2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec new car reviews

Our initial drive in the new-for-2019 Hyundai Veloster R-Spec impressed us. How much so? We called it the return of the original GTI.

The new Veloster a simple, lightweight hot hatch that doesn’t cost a mint. The R-Spec, the one you’d want, retails for $22,900. That package includes the turbo engine and six-speed manual transmission yet does away with the sunroof and other weight-adding extras.

While our initial article was written after the product launch, we recently spent a week with the car. We even featured it on our weekly live show, and through the miracle of the rerun you can watch it here. Check the entire review for JG’s counterpoint.

Other staff views

J.G. Pasterjak JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

When you find out that the option package for the Veloster R-Spec was designed by a Hyundai executive who owns an ’85 MR2, it all kind of makes sense. If I was going to sit down and spec out a current Veloster, the R-Spec checks exactly the right boxes.

There’s enough creature comforts and connectivity to make it convenient without being obtrusive, and just the right performance touches–like no sunroof but a B&M shifter–to make it a fun weekend toss-about car. And at under $24,000 including the destination charge, it’s a heck of a value.

Everyone at our office that drove the Veloster came back with the same look on their face. The one that says, “Wow, that was better than I was expecting.”

True, the first-gen Veloster was a bit of a dud. But the current model seriously revises the entire chassis and creates a much stiffer and sportier platform for the wide Michelin Pilot Sport tires to do their thing.

And the interior is wonderfully livable. Lots of space, low window and dash lines for great visibility, and fantastic ergonomic and tactile features that make the Veloster feel like more than the sum of it parts, and speak to an extreme attention to detail on the part of the designers.

It makes us REALLY look forward to the forthcoming 275-horsepower Veloster N-Spec, but for now the 201-horsepower R-Spec model is absolutely asserting itself as a legitimate force in the affordable hot-hatch segment.

Joe Gearin Joe Gearin
Associate Publisher

I was only able to sample the Hyundai Veloster R for a short time before the press-car boffins took it away. Although the drive was short, I came away impressed. With many new cars today, it seems like the engineers spend more time on the digital interface than they do designing the mechanical bits. Sure the Nav system may be easy to use, but the car itself is kind of a dud. This is exactly the opposite impression I got from this latest Veloster.

This sporty Hyundai is refreshingly simple to operate. You can actually jump in the car and drive away. You won’t have to scroll through seventeen digital menus to perfect the ride and handling, or have to read the manual to operate the radio. The new Veloster R is simple, honest, and damn good to drive. It even looks better than the old Veloster, and is downright sexy compared to the Civic Si.

Weighing in at only 2700 pounds and change, the Veloster R makes the most of it’s modest horsepower. It feels frisky, handles well, and good sensations come through your hands when shifting, or steering. This car speaks to you, and it’s easy to hear what it’s saying……”let’s have fun!”

The interior is another pleasant surprise. Its’ nicely laid out, and uses buttons for simple commands, instead of forcing the driver to interface with a distracting screen. Sometimes it’s nice to change the volume, or radio channel without having to ask permission from HAL.

Then there is the price…….right around $23K? This car is a steal at that price point. It’s roomy enough to put real humans in the back seat, efficient enough to drive everyday, and fun enough that you’ll look forward to the commute. If you value driving enjoyment over electronic gadetry, the Veloster R is worth a long look. I can’t think of a new car that offers more fun and practicality for the dollar.

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Comments
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NickD
NickD UberDork
8/16/18 9:48 a.m.

I like the styling much better on this one. Thank god Hyundai styling is getting so much less offensive.

Tactical Penguin
Tactical Penguin Dork
8/16/18 10:04 a.m.

I'm glad the Veloster N is coming soon and keeping me patient, otherwise I'd be tracking down one of these and considering trading in the Elantra Sport.

Snrub
Snrub HalfDork
8/26/18 12:16 a.m.

I recently test drove a 2019 Veloster Turbo. I was really impressed. It was a genuinely fun car. I thought it stood well on its base sporting merits (nimble handling, good feel, decent engine). The base equipment makes it even more compelling (panoramic moon roof, leather seat trim/wheel/shifter, heated wheel, android auto/apple carplay, etc).

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
8/26/18 7:09 a.m.

Years ago Datsun had a plan to win races and Dick Roberts (mech engineer, racer) came on board to form the Datsun Competition Department.  I always thought the Korean manufacturers should grab this part of the market as Nissan doesn't really seem interested at this stage of the game.  After seeing the JG's video and the Hyundai chap giving his time to talk about this car I'm sold on this manufacturer.  If only I could fit a few reels of hose in the back it would be my work truck.

scardeal
scardeal SuperDork
8/27/18 8:20 a.m.

I'm shopping for cars now, and I stopped by a Hyundai dealership because of this article.  There were no R-Specs within 500 miles of New Orleans. :(

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
8/27/18 8:29 a.m.

We just got the invitation to the Veloster N US launch later this year. Looking forward to that one. Hyundai is doing a lot of stuff right at the moment.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
8/27/18 8:51 a.m.
JG Pasterjak said:

We just got the invitation to the Veloster N US launch later this year. Looking forward to that one. Hyundai is doing a lot of stuff right at the moment.

I bet I could make myself free for this..... just let me know when! 

goingnowherefast
goingnowherefast New Reader
8/27/18 9:11 a.m.
JG Pasterjak said:

We just got the invitation to the Veloster N US launch later this year. Looking forward to that one. Hyundai is doing a lot of stuff right at the moment.

Can you disclose when that is? Asking for a friend :)

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
8/27/18 11:25 a.m.
goingnowherefast said:
JG Pasterjak said:

We just got the invitation to the Veloster N US launch later this year. Looking forward to that one. Hyundai is doing a lot of stuff right at the moment.

Can you disclose when that is? Asking for a friend :)

Late October, but that's the media launch. That doesn't really give an indication of when cars will actually be available. We'll probably find out at the launch what that date is. Based on prior experience, they could tel us anything from "In dealers now!" to "We're still finalizing shipping arrangements."

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