Does Anyone Actually Buy the Hyundai Veloster?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a heavy impact on the auto industry, with sales dropping even for many of the most popular brands. However, looking at the reduced sales figures of the Hyundai Veloster raises an interesting question: was anyone actually buying this vehicle to begin with? Maybe not. According to data from GoodCarBadCar, the Veloster’s sales were surprisingly low even before the pandemic began.

The Hyundai Veloster’s history of low sales

There’s no doubt that the Hyundai Veloster has taken a hit in 2020. So far this year, only 5,178 Veloster units have sold in the United States. However, comparing month-by-month data from GoodCarBadCar reveals a history of rocky sales figures, some of which are similar to or even lower than the numbers we’re seeing for 2020.

Prior to this year, the Veloster’s lowest sales years were 2011 and 2018, which respectively sold 9,284 and 10,871 Velosters. In fact, 2018 saw such low sales that some months in 2020 have actually outsold the same month in 2018 — for example, in May 2020, 858 Velosters sold in the U.S., while in May 2018 only 728 Velosters sold.

These numbers just go to show that while the Hyundai Veloster has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it didn’t really have that far to fall. Its sales have been trending downward since 2012, and 2020 will fit within this established pattern.

What people like about the Veloster

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Its generally low sales don’t mean that the Hyundai Veloster is a bad car. In fact, Car and Driver describes it as a competitively priced hatchback that is fun to drive and has unique, attractive styling. The 2020 Veloster starts at $19,795 and comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 147 hp. Buyers can choose between an automatic transmission, a manual transmission, or a dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The 2020 Veloster also offers an optional 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 201 hp, which is an upgrade that Car and Driver recommends. In fact, with this engine, the Veloster provides quick acceleration that is competitive for its class. With this upgrade, reviewers found the Veloster’s handling “nimble and rewarding.”

This hatchback also has a fairly large amount of cargo space: 20 cubic feet with the rear seats up, and 44.5 cubic feet with them lowered. The 2019 model was named a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS, and the most recent model’s standard safety features include forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and lane-keeping assist.

Where the Veloster falls short

While the Hyundai Veloster has its fair share of advantages, there are some areas where it does fall short. It gets 28 miles per gallon in the city and 34 miles per gallon on the highway, a fuel economy which is decent but not as good as many of its biggest competitors. 

The Veloster’s cabin is also slightly underwhelming, according to Car and Driver. Although there is nothing particularly bad about it (save for a few hard plastic materials), the cabin simply doesn’t have an upscale appearance. Many of its competitors, on the other hand, have more attractive interiors that can provide an overall better ride experience.

Additionally, Car and Driver notes that the base engine is somewhat noisy when pushed too hard. While the more powerful engine options provide better handling and less noise, this complaint is something to note for anyone who plans to go with the base engine.

Overall, the Hyundai Veloster is an affordable hatchback with no major flaws. Its downside is simply that many of its competitors offer a slightly better performance — which is perhaps why its sales figures over the past few years have left something to be desired.