By Asian Journal Auto Editor

The Hyundai Veloster is pretty unique looking design; a sport coupe with the versatility of an additional passenger-side rear door, one door on the driver’s side and a rear hatch. So basically, a three door plus hatch. For 2019 there is a subtle restyle that makes it less aggressive than the previous generation. Design changes include — revised grille, flared fenders, a restyled front fascia, re-contoured windshield pillars, and LED lighting. There are also a host of engineering and mechanical changes. New construction adds torsional rigidity improves by 27.8 percent, while the use of high-strength steel goes up to 52 percent. There is a fully independent rear suspension to replace the old twist-beam setup, while up front, the steering rack is revised to improve handling.

In the engine department, there is a new 147 hp 2.0-liter base engine. The 1.6 turbo engine delivers: 201-hp/195-lb-ft torque. The top-spec turbo 1.6L engine is unchanged, however the automatic transmission option for this engine option is now a seven-speed DCT with Normal/Sport driving modes, and engine sound enhancement. The seven-speed DCT is available for an extra $1,000. The Veloster starts at a very reasonable $20,999 for the 2.0L with the six-speed manual transmission and Hyundai’s typical high level of equipment. The 1.6L turbo model starts at $25,899, while the upscale Veloster turbo tech 1.6 starts at $28,899. The Veloster Turbo tech with seven speed DCT transmission starts at $30,399.

Standard features include: 18-inch wheels, heated seats, remote entry, full power remote feature locks and windows, Bluetooth, leather steering wheel and shift knob, rear view camera, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert. Technology is high through the model range with forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking and driver-drowsiness alert. There is also a head-up display on the upper trim lines, with pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control, 8-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth connectivity. Further upgrades include: navigation, wireless charging and premium audio system.

The Turbo model as tested offers exterior side sill package, unique turbo grille, combination, cloth and black leather seats with red striping, and a few red interior accents, however there is still a preponderance of hard black plastics in the cabin. Although I will say everything looks well put together. The front seats are comfortable and there’s plenty of headroom and legroom up front for taller occupants. The rear cabin, as with almost every compact coupe, curtails leg room if a longed legged person happens to sit in front and moves their seat back. The tiny rear  tank slot like window is not great for backing up, but thankfully all models come with a back-up camera, plus blind-spot monitoring with lane change assist and rear parking aid. With rear seats down, cargo space increases from 15.5 cubic feet to a handy 19.9 cubic feet.

On the road, performance is up compared with previous model, the turbocharged engine offers plenty of power in the mid- range and gives impressive acceleration. Handling is also good with a retuned steering rack for quicker turning. The Veloster also offers torque vectoring control (TVC), that uses the electronic stability control and powertrain control systems to improve cornering in more spirited performance driving. It is a feature found more commonly on higher end premium performance cars.  TVC also uses active braking to reduce wheelspin. The shift action for the six speed manual is smooth and unfettered and combined with the fairly light clutch offers easy shifting. To sum up, not much to complain about- the interior could do with   or a few more metal pieces to liven up the stark black plastics.  However, for the price, especially at the mid-model range, the Veloster offers very good value for money. If you want more performance from the Veloster, there is the uprated Veloster R-spec and the long awaited high- performance Veloster N, available at some point with a potent 275 horsepower and more performance upgrades. Until then the Veloster Turbo offers affordable thrills in a unique looking package.

2019 Hyundai Veloster. Base priced from $20,999 – $30,399. More