What It Is: Hyundai’s upcoming, second-generation Veloster hatchback caught wearing the least camouflage we’ve seen yet. In fact, this particular red Veloster, all spiffed up with a contrasting gloss black roof, black wheels, and a full complement of aero addenda, appears to be wearing no visible camouflage at all for its late-night photo shoot. So what you see is pretty much what Hyundai will sell once the new Veloster makes its way into showrooms.
While the finer details of Hyundai’s funky, haunchy hatch are a little tough to make out, its center-position tailpipes and diffuser-style rear bumper suggest that this particular car is a Turbo. That model will no longer be the top-dog version, instead being positioned between the base car and a zestier new Veloster N model in an expanded, three-model lineup.
As we’ve reported previously, the Veloster’s asymmetrical door design, with one on the left and two on the right, returns for Gen 2, but some of the oddball styling of the front fascia has been streamlined and sharpened and generally made more mainstream. Indeed, the grille/headlight treatment closely resembles that of the Ford Focus RS, which incidentally, should be one of the N’s prime competitors. Could Hyundai be getting serious about performance this time?
Why It Matters: The current Veloster hasn’t aged well, and with Honda’s Civic Sport, Civic Si, and Civic Type R setting the sport-compact segment utterly on fire this year—earning Honda a 10Best Cars award for doing so—a well-executed new version could help Hyundai make inroads with this influential set of customers. And with three levels of performance, the Veloster should have considerably broader appeal than before, especially if Hyundai gives the Veloster N some real teeth.
Platform: The stout bones of the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT will provide the underpinnings for the new Veloster, so expect a bit more space between the front and rear axles as well as a slight increase in width. The torsion-beam rear suspension of the standard Elantra GT could make its way to base cars, but it’s possible that all Velosters may ride on fully independent suspensions, as does the Elantra GT Sport. Don’t look for the Veloster Turbo to get the adaptive dampers expected to be offered on the Veloster N, but the Turbo is certain to have a sportier tune than the base car. If the Elantra GT and GT Sport models are anything to go on, the Velosters should be at least somewhat entertaining from a handling standpoint, although we hope that they are a bit less noisy at cruising speeds than those cars.
Powertrain: Given that the Veloster shares its basic underpinnings with the aforementioned Elantra GT, we expect that the new Turbo will use the same turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder as the Elantra GT Sport, in which it produces 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. As before, it will have front-wheel drive and is likely to continue being offered with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions.
Base models will likely use the same 2.0-liter inline-four that’s tasked with powering the Elantra GT to the tune of 161 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque, while the N will likely churn out something akin to the 271 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque of the not-for-U.S. Hyundai i30 N.
Competition: Ford Fiesta ST, Honda Civic Si, Mazda 3, Volkswagen Golf GTI.
Estimated Arrival and Price: The nighttime photo shoot where we caught this Veloster running to and fro was almost certainly for the production of marketing materials, which indicates that Hyundai is just about ready to officially lift the Veloster’s veil. It’s probable we’ll see it this month at the Detroit auto show—if not there, then at the Chicago auto show in February, which Hyundai has used for earlier Veloster reveals. Prices will probably check in near the current prices for the 2017 model (the 2018 model year has been skipped), which are $18,895 for the base car and $23,485 for the Turbo. Figure another three or four grand to step into an N. We’d be surprised if the Veloster isn’t in dealerships by spring.