloster a maximum range of between 330 and 396 miles in mixed conditions.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    13.2 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 25/33 mpg
* 2020 Hyundai Veloster 2.0 Manual

Veloster Interior

Step inside the cabin of the 2020 Hyundai Veloster, and you won't be the only one that thinks that they've just stepped inside an Uber X. The interior design and dashboard layout feels a few years behind the competition and does little to convince the driver and passengers that they're sitting in something more sporty than an Elantra. To be fair to the Veloster, the interior is very functional and most knobs and buttons are within easy reach of both the driver and front passenger. In base form, the Veloster gets a standard six-way adjustable driver's seat, a passenger seat with slide and recline adjustment, as well as a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, and air conditioning. 2.0 Premium models add leather bolsters to the now heated front seats, a wireless device charging pad, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob as well as automatic climate control and keyless entry with push-button start. The R-Spec car gets sporty alloy pedals, and the Turbo and Turbo Ultimate offer standard power-adjustable lumbar support for the driver's seat, while Ultimate models also get leather seating surfaces and a head-up display.

2020 Hyundai Veloster Front Seats Hyundai
2020 Hyundai Veloster Driver Seat Hyundai
2020 Hyundai Veloster Front Seats 1 Hyundai
See All 2020 Hyundai Veloster Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Getting in and out of the 2020 Veloster is an interesting exercise due to the fact that it's got a single long door on the driver's side, and two shorter doors on the passenger side. This can get frustrating at times, but it adds to the character of the Veloster. The Veloster is a car that places the spotlight on the driver and front passenger, and its stubby design also doesn't help much, so as you can imagine, space in the rear takes a knock; still, there's enough space to pack two adults in the back for a total count of four. Hyundai claims that the 2020 Veloster will offer 38.1 inches of headroom in the front and 35.9 in the rear, with the front dropping to 36.9 when fitted with a sunroof. Legroom in the front is a roomy 42.6 inches, but those in the back will feel the pinch with only 34.1 inches of space. The Mazda 3 Hatchback offers an inch more space in the back, and the Honda Civic Coupe stretches that number nearly two inches. Shoulder room is a decent 56/54.3 inches front to back. The most awkward aspect of the Veloster is that those in the rear need to access from the passenger side, which means climbing over an awkward cupholder panel in the middle of the rear seats.

  • 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

With an asking price that starts in the high teens, we wouldn't expect the interior of the 2020 Hyundai Veloster to be on par with that of an Audi or Mercedes-Benz, but we did notice a few bits and pieces that were of sub-par quality. Hyundai has done well to hide some of the Veloster's lower-quality plastics behind some clever graining. Despite these niggles, the cabin seems to be well put together, and the active sound dampening feature on Turbo cars makes the cabin of this sporty Korean quite refined. The seating upholstery is of a high standard across all trim levels, with base models getting a simple black cloth, while Premium models get a black cloth and leather combination; Turbo R-Spec cars get black premium cloth with yellow accents, and Turbo models feature a perforated black cloth and leather combo. Ultimate cars get black and sandstorm gray leather seats. Small touches such as alloy pedals on R-Spec cars adds to the sporty persona of the Veloster.

Veloster Trunk and Cargo Space

The novel design of the Veloster's body hides an interesting benefit; there's loads of trunk and cargo space on offer, which drastically improves the practicality and appeal of this fun little sport compact. As with competitors such as the Mazda 3, the Veloster's backside opens up in a hatchback style, offering a large opening and a deep trunk that will swallow most of your daily cargo. With the rear seats in the upright position, the Veloster offers a solid 19.9 cubic feet of trunk space. Fold down the 60/40 split fold-down rear seatback, and that space increases to a spacious 44.5 cubic feet. The rear seats don't fold completely flat, but there's enough space to fit a BMX or your ex-girlfriend's leopard print ottoman that you never gave back. Small-item storage is pretty decent; passengers in the front get two cupholders, door pockets, a small glove box, center console bin, and a small storage nook in front of the shift knob. Those in the rear get a set of cupholders and a small center storage console, too.

2020 Hyundai Veloster Rear Angle View 1 Hyundai
2020 Hyundai Veloster Side View Hyundai
2020 Hyundai Veloster Rear Bumper Hyundai
  • Maximum Cargo Space
    44.5 ft³

Veloster Infotainment and Features

Features

The features list on the 2020 Veloster is a pretty impressive read, especially when you start climbing up the ranks toward the turbocharged variants. The exterior of the Veloster gets standard LED headlights with automatic headlight control, as well as LED daytime running lights. Turbo R-Spec cars and above get projector headlights, LED taillights and high beam assist. All trim levels come with heated, dual power, bodycolor, manual-folding mirrors. Premium, Turbo, and Turbo Ultimate models also get a sunroof. On the inside, the Veloster treats its occupants to a six-way adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support for the driver, as well as steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. Base models are equipped with manual air conditioning, and Premium, Turbo, and Turbo Ultimate cars feature automatic climate control. Premium, Turbo, and Turbo Ultimate cars get heated front seats, and Ultimate cars also get leather upholstery, rain-sensing window wipers, and a head-up display. Standard driver assistance features include forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, lane keep assist as well as driver attention warning and Ultimate trim cars add smart cruise control.

