Despite the ability to market it as either a three-door or five-door hatch (sold in both right-hand-drive and left-hand-drive markets, those body panels are available), Hyundai has stuck to its guns by continuing to offer the Veloster as a unique single-driver/two-passenger-door model. The logic goes something like this: "the driver approaching that side of the vehicle sees a sporty coupe, while passengers approaching the other side view an inviting sedan."
While the concept remains unchanged, the execution is much improved over the outgoing model. Up front, the blending of slimmer headlights, prominent grille, and deep front fascia more closely resembles the rest of the Hyundai lineup. The A-pillars have been pushed rearward, elongating the hood, the roofline has been tapered, while the wheel arches are more stylized. Things wrap up in back with narrow, angular taillights, a larger upper spoiler, and a new diffuser flanking the center-exit exhaust port. The overall design is cleaner, chiseled, and more mature.
It's wrapped around an interior with a Kona-inspired dash and a unique theme for each of the five trim levels. A seven-inch display is standard on the 2.0, with all other models receiving a larger eight-inch unit – both coupled to a simple and intuitive infotainment system that puts those found on many luxury models to shame. Cloth seats are standard on 2.0 models, replaced with cloth and leather on the 2.0 Premium. The Turbo R-Spec has black cloth with yellow accents, while Turbo models feature black leather and cloth with red accents. Meanwhile, the Turbo Ultimate retains the black and red dash while adding beige leather upholstery.
The cabin has also received a thorough makeover, with more supportive front seats and a cleaner dash with an attractive center stack that contains logically-arranged HVAC buttons and knobs, and redundant controls for the infotainment system. In addition to its other functions, the center console also delineates the space between the driver and passenger: the driver's side is framed in black, while the passenger side is framed in gray. The door panels are thicker, more sound deadening has been added, and – although hard – the trim is nicely grained, giving the interior a class-up look and feel.
The Veloster also sports hatchback versatility with a release handle cleverly built into the rear wiper housing that exposes 19.9 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats that expands to nearly twice that with the rear seats folded.
At the same time, only the front seats are comfortable for larger adults, while getting into the left rear seat requires either moving the driver's seat forward and climbing in, or entering from the passenger door and stepping over a seat. And while the driver's view to the front and sides is very good, the thick C-pillar and small rear window result in poor visibility out the rear three-quarters and back.