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2017 vs. 2019 Hyundai Veloster: What's the Difference?

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author photo by Eric Brandt October 2018
  • The Hyundai Veloster is back for the 2019 model year after a one-year hiatus.

  • The new second-generation Veloster has an updated design and new engine options.

  • More standard technology and an affordable price make the 2019 Hyundai Veloster a competitive player in the compact-hatchback segment again.

When the first-generation Hyundai Veloster came out in 2011, it offered a quirky alternative to more conventional compact hatchbacks. It had an unconventional design, featuring an asymmetrical 3-door configuration and a performance-minded Turbo variant for the enthusiast who wanted something different.

The first Veloster had a lot of charm, but it wasn't aging very well toward the end of its life as the competition heated up. That's why there's an all-new 2019 Hyundai Veloster that makes the car fresh, while still retaining the unique character of the original. Let's take a look at what's new for the 2019 model year.

Exterior

Both generations of the Hyundai Veloster are head-turners. It may be a love-it-or-hate-it design, but there's no doubt that it stands out from the crowd. Both generations of the Veloster are technically four-door models, but not in the same way a sedan is a four door. The Veloster is a hatchback with two doors on the passenger side, one door on the driver's side and a rear hatch. Although not as practical as a more traditional five-door hatch, this unique configuration makes it easier to access the back seat than in other three-door hatchbacks.

The size of the Veloster is unchanged for 2019. It's tough to compare its size to any other cars since it's so unconventional, but its dimensions are similar to a Volkswagen Beetle. The Veloster, though, is a little smaller than most of the other compacts it competes against in the segment.

As for the exterior design, the look of the 2019 Veloster isn't quite as wild as its predecessor. It retains a lot of the same quirkiness, but has an appearance that's more palatable to a wider range of drivers. Hyundai did a nice job bringing some class to the Veloster's appearance without losing any of its charms.

Interior

The interior of the 2019 Hyundai Veloster is an improvement over the 2017 model, but it's not without its flaws. Since it's still a value-priced hatchback, you'll find a lot of hard plastics and cheap materials on the inside, even in the higher, more expensive trims. However, it's put together well, and the seats are roomy and comfortable.

Interior dimensions for the 2017 and 2019 models are very similar, which isn't surprising since the exterior dimensions haven't changed. The front seats are spacious, but the back seats are a bit cramped, especially for adults. Back-seat space isn't terrible, but you wouldn't want to use the Veloster for long-distance trips with taller adults in the back. Also, rear cargo space is quite roomy for its class.

Mechanicals

The 2017 and the 2019 Veloster are both available with two different 4-cylinder engines -- one of which is naturally aspirated, and the other is turbocharged. All Hyundai Veloster models are front-wheel drive, and both generations are available with either a manual or an automatic transmission.

2017 Hyundai Veloster Engines

  • 1.6-liter inline four; 138 horsepower, 123 lb-ft of torque; 28 miles per gallon in the city, 37 mpg on the highway

  • 1.6-liter turbocharged inline four; 201 hp, 195 lb-ft of torque; 26 mpg city/32 mpg hwy

2019 Hyundai Veloster Engines

  • 2.0-liter inline four; 147 hp, 132 lb-ft of torque; 27 mpg city/34 mpg hwy

  • 1.6-liter turbocharged inline four; 201 hp, 195 lb-ft of torque; 28 mpg city/34 mpg hwy

Performance is up a little bit for the base engine in the new Veloster, while the turbocharged engine is the same but is more efficient in the new model. A turbocharged Veloster isn't as fast as competing hot hatches like the Ford Focus ST or the Volkswagen GTI, but it's still a fun, little affordable car.

As for the base engine, it might be down on fuel economy, but it's up on performance over the lethargic naturally-aspirated 1.6-liter engine that was standard in the first-generation Veloster.

We think the turbocharged engine is definitely the one to get since it beats the base engine in both performance and fuel economy. If your budget allows for the turbo, we recommend it.

Technology

Technology is one category where the 2019 Hyundai Veloster really shines over the 2017 model. The new Veloster comes with a generous host of standard safety tech that includes forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking and even driver-drowsiness monitoring. Available safety tech includes a head-up display, pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control. None of these features were available on the 2017 model.

The 2017 and 2019 Veloster both come standard with a 7-in touchscreen infotainment system, but it's upgradable to an 8-in unit in the 2019 model. Both cars come standard with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth connectivity. The 2019 Veloster can be upgraded with navigation, wireless charging and an Infinity 8-speaker premium audio system.

The 2019 Veloster's lenghty list of available tech features is one of the major benefits for choosing it over the first-gen model. A ton of standard safety tech, with even more available as you work your way up trim levels, makes the Veloster a stronger value than ever.

Pricing

The Hyundai Veloster has always been affordable, and that doesn't change for 2019. The starting MSRP of a 2019 Veloster is $18,500, which is a slight bump over the 2017 model's starting price of $18,100. Upgrading to a turbocharged Veloster will set you back at least $22,900, and the price can get into the high-$20k range if you spring for the Turbo Ultimate model.

On the high end, the new Veloster is quite a bit more expensive than the old one, but there are a lot more options to choose from in the new model.

Conclusion

It might not be the most luxurious or the best-performing car in its class, but the 2019 Hyundai Veloster is one of the most unique compact hatchbacks on the market today. It benefited from a much-needed update that brought a new look, new tech and a better base engine to the new model. It would have been easy for Hyundai to kill off the Veloster after one generation, but we're glad that it's back and better than ever.

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New 2019 Hyundai Veloster
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New 2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
New 2019 Hyundai Veloster
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New 2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
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New 2019 Hyundai Veloster
New 2019 Hyundai Veloster
MSRP $23,760
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 vs. 2019 Hyundai Veloster: What's the Difference? - Autotrader