Hard to believe the Hyundai Veloster is only now coming into its second generation after eight years on the market. Our surprise is likely due to the fact that the Veloster, like the ancient American Alligator mississippiensis, lives mostly out of the way and hasn't changed much in its time here. Hyundai planners worked up a restrained evolution for the 2019 Veloster that takes place mostly in the cabin and under the skin in the standard and middle models.

The 2019 Veloster's dimensions grow by fractions: Length grows by 0.8 of an inch, width by 0.4, front overhang by 0.8. Height holds steady at 55.1 inches, but rear headroom gets a few hairs' improvement, increasing by 0.6 of an inch. The three-door wears a new face, that wider, hexagonal grille — and especially that hood shutline connecting the headlights — reminding us of the Ford Focus, a competitor. Elsewhere, details work to make the most of massaged sheetmetal, like the rear of the hood and the A-pillar squeezed rearward "to create a long hood profile," and the liftgate handle moved from the rear hatch sheetmetal to the backlight.

Two engines suit up for duty, a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder in the base model, with 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. That's a bonus of 15 hp and 12 lb-ft over the naturally-aspirated 1.6-liter in the current Veloster and Veloster Value Edition. The next trim rung gets the 1.6-liter turbocharged GDI engine, with no increase in output at 201 hp and 195 lb-ft.

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips


The 2.0-liter comes in either standard or Premium trims. The entry-level gets a choice of either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission, the Premium only comes with the automatic. The Turbo comes in three flavors, R-Spec, Turbo, and the new Turbo Ultimate. The R-Spec gets the six-speed manual, Turbo comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, Turbo Ultimate buyers get their choice of manual or DCT.

Moments before the reveal of the Veloster at the Detroit Auto Show, photos leaked of a Veloster N performance version. We've read rumors that the truly hot Veloster N could get anywhere from 250 hp to the same 271 hp as in the i30 N; our guess is that Hyundai wants to leave plenty of room in the middle for revolution at the top of the range.

The interior benefits from an overdue overhaul sprinkling available goodies like a full-featured heads-up display, an eight-inch infotainment screen, wireless charging, and Infinity audio. Forward collision-avoidance assist, smart cruise control, and blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert comprise some of the new safety features.

We're told the handling will be sharper, and based on some video snippets, we know the center tailpipes will make more noise. Nevertheless, we'll have to get inside 2019 Veloster, particularly the N model, to see if Hyundai's finally bestowed the funky tri-portal with uncommon thrills to match its uncommon looks.

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