Infotainment

There's not much to write home about here: the base model is equipped with a seven-inch touchscreen display that's positioned high up on the dashboard, and offers excellent visibility, even to those in the rear. All trim levels get standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration and speed-sensitive automatic volume control. In base form, the Veloster features a standard Bluetooth hands-free phone system and a decently powerful six-speaker sound system. Premium models and upward get a larger eight-inch screen with SiriusXM satellite radio, a Bluetooth hands-free phone system with voice recognition, as well as a banging

Infinity premium audio system with an external amp and eight speakers. These trim levels also get a subscription to Blue Link Connected Care. Ultimate models feature navigation with a Blue Link guidance package and HD radio. This system works well and should be easy to get the hang of for first time users, but its nothing extraordinary.

Veloster Problems and Reliability

The second-generation Hyundai Veloster has only been recalled once in its short life. The recall was issued for 2019 year model cars due to the driver's door possibly opening in the event of a side-impact crash, but the issue has been rectified for 2020 models. Hyundai's class-leading warranty will be a big selling point for those looking for value; Hyundai will cover the 2020 Veloster with a class-leading five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty that includes a seven-year/unlimited-mile corrosion warranty, ten years or 100,000 miles worth of drivetrain cover, as well as 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

Veloster Safety

The Veloster is never going to be a massive seller in the states, so we would understand if major rating agencies decided to skip over the sporty Korean, and the NHTSA has done just that. Thankfully, the folks over at the IIHS put both the 2019 and 2020 vehicles through their paces, and the results were impressive: both the 2019 and 2020 year model scored top scores of Good for all evaluations, with the 2019 model awarded the prestigious Top Safety Pick award, matching the Mazda 3. This remarkable performance can be attributed to the Veloster's impressive level of standard driver assistance features.

Key Safety Features

The Veloster is one of the safest compact cars on the market today, and it all boils down to the concerted effort by Hyundai to step up its safety game in recent years. First, the basics: every 2020 Veloster comes equipped with LED headlights, front and rear crumple zones, six airbags, ABS with brake assist, and vehicle stability management. Those features alone won't bag you a Top Safety Pick award, so Hyundai has added advanced safety features such as forward collision-avoidance assist, lane keep assist, and driver attention warning to every trim. The safety features keep rolling in as you climb up the trim ladder: Premium cars and above get blind-spot assist and rear cross-traffic assistance, and Ultimate trim cars add forward pedestrian detection as well as rain-sensing window wipers.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Hyundai Veloster a good car?

When the Hyundai Veloster first landed on American shores, most didn't really know what to make of it: it looked like something out of a manga cartoon book, and its unusual 2+1 door configuration must have put off a good number of people who are staunch supporters of two or four entry points. Since the first car took to the road, Americans have softened up to the Veloster, especially in Turbo guise, and with Hyundai making good inroads into the American market with their N-line of performance cars, the Veloster is set to enjoy more success going forward. The 2020 Veloster continues to build on the capable second-generation platform, which is more dynamically capable and arguably better looking than the first-generation car. We like its oddball looks, exciting driving dynamics and good levels of safety and practicality. If Hyundai could only step up their interior design and quality, there would be little reason why it couldn't be a top seller.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Hyundai Veloster?

There's a large gap between the base model and the Turbo Ultimate, so you won't have any trouble finding a Veloster that suits your needs. The base model starts off with an MSRP of only $18,800 excluding tax, registration, and a destination fee of $955, and goes up to $19,800 when equipped with the six-speed auto transmission. At these prices, the Veloster poses an interesting alternative to a market flooded with Honda Civics. The2.0 Premium is the most expensive non-turbo Veloster in the lineup and takes quite a leap in terms of pricing: it will set you back $23,000, but the additions to the features list covers the extra cost. The first turbo car in the lineup is the Veloster Turbo R-Spec, which goes for $23,350, offering more power than the 2.0 Premium for only $350 more, but misses out on a number of the Premium's features. The Veloster Turbo costs $25,650, and the range-topping Turbo Ultimate can be yours for $28,350. At the top end of the range, the Veloster's pricing falls in line with the competition, but down at base level, the Veloster offers good bang for buck motoring.

2020 Hyundai Veloster Models

The 2020 Veloster comes in five different flavors, ranging from lemon and herb, all the way through to spicy: Veloster 2.0, 2.0 Premium, Turbo R Spec, Turbo, and Turbo Ultimate.

