There’s a reason people love to watch Dancing with the Stars. Sure, part of it is to see their favorite star, to watch their transformation as they go from football player or ex-Trump wife to a person that flows across the floor to the golden globe award for tiptoeing through the tulips. The other reason they watch is that they like the thought that an ordinary person could dance as well as the superstar, if only they had access to the great instructor that taught them to step nimbly while being held solidly. It’s always fun to find a car that does the same, allow one to be nimble while being held solidly.
It’s a juxtaposition as I look in the car; I think of it as a coupe because of the two-doors. Then I have to remember; it is that quirky little 3-door car with easy ingress and egress to the backseat. I am claustrophobic. I can remember like it was yesterday, being eight years old and sleeping on the bottom bed of a trundle bed. The beauty of the trundle bed is you can slide it under the top bed when not sleeping on it and have all that extra room during the day. Somehow the bottom bed slipped back underneath the top bed while I was asleep and I woke up, sandwiched between the bottom and top beds having to still my nerves to figure out where I was in the complete blackness of night and how to get out. I remember being underground in the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) subway in San Francisco and the train stopped. The doors were shut tight and not opening. I was standing by the doors and found myself trying to suck in the air through the slit in the door.
I tell you this so that you can understand that I can’t sit in the backseat of a car without a door. A 2-door coupe with seats in the back is of no use to me except as a place to throw my purse and packages. A 3-door coupe opens up the back seat as I realize I can sit back there, on the side with the door. I open the back door and throw my purse in there because I am going to drive the turbo 6-speed manual R-Spec.
The Veloster is in a very small sales segment of the industry, and the car segment of the industry continues to shrink. But some cars are still deemed as entry-level cars, that young people can buy new and continue purchasing the car that feels comfortable to them. Every car company knows this; In fact, there used to be a saying born in a Chevy, buried in a Cadillac, signifying the type of loyalty one had if they started out in one brand.
The Hyundai group knows this. They have Kias that start below Hyundais in purchasing price and the Genesis brand for luxury. As much as Genesis, Hyundai and Kia like individuality on a day to day basis the strategy of having a person born in a Kia, and graduate to a Hyundai or Genesis are very strategic for them, a strategy other companies might be forgetting. With 45 percent of Veloster buyers staying in the Hyundai brand, it’s a good bet to keep the little segment.
Why stick with cars? Because no matter how functional SUVs are they can’t dance like a car. SUVs and CUVs are boxes. Their wheelbase is different, and they are top-heavy, they would be the second group voted off dancing with the stars, right after pickup trucks. The third group would be muscle cars that still carry the heart of petrolheads from American Graffiti as they go down a straight course because that is what they do best. NO, I want to dance, I want to put my red shoes on and dance. I want David Bowie to live on in my feet and heart forever.
The Veloster Turbo R-Spec manual dances. It is nimble on its feet, but solid around the corner. If you think the segment for Veloster is small, the turbo manual sales will be a smidgen of those sales which is sad because it is by far the most fun of the Veloster to drive.
Hyundai says the competitors for the Veloster are the Mini Cooper S, Honda Civic Coupe, Fiat 500, and Volkswagen Beetle. I would add the Toyota C-HR and the Volkswagen Golf GTI. The Veloster is lighter, and not as top-heavy, but those two cars have the fun to drive factor dialed in. Mike O’Brien, vice president of Product, Corporate and Digital Planning at Hyundai Motor America says that almost 25 percent of the people that buy Velosters buy them because they are fun to drive.
Two engines, five models, seven colors
We only drove the turbo version of the vehicle, but the turbo R-Spec manual is the car I would buy. Five models are available and two engines, but once you get to the Turbo Ultimate with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT), it seems heavy and like a regular coupe. No red shoes.
2019 Hyundai Veloster engine and model pricing
25 city/ 33 highway/ 28 combined miles per gallon (mpg)
2019 Hyundai Veloster 2.0 Manual Transmission $18,500
27 city/ 34 highway/ 30 combined miles per gallon (mpg)
2019 Hyundai Veloster 2.0 Automatic Transmission $19,500
25 city/ 33 highway/ 28 combined miles per gallon (mpg)
2019 Hyundai Veloster 2.0 Automatic Transmission PREMIUM $22,750
2019 Hyundai Veloster 1.6 Turbo R-SPEC Manual Transmission $22,900
26 city/ 33 highway/ 20 combined miles per gallon (mpg)
2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo 1.6 seven-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) $25,400
28 city/ 34 highway/ 30 combined miles per gallon (mpg)
2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo 1.6 Ultimate Manual Transmission $26,650
2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Ultimate 1.6 seven-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) $28,150
When you are part of such a small segment of the market you don’t have to be as serious, hence the reason Hyundai is having fun with the seven exterior colors they offer on the Veloster, Ultra Black, Chalk White, Sonic
Silver, Thunder Gray, Sunset Orange, Racing Red, and Space Gray. Just for me, they are changing the name from Racing Red to Red Shoes, no blues.
It disappoints me that my life makes me decide between beauty and functionality, but the white leather with orange trim would be toast in days at my country home. Depending on the model and trim level there are unique colors, materials, and accents, with varying hues and textures.
The Veloster 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine uses the Atkinson-cycle and delivers a peak output of 147 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 132 torque @ 4,500. The 1.6 turbo will push the peak output to 201 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and give you 195 torque @ 1,500 ~ 4,500. All Veloster Turbo models feature Active Engine Sound, which enhances the intake and exhaust powertrain sound inside the car. All Automatic Transmission and dual-clutch transmission (DCT) models offer three driving modes, Normal, Sport, and Smart. The Manual Transmission comes in Normal and Sport models.
Opt up to the premium infotainment system to get the advanced connectivity features, including standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. I would have to have SiriusXM Radio, and I would try out the next-generation Blue Link LTE-powered connectivity for three years for free. The standard seven-inch color LCD display includes AM/FM/MP3 touchscreen audio, auxiliary inputs, and RearView Monitor. Infinity premium audio comes with eight speakers, including a subwoofer and Clari-Fi music-restoration technology.
This segment is small, but it’s fun. It’s the sporty dancing machine segment.