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2021 Hyundai Veloster Review

The 2021 Hyundai Veloster places midpack among compact cars. It offers lively handling, powerful optional engines, and user-friendly technology, but its interior quality is mixed, and it has below-average fuel economy.

Pros & Cons

  • Lithe handling
  • Peppy optional turbocharged engines
  • Intuitive infotainment system
  • Low base price and solid list of standard features
  • So-so interior quality
  • Subpar fuel economy for the class

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Hyundai Veloster's #6 ranking is based on its score within the Compact Cars category. Currently the Hyundai Veloster has a score of 8.2 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 19 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.2

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.1
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 7.7
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.9 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

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Is the Hyundai Veloster a Good Car?

Yes, the Veloster is a good car, though it’s up against some tough competition in the compact car class. This Hyundai is agile and fun to drive, even more so if you skip the unimpressive base engine for a more thrilling turbocharged power plant. For the right buyer, those performance chops should outweigh its subpar fuel economy.

Inside, you're greeted with a straightforward infotainment system and a nice-looking cabin. The interior isn't overly chintzy, but you won't mistake the Veloster for a luxury car either. Second-row space is about average for the class. And while this hatchback doles out more cargo space than sedans in the segment, it's a little less roomy than its hatchback classmates.

Why You Can Trust Us: 19 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 19 Hyundai Veloster reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2021 Veloster is the right new car for you.

This 2021 Veloster review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2019.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Hyundai Veloster?

The Veloster is a good value, making it worthy of consideration. For under $19,000, you can get a base model with an easy-to-use infotainment system that includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as driver assistance features such as automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and driver attention monitoring.

The Veloster also merits a serious look if you want a fun-to-drive compact hatchback with more utility than a sedan, as long as you don't regularly ferry adults in the back seat.

Find a 2021 Hyundai Veloster for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Hyundai Veloster: What’s the Difference?

There are no major differences between the 2020 and 2021 Veloster.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Veloster »

Here are the key changes for the Hyundai Veloster over the last few years:

  • 2017: Value Edition trim introduced
  • 2018: not available
  • 2019: fully redesigned with stronger engine, nicer interior, and more cargo space; new driver assistance features introduced; high-performance N model debuted
  • 2020: manual transmission discontinued in Turbo Ultimate; R-Spec gained standard blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert; wireless device charging became standard in Turbo and Turbo Ultimate
  • 2021: no notable changes

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 Veloster, 2019 Veloster, and 2020 Veloster reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Hyundai Veloster Cost?

The 2021 Hyundai Veloster starts at $18,900, making it one of the least expensive new compact cars. Four other trim levels retail for between about $23,000 and $28,500. Hyundai also offers the Veloster in a high-performance N configuration, but pricing for that model has not been released.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Hyundai dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Hyundai deals page.

Hyundai Veloster Versus the Competition

Hyundai Veloster vs. Honda Civic

The Honda Civic ranks highly in the compact car class, and it's better than the Veloster in most ways. While the Hyundai is engaging and fun in its own right, the Honda impresses even more with its responsive steering and sharp handling. Also, you have more-powerful engine choices with the Civic: from 158 horsepower in the base model to the 205-horspower Civic Si and 306-horsepower Type R. With better fuel economy, a nicer interior, and a roomier second row, the Civic should have more widespread appeal than the Veloster. Also, unlike the Hyundai, the Honda has multiple body styles to choose from: sedan, coupe, and hatchback.

Compare the Veloster and Civic »

Hyundai Veloster vs. Mazda3

The Mazda3 is a superior pick to the Veloster for most shoppers. If you like the way the Veloster drives, you'll probably like this Mazda even more. Each car has three engines to choose from, with the Veloster topping out at 275 horsepower and the new Mazda3 Turbo boasting up to 250. The Mazda hatchback is also comparable to the Veloster in cargo space. You'll pay more for the Mazda, but you’ll get a top-notch interior and more standard driver assistance features. The Mazda3 is available as a sedan or hatchback. Like the Veloster, both body styles offer mediocre second-row space.

