• First Drive: 2019 Hyundai Veloster

First Drive: 2019 Hyundai Veloster

Second-gen Veloster all new for 2019

Jim Robinson By: Jim Robinson May 28, 2018
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    • What’s Best: Good power, larger on the inside than it looks and fairly good on fuel.
    • What’s Worst: While it adds cost, Veloster needs available all-wheel-drive.
    • What’s Interesting: All the standard equipment such as 18-inch alloy wheels, five-year free BlueLink connectivity service and rear-view camera with dynamic grid.

Hyundai’s funky 2019 Veloster sporty coupe has arrived just in time for summer.

Unveiled earlier this year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the second-generation Veloster features a full interior and exterior makeover, drivetrain enhancements and a bevy of leading-edge infotainment/connectivity systems.

The hallmark three-door design is retained — offering increased access to the back seat through the passenger-side second door.

From the front, the new Hyundai cascading grille is flanked by daytime LED running lights and optional LED headlights.

The front A-pillars have been moved slightly back and the roofline lowered, while at the back there is a new integrated diffuser and LED taillights.

The base Veloster is equipped with a 2.0-litre, normally aspirated, inline, four-cylinder engine, putting out 147 hp and 132 lb/ft of torque driving the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

First Drive: 2019 Hyundai Veloster

The Veloster Turbo and Turbo-Tech models feature a 1.6-litre, turbocharged, inline four-cylinder engine producing 201 hp and 195 lb/ft of torque. Also front-drivers, there is a choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission.

In addition, both automatic transmissions have four driver selectable drive modes – Normal, Sport, ECO and Smart. The manual has two modes – Normal and Sport.

These allow the driver to vary engine, transmission and steering response. On the Automatic/DSC transmissions, Smart “learns” driver preferences over time and adjusts to meet demands.

Torque Vectoring Control (TVC) is available on all models and uses wheel speed sensors and the algorithms from the Electronic Stability Control to brake the inside front wheel when cornering, while routing power to the outside front wheel resulting in improved grip going into a corner and less wheel spin exiting.

If you opt for the Turbo, the steering ratio is quicker, which improves response to inputs.

Standard is a rear-view camera with swivelling grid lines to help when backing up.

First Drive: 2019 Hyundai Veloster

The Veloster is loaded with infotainment features, starting with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with SiriusXM Radio and the next-generation BlueLink LTE-powered connectivity that provides enhanced safety, diagnostic, remote and guidance services.

Accessed via buttons on the rear-view mirror and the BlueLink smartphone app, it provides services such as remote start with climate control, remote door lock/unlock, car finder and enhanced roadside assistance.

The BlueLink system is free for five years in Canada, while it’s three years for the Americans.

The standard seven-inch color LCD display includes AM/FM/MP3 touchscreen audio, auxiliary inputs, and Rear View Monitor. An available floating-design eight-inch touchscreen navigation display includes next-generation BlueLink, traffic flow and Infinity premium audio with eight speakers, including a subwoofer.

An increasingly requested feature includes an available wireless charging pad in the centre console storage box that does not require charging cables. The system also indicates when charging is complete and can sense when there is something like a piece of paper or foreign object on the pad that might hinder charging.

Another interesting touch is the large Head-Up Display, which gives the usual information such as speed, navigation instructions, cruise control and audio system information that are projected on a transparent pop-up screen. But in Sport mode, it gives more driver-focused information such as RPM, speed and transmission gear.

If you don’t want it blinking in your line of sight, a button to the left of the steering wheel makes the screen fold into the dashboard.

For the Canadian launch of the Veloster, a brace of Turbo and Turbo Tech models in manual and DCT were made available for a jaunt from mid-town Toronto to Kawartha cottage country over good roads and under clear skies.

First up was a Turbo with the DCT and I kept it in “Smart” mode. I wasn’t trying to push the Turbo, but wanted to see how it performed especially in passing mode, which at this time of year, means camper and boat trailers dotting the highways resulting in conga lines where passing can be a white knuckle affair.

SR Turbo – The Sporty Sentra

On the 1.6-litre there is an overboost function that raises torque briefly to 202 lb/ft of torque between 2,000-4,000 rpm, which helped when starting to pass.

The Turbo felt solidly planted on the road, due in no small part to its wider track and the fat tires on standard 18-inch alloy wheels.

I did wonder that, while the Hyundai Kona subcompact crossover shares the same engines/transmissions/architecture, the Kona has available all-wheel-drive that would be icing on the cake for a sporty car like this, especially in Canadian conditions.

A big change for 2019 is the switch to a standard multi-link rear suspension from the twist-beam in the last generation.

It costs more, but the benefit is rear grip and compliance, which you come to appreciate the more you push the Veloster into the corners.

Other standard safety features include blind-spot warning, lane keeping assist and cross-traffic alert.

My afternoon ride was a Turbo Tech manual with all the bells and whistles, including a full colour Head-Up Display, which was legible even in strong sunlight — not often the case in other vehicles, in my experience.

Summing up, the 2019 Veloster has more than enough poke for the highways and its compact size makes it an ideal city car.

And the big thing, it’s fun to drive.

First Drive: 2019 Hyundai Veloster

2019 Hyundai Veloster

BODY STYLE: Compact sporty car

DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive, six-speed manual, six-speed automatic or seven-speed dual clutch automatic

ENGINE: 2.0-litre, direct injection inline four-cylinder (147 hp, 132 lb/ft of torque); 1.6-litre direct injection turbocharged inline four-cylinder (201 hp, 195 lb/ft)

CARGO: 565 litres behind the back seat

FUEL ECONOMY: (Regular) 2.0-litre manual, 9.4/7.1/8.4L/100 km city/highway/combined; 2.0-litre DCT, 9.1/7.1/8.2L/100 km; 1.6-litre manual, 9.4/7.0/8.3L/100 km; 1.6-litre DCT, 8.5/6.9/7.8L/100 km

TOW RATING: Not recommended

PRICE: Base Veloster, $20,999-$22,299; Veloster Turbo, $25,899-$27,399; Veloster Turbo Tech, $28,899-$30,399 not including $1,705 destination fee

WEBSITE: Hyundai Canada.ca

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