Hyundai tinkers with equipment updates on Veloster hatchback for 2020

By Paul Borden

(February 11, 2020) After a redesign for 2019, not a whole lot was left for Hyundai to do with its sporty little
Veloster hatchback for 2020. It still retains the innovative three-door design with one coupe-sized door on the driver’s side and two sedan-like doors on the passenger side for easier access to a small backseat.

And it offers a generous 19.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats that more than doubles to 44.4 cubic feet when those second-row seats are folded.

And it still has the kind of sassy attitude that the original Veloster exuded when it was introduced for the 2012 model year.

What’s different for 2020 is more a matter of subtraction than addition in features. Most notably, a 6-speed manual transmission is no longer available on the Turbo Ultimate trim level. If working a clutch pedal to shift gears is your thing, you’ll have to look at the base 2.0 model, the Turbo R-Spec or the performance-oriented Veloster N. Not bad choices, by the way.

Other tweaks include blind-spot collision warning with rear cross-traffic warning as standard on the Turbo R-Spec, wireless charging as standard on Turbo and Turbo Ultimate trims, cargo area tie-downs on all trims, new front and rear fascia accents, and gloss black side skirts in place of flat black.

The Veloster is offered in six trim levels starting with the base 2.0 that has a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine mated either the 6-speed manual ($19,755 including destination and delivery) or a 6-speed automatic transmission for $1,000 more.

That engine is rated at 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque, which is OK for your daily commute but not much in the way of fun.

Other trims get various engine/transmission combos with the 2.0 Premium coming with the 2.0 4-banger/Shiftronic transmission as standard while the R-Spec Turbo gets a 1.6 turbocharged 4-cylinder (hence the trim name) with the 6-speed manual.

The upgraded Turbo and Turbo Ultimate have the 1.6-turbo engine with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission, and the Veloster N comes with a slightly larger, 2.0-liter turbo-4 and 6-speed manual transmission.

The turbo engines offer more in the way of get-up-and-go with 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, though mileage figures are about the same for either engine (28 miles-per-gallon city, 34 highway and 30 combined for the turbo and 27/34/30 for the 2.0 trim with an automatic and 25/33/28 for the manual).

The Veloster N packs a punch of 250 horsepower with the standard package and up to 275 horsepower with the performance package.

This review is based on the Turbo Ultimate that carried a bottom-line MSRP of $29,215 with the only extra $135 for carpeted floor mats.

No extras really are needed for the Ultimate with a long line of standard features that include such niceties as LED low-beam headlights, LED tail lamps, Infinity Premium audio with 8 speakers, navigation with an 8-inch display screen, SiriusXM satellite radio (unless you live in Hawaii or Alaska), wireless charging pad, head-up display, automatic climate control, power lumbar support for the driver’s seat, a 3-yard subscription to Hyundai’s Blue Link systems, leather seats, and adaptive cruise control.

Standard safety features include lane-keeping assist, forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot warning.

Frankly, that’s a pretty impressive list for a vehicle in this particular class.

What I liked about the 2020 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Ultimate: It is a fun car to drive, and the infotainment functions are all very easy to operate. The head-up display shows not only your speed in digital form but serves as a tachometer as well, handy if you are using the paddle shifters. The big improvement is that the hologram does not disappear if you are wearing polarized sunglasses.

What I didn’t like about the 2020 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Ultimate: No manual transmission is offered on the Turbo Ultimate trim for 2020. Where is the fun in that? The latch to release the front seatback to provide access to the rear from the driver's side is at the bottom of the seatback, making it a two-handed operation to return the back to the desired position. When the lever is lifted, the seat back snaps back but not all the way to its previous location. With a rear door on the passenger side providing access, it’s not a deal breaker, but still can be inconvenient at times

Would I buy the 2020 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Ultimate? Yes. If I was looking for a sporty hatchback for basic workday commutes and perhaps weekend getaways, this would be high on my list of prospects.