I like cars that you don’t see everywhere. Something a little quirky with under the radar exclusivity is always cool with me. And that’s how I’d characterize the Veloster. A sporty little coupe with a 3rd door, Hyundai’s latest version is pure fun on the cheap.
Introduced 7 years ago in Detroit, the original Veloster was targeted at the Gen Y crowd with MINI Cooper-like driving dynamics and a funky 3rd door on the passenger side.
With a starting price of around $17,000 and netting 30mpg, the Veloster was a refreshing new entry into the suddenly red-hot compact car segment. Flash ahead to the 2019 model year and this all-new Veloster is exactly what you’d want from a next generation car. More chiseled. More polished. More fun. The Veloster remains a compelling choice for car shoppers with a youthful spirit and a desire to maximize their dollar.
This R-Spec model sits right in the middle of the 5 Veloster offerings which still starts at under $20,000. The base models get a new 2.0-liter engine but starting at R-Spec and up the familiar 1.6-liter twin-scroll turbo carries over still producing the same 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, though the power is available earlier in the RPM range. And for the purists, the R-Spec comes only one way – with a 6-speed manual – Hyundai’s in-house designed short throw gearbox fitted exclusively with a B&M Racing Sport Shifter. The biggest mechanical upgrade comes in moving away from the torsion beam rear suspension to an independent multi-link design for improved handling. Unique sport-tuned steering, lighter suspension and bigger exhaust sound are all R-Spec standards as are a serious set of Michelin performance tires. R-Spec now includes more creature comforts as well such as proximity key, push button start, and excellent touchscreen infotainment. Special cloth seating and a multitude of R-Spec design cues both inside and out flaunt this racier Veloster’s attitude. Size and weight are similar to before.
On summer tires and with the tauter sport suspension the R-Spec is a car I always look forward to driving. What the steering lacks in feeling it makes up for in its quickness so the R-Spec turns like a go cart and the clutch and shifter combo works fluidly though this aluminum ball can get really cold or hot I imagine. Torque steer in kept to a minimum, torque vectoring minimizes Understeer and the seats hold you firmly in place. Could I use more engine? Absolutely. First and 2nd gear2 are pretty gutless but once this turbo gets up to speed the fun really kicks in.