Compare the Veloster and Mazda3 »

Compare the Veloster, Civic, and Mazda3 »

Veloster Interior: Pleasing Enough

Veloster Cargo Space

The Hyundai Veloster offers a lot more cargo space than sedans in the compact car class but not as much as other hatchbacks. The Veloster has 19.9 cubic feet of storage room with the back seats up and a maximum of 44.5 cubic feet with the back seats folded. Some hatchback rivals offer up to 10 extra cubic feet with the rear seats down.

The Veloster's cargo hold floor is low, but the bottom trunk lip is high, so you'll have to exert some extra effort to lift in heavy items. Also, the hatch opening isn’t very wide.

How Many People Does the Veloster Seat?

The Veloster seats four people. Up front, the cabin has a cockpitlike feel in that most lines and controls are tailored to the driver. There's also a clear space delineation between the driver and front passenger. The seats are comfortable enough, despite offering only a handful of manual adjustments. Outward visibility is decent, but thick rear pillars slightly get in the way.

This Hyundai is unusual in that it has one driver-side door and two doors on the passenger side. Thus, access to the second row is easier on the passenger side. Taller people and adults should be OK in the Veloster's second row for short jaunts, but these are far from the roomiest accommodations in the class.

Veloster and Child Car Seats

There's a complete set of LATCH connectors for each of the Veloster’s rear outboard seats. The tether anchors can be hard to find, and the lower anchors are set too deeply in the seats.

Veloster Interior Quality

The Veloster's sporty attitude is reflected in its cabin, which features some bright-color trim pieces and a modern design. Still, many noticeable hard plastics keep it from feeling like one of the more upscale cars in the class.

Veloster Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Hyundai's infotainment system is a breeze to learn, with simple menus and logical controls. There are also plenty of physical buttons and knobs on the center stack.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth
  • Available infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, wireless device charging, an eight-speaker Infinity premium stereo, a BlueLink telematics system, satellite radio, voice recognition, navigation, and HD Radio
  • Other available features: a sunroof, proximity keyless entry, and automatic climate control

Read more about interior »

Veloster Performance: Upgrade for More Fun

Veloster Engine

The Hyundai Veloster comes standard with a naturally aspirated 147-horsepower inline-four-cylinder engine. It's fine for muted daily driving but not much else. You may have to give the throttle a little extra encouragement if you need to pull away from a stop quickly or when merging onto a highway.

Two turbocharged options are a better fit and should be the clear choice for anyone looking at the Veloster as a performance hot hatch. Models with Turbo in their trim name feature a 201-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged engine. It's much livelier than the standard engine, with little turbo lag and ample power throughout the rev range.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and though the clutch is a little stiff, it's still good for a solid and sporty driving experience. The standard engine is available with a six-speed automatic transmission, while the turbocharged engines can be had with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

The range-topping Veloster N is the performance-oriented model. It makes 250 horsepower from a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and only comes with a manual transmission. The N tops out at 275 horsepower when equipped with an optional performance package.

Veloster Gas Mileage

The 2021 Veloster gets its best fuel economy estimates with the 1.6-liter turbo engine and the dual-clutch automatic transmission: 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. With the base engine and six-speed automatic, the Veloster gets an estimated 27 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. Fuel economy drops by 1 or 2 mpg for models with the manual transmission.

Among compact cars, this Hyundai's fuel economy is subpar. Several class rivals get 30 mpg or more in the city and up to and over 40 mpg on the highway.

Veloster Ride and Handling

Even in its base form, the front-wheel-drive Veloster delivers a pretty engaging drive and agile handling. While the suspension is tuned on the stiffer side, this small hatchback still travels smoothly over rough pavement.

Models with more-powerful engines come with sporty upgrades. Turbo models have sport-tuned steering, and the Veloster N features a sport suspension. Certain models also come with Michelin summer performance tires. The pinnacle is the Performance package for the N, which adds a limited-slip differential, a variable exhaust, larger front and rear brake rotors, and Pirelli summer-only tires.

Read more about performance »

Veloster Reliability

Is the Hyundai Veloster Reliable?

The 2021 Hyundai Veloster has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five.

Hyundai Veloster Warranty                       

Hyundai covers the Veloster with a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Veloster Safety

Veloster Crash Test Results

At the time of writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2021 Hyundai Veloster, but the nearly identical 2020 model earned the highest rating of Good in all six crash tests. Properly equipped models were awarded a Top Safety Pick designation. Veloster 2.0 models received the lowest rating of Poor for how well their standard halogen headlights illuminate the road ahead, while Turbo trims with LED projector headlights earned the second-highest rating of Acceptable.

