The redesigned 2019 Hyundai Veloster unveiled Monday at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit blends familial features from the Sonata sedan and Elantra GT wagon with its own stylish, odd-ball form. It all seems like a rehash of yesterday’s news until you consider the new Veloster N, a high-performance model that’s the first of what Hyundai promises will be several vehicles developed in Germany under the sporty banner.
First, the standard Veloster is predictable in the fascia—a prominent, heavily styled grille with a pair of aggressively canted headlights. These aren’t the oversized, oddly shaped units of the old Veloster. Hyundai’s designers cleaved off that unnecessary garnish and instead came up with a design that’s far closer to the snarly face of the Elantra. Beneath the headlights sit smaller intakes and functional air curtains.
The Veloster’s profile doesn’t look much different at first. At first glance, Hyundai flared the wheel arches even more aggressively and attached a more rakish beltline. But closer inspection shows A-pillars that are further back that results in a longer, sportier hood. The Veloster’s odd fourth door hangs around on the passenger side, creating an optical illusion that the Veloster is longer than it really is.
MORE: Read our full review of the 2017 Hyundai Veloster
In back, small but welcome upgrades abound. The taillights are a more stylized version of the Elantra sedan’s, and they integrate into a new, cleaner-looking liftgate. Hyundai’s decision to integrate the hatch release into the rear wiper housing means less visual clutter on a tail that’s already too busy. The center-exit exhaust remains, with a pair of pipes for the Veloster Turbo.
Hyundai has managed to make these changes with dramatically altering the Veloster’s footprint, for better or worse. The 2019 model is a mere 0.4 inches wider than last year’s car, while the overall length increases from 166.1 to 166.9 inches, with all the extra car sitting in the front overhang. The wheelbase and height are unchanged.
Also mostly unchanged is the 2019 Veloster’s powertrain. The base engine option remains a 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated 4-cylinder with the choice of either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. Power is up to 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque over last year’s model.
If none of those figures are particularly appealing, Hyundai will offer a Veloster Turbo with a 1.6-liter, turbo-4. It offers buyers 201 hp, 195 lb-ft of torque, and the choice of either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic.
That’s not enough for performance fans, though, so Hyundai will also now offer a 2.0-liter turbo-4 rated at 275 hp and 260 lb-ft paired exclusively to a 6-speed manual in the Veloster N. A sport-tuned exhaust that crackles in hard driving is also part of the Veloster N package, as are upsized performance brakes.
All Velosters ride on a multi-link rear suspension, rather than last year’s torsion-bar setup, promising a more capable handling character than the occasionally cumbersome first-generation model. The Veloster rides on 17-inch wheels with available sticky Michelin summer tires, while the N has a firmer suspension, unique steering tuning, and a choice of 18- and 19-inch performance rubber.
Hyundai made a number of improvements to the Veloster’s feature set, offering an entire array of active safety systems. Adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beams are all on offer, although forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and active lane control are the only items that comes standard. There’s also a standard rearview camera, while an available head-up display puts all manner of data right in the driver’s line of sight.