The Hyundai Veloster has always been something of an odd duck. It's fun to bring one home and play "stump your friends," asking them to tell you what one thing is completely unique about it. Provided they're not already automotive enthusiasts, they're likely to look at it, circle it, gaze at it ... but rarely will they say, "It's got two doors on one side and one on the other." But there they are, and you know what? They work well.
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You get all the style of a coupe, but the functionality of a four-door for the times you need to carry an extra person or two. Is it weird? Yes, but the setup also makes it stand out. The rest of the new styling certainly helps, as well: The updated 2019 model wears a sportier look with its lower roof in optional black, wider body and sleeker overall shape. The redone back end looks better, too; the taillights and rear glass look less awkward than the previous model.
There's also a new N high-performance model joining the lineup. It sits atop the trim levels and uses a 250-horsepower version of the turbocharged Used Engine , or up to 275 hp if you opt for the performance pack. It's got a bunch of other sporty bits as well, such as a type of torque-vectoring system, an electronic active suspension, a standard manual transmission (no automatic available) and even more aggressive bodywork that sets performance cars like the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI directly in its sights.
Its new motorcycle-inspired interior also looks good. The gauges and materials look premium, but headroom is a definite issue both front and rear. In front, the overhead grab handle is too close to the driver's head — it's just an inch away from my noggin. In the back, there's no headroom at all; my head rests on the headliner. Hyundai said it improved headroom in the back, but I'm not sure where they put it. The culprit appears to be the moonroof, which eats up what little precious headroom there is.
Hopefully, these things won't impact the driving experience too much given that the suspension and drivetrain improvements sound promising. The Veloster should be a hoot to drive, but if I try one, I'll have to find one without a moonroof.
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