The IIHS uses a different scale for grading collision avoidance features. The 2020 Veloster earned the highest rating of Superior for its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, while the optional vehicle-to-pedestrian system earned the second-highest rating of Advanced.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not evaluated any models in the Veloster's current generation.

Veloster Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Driver attention monitoring
  • Rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Head-up display
  • Adaptive cruise control

Read more about safety »

Veloster Dimensions and Weight

The Veloster is about 14 feet long, and its curb weight ranges from 2,701 to 3,106 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Hyundai Veloster Built?

Hyundai builds the 2021 Veloster in South Korea.

Which Hyundai Veloster Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Hyundai Veloster comes in five main trims: 2.0, 2.0 Premium, Turbo R-Spec, Turbo, and Turbo Ultimate. The Veloster is also offered in a high-performance N configuration.

If you're on a strict budget, the base model should satisfy. It comes standard with an infotainment system and active safety features such as automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and driver attention monitoring. If you can afford it, however, it's worth the extra $4,000 or so to buy the 2.0 Premium trim and its wide array of extra amenities. If you're looking for a more engaging drive, you'll want to consider one of the Turbo models, which deliver better acceleration.

Hyundai Veloster 2.0

The 2021 Veloster 2.0 starts at $18,900 and comes with a 147-horsepower four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic transmission is optional for $1,000. Standard features include cloth upholstery, a six-way manually adjustable driver's seat, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, a rearview camera, and driver attention monitoring. Also standard is an infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth.

Hyundai Veloster 2.0 Premium

The Veloster 2.0 Premium has a starting price of $23,100. The standard six-speed automatic transmission comes with paddle shifters. Additional features include cloth and leather upholstery, heated front seats, a sunroof, proximity keyless entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, automatic climate control, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. This model's infotainment system includes an 8-inch touch screen, wireless device charging, an eight-speaker Infinity premium stereo, the BlueLink telematics system, satellite radio, and voice recognition.

Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec

For $23,450, the Veloster Turbo R-Spec comes with a 201-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. An automatic transmission is not available in this trim. The R-Spec features a sport shifter, sport-tuned steering, performance tires, LED headlights and taillights, and unique cloth upholstery. The rest of the amenities list largely mirrors that of the 2.0 Premium, though the R-Spec does not have a sunroof, heated front seats, or wireless device charging.

Hyundai Veloster Turbo

The Veloster Turbo starts at $25,750. It has the 201-horsepower engine, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and nearly all of the features of the 2.0 Premium and R-Spec trims combined.

Hyundai Veloster Turbo Ultimate

The Veloster Turbo Ultimate retails for $28,450. Added features include leather upholstery, pedestrian detection, rain-sensing windshield wipers, navigation, HD Radio, a head-up display, and adaptive cruise control.

Hyundai Veloster N

The performance-oriented Veloster N comes with a 250-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the manual transmission, performance tires, a sport suspension, and front sport seats. The $2,100 Performance package increases horsepower to 275 and adds an electronic limited-slip differential, a variable exhaust, summer-only tires, and larger front and rear brake rotors.

At the time of writing, Hyundai has not released pricing information for the Veloster N.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Hyundai dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Hyundai deals page.

See 2021 Hyundai Veloster specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Hyundai Veloster is an appealing value in its base trim, and upper trim levels prioritize performance. There's plenty to like here, but check out other well-rounded rivals in the compact car class, and you'll probably find something a little better.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2021 Hyundai Veloster has a secret. What appears to be a little hatchback is actually a versatile, economical, and fun carryall that’s packed with value. … An impressive suite of safety features comes standard, as does Hyundai’s class-leading warranty that covers 10 years/100,000 miles for the powertrain. Throw in a base price that starts under $19,000, and the Veloster is as enticing as it is interesting." -- Autotrader
  • "The Veloster scores high in the areas of quality, features, and price. It also has a respectable record for safety and reliability, although its resale figures are only average." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Veloster is an affordable fun car with unique style, performance and, relative to its size, a large and efficient interior." -- Edmunds (2020)
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