The 2021 Hyundai Veloster is a quirky three-door hatchback that’s cheap to own and rewarding to drive. While thrill-seekers will prefer the rowdier Veloster N model (reviewed separately), the regular version does offer an optional 201-hp engine and admirable performance. Its cabin lacks the quality of rivals, such as the Mazda 3 and Volkswagen Golf, but at least the Hyundai is packed with desirable standard features. Highlights include automatic high-beams, automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Although its small cargo area and below-average fuel economy place it behind other compact cars, the 2021 Veloster has a unique personality that many of them don’t.
What’s New for 2021?
Hyundai sends the Veloster into the 2021 model year without any changes whatsoever. The company has also announced that the entire lineup, except for the Velsoter N, will be discontinued after this model year.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We’re not interested in the Veloster unless it’s equipped with the more powerful engine and optimized for driving enjoyment. That places the Turbo R-Spec squarely in our sights. It’s the most affordable model with the upgraded 201-hp turbocharged engine. It also has a short-throw shifter, sport-tuned chassis, and only comes with a manual transmission. Plus, the R-Spec is the only version that wears wider and stickier performance tires, which provide maximum braking and cornering grip. Apart from a handful of accessories, this particular model offers no other options.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Veloster buyers can choose between two powerplants. The base engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that generates 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. All trims with the Turbo descriptor are motivated by a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that provides 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. With all models, power is sent to the front wheels, and transmission choices include a six-speed manual, a six-speed automatic transmission, and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT). A Veloster Turbo Ultimate DCT we tested sprinted to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, which is reasonably quick for this segment. A Civic hatchback we tested took about a second longer to complete this run. The base engine delivers adequate performance, but it gets a bit noisy when pressed. The optional turbocharged engine is the superior choice if you’re looking to make the most of this car’s fun-to-drive nature. The Veloster’s handling is nimble and rewarding. For driving dynamics that are even more enthusiast-friendly, check out the Hyundai Veloster N, a high-performance variant we review separately.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
According to EPA estimates, fuel economy for Veloster hatchbacks equipped with the base engine tops out at 27/34 mpg city/highway. With the optional turbocharged engine, gas mileage peaks at 28/34 mpg. Those are respectable numbers, but some rival compact cars offer much better fuel efficiency. For example, the Kia Forte gets up to 29/40 mpg, and the Honda Civic hatchback gets up to 31/40 mpg. In our time with a Veloster Turbo Ultimate DCT, we observed mileage of 38 mpg on our 200-mile highway test route.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Veloster’s cabin seats four and features solid craftsmanship. The materials used are of decent quality, but you’ll find a few hard plastics. The cabin’s aesthetic is pleasant enough, but there are other picks in this class that deliver a more upscale interior design. Unlike a standard two-door hatchback, the Veloster is built with one long door on the driver’s side and two shorter doors on the passenger side. The addition of the third passenger-side door makes it easier for those in the back seat to enter and exit the vehicle. With the rear seats in place, the Veloster provides 20 cubic feet of cargo space. This expands to 45 cubic feet with the rear seats lowered. Those figures are reasonably competitive for a small hatchback.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The base-model Veloster comes with a six-speaker sound system and an infotainment system with a 7.0-inch display screen. Bluetooth connectivity is standard, facilitating hands-free phone calls. All models are equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless device integration. The list of optional tech features includes a wireless device charger, an 8.0-inch touchscreen display, integrated navigation, and an upgraded sound system.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2021 Veloster hasn’t been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and it was not named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, in test conducted by the IIHS, the 2020 model was designated a Top Safety Pick. The Veloster is equipped with a generous selection of standard and optional driver-assistance features. Key safety technology includes:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The Veloster’s warranty coverage is impressive. Hyundai offers one of the best warranties in the business. The company also offers complimentary scheduled maintenance that bests mainstream rivals such as Toyota.
- Limited warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for three years or 36,000 miles