The base model, simply titled the Veloster 2.0, starts at $18,800 and is powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter gas engine mated to either a standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed auto transmission. The exterior gets a set of LED headlights and 17-inch alloy wheels, while the inside is decked out with a manual air conditioning system, a seven-inch touchscreen with a six-speaker sound system, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Standard safety features include driver awareness assist and forward collision avoidance assist.

2.0 Premium cars add a sunroof to the exterior, while inside, it gets some leather on the heated front seats, an eight-inch infotainment display with an eight-speaker Infinity sound system, and SiriusXM satellite radio. Premium cars also allow you to charge your electronic devices wirelessly and get automatic climate control and keyless entry with push-button start.

Turbo R-Spec cars get the entertaining 1.6-liter turbocharged four-pot, which produces 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque and is only available with a six-speed manual gearbox. The exterior of the R-Spec gets projector headlights with high beam assist, while inside, there's sporty cloth seats, alloy pedals, and active sound assist.

The Veloster Turbo gets the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, power-adjustable lumbar support for the driver's seat as well as leather-bolstered upholstery. A sunroof is re-introduced and a wireless charging pad is added along with automatic climate control.

The range-topping Turbo Ultimate gets premium features such as a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, and navigation, along with HD Radio, full leather upholstery, a black two-tone roof, and added pedestrian detection for the forward-collision warning.

See All 2020 Hyundai Veloster Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Each Veloster trim is a full package deal, so for instance, if you're keen on the base model, but you want a sunroof, then you'll have to fork out an extra $4,200 for the 2.0 Premium model and so on and so forth. This means that there aren't any real optional packages on offer. Hyundai does offer a few accessories such as a reversible cargo tray for $115, or carpeted floor mats for $135.

🚗What Hyundai Veloster Model Should I Buy?

Firstly, it should go without saying that the naturally-aspirated engine should be avoided if possible. It's more than capable of pulling the lightweight Veloster around town, but it has zero guts and feels unrefined at times. So then, out of the three turbo variants, which one do we think is best? To start off with, there is a significant $5,000 price difference between the R-Spec and the Turbo Ultimate, so the choice will boil down to how many creature comforts you are after. For us, the cheapest of the bunch will do: the R-Spec car comes standard with the zingy 1.6-liter turbo engine, and also gets projector LED headlights with high beam assist, the larger eight-inch touchscreen as well as the eight-speaker Infinity sound system. Sporty touches such as alloy pedals give the R-Spec a heightened sense of athleticism. We'd get one in Thunder Gray and call it a day.

Check out other Hyundai Veloster Styles

2020 Hyundai Veloster Comparisons

Honda Civic Hatchback Honda
Mazda 3 Hatchback Mazda
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Hyundai Veloster147 hp25/33 mpg$18,900
Honda Civic Hatchback 174 hp31/40 mpg$21,750
Mazda 3 Hatchback 186 hp26/35 mpg$23,700

2020 Hyundai Veloster vs Honda Civic Hatchback

The Honda Civic Hatchback is one of the most popular cars ever produced in this class and continues to set the standard in terms of practicality, safety, and driving dynamics. For 2020, The Civic Hatchback packs a 1.5-liter turbocharged punch; this tiny four-cylinder engine produces an impressive 180 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque, which delivers an entertaining driving experience, especially when mated to Honda's excellent six-speed manual transmission. The Civic's gas mileage is rated at 29/37/32 mpg city/highway/combined for the six-speed manual car and is matched by the CVT equipped car. Inside, the Civic offers a mature cabin which hides the fact that this hatchback can be flung around corners with reckless abandon. Build quality is up there with the best, and the list of standard features is impressive. Passengers also get more room, and there's a bigger trunk in the back. We'd say go with the Civic, but it's one of the safest automotive choices you can make.

See Honda Civic Hatchback Review

2020 Hyundai Veloster vs Mazda 3 Hatchback

The Mazda 3 Hatchback will appeal to a more mature buyer; from its Eurocentric exterior styling to its larger, but more sedate 2.5-liter engine, the Mazda 3 Hatchback is the sensible choice for those who spend quality time with their families on a regular basis and pay their taxes on time, every time. Whereas the Veloster is a shouty little thing that begs for attention, the Mazda 3 does what it does in quiet style. Power comes from a 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder producing 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the front or all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. The Mazda 3 will return a best of 25/35/29 mpg city/highway/combined. The Mazda 3 is the more comfortable car to drive but sacrifices some of its dynamic ability in the process, but it makes up for that in other places: the interior of the Mazda is one of the best in class and completely overshadows what's on offer in the Veloster. The Mazda also offers more features as standard, and it's supremely safe too. If you're looking for something fun, get the Veloster, but if it's comfort you're after, the Mazda is the only option.

See Mazda 3 Hatchback Review

Hyundai Veloster Popular Comparisons

2020 Hyundai Veloster Video Reviews

Check out some informative Hyundai Veloster video reviews below.

Hyundai Veloster