Sedans & Coupes

The 2021 Hyundai Veloster Crushed It in Consumer Reports’ Road Test

Gearheads know that you can have a whole lot of fun driving a car without spending a ton of money. There is a wealth of affordable sports cars on the market, and names like the Ford Mustang and Mazda Miata come to mind. However, the 2021 Hyundai Veloster might be the best-kept secret in the automotive industry.

This ultra-unique three-door hatchback has significantly improved over the past few years. What was once a mild-mannered, forgettable entry in the Hyundai lineup has turned into the brand’s most exciting car. These upgrades couldn’t have come at a better time, considering the relatively recent death of hot hatches like the Ford Fiesta ST.

Now, the Veloster stands as one of the best deals on the market. Its base trim has a starting MSRP of just $18,900. Plus, the high-performance Veloster N costs only $32,250 – $5,245 less than the competing Honda Civic Type R.

Critics raved about the 2021 Hyundai Veloster’s performance

A light blue 2021 Hyundai Veloster N driving down a curvy road
The 2021 Hyundai Veloster N in action | Photo via Hyundai

Hyundai’s three-door hot hatch is more than just an affordable sports car alternative. Industry experts like Consumer Reports had a laundry list of compliments about the Veloster after driving it.

Surprisingly, the 2021 Hyundai Veloster earned the top score in Consumer Reports’ road test among sports cars under $40,000. Notably, the publication gave the Veloster the second-highest overall vehicle rating in this segment behind the Mazda Miata.

Consumer Reports drove a Veloster Turbo R-Spec ($23,450 MSRP) for the purposes of its testing. This trim is outfitted with a 201-hp 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which is a serious step up from the lesser 147-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder on lower trims. Plus, it comes with a precise six-speed manual transmission with a metal shift knob for a hands-on driving experience.

That’s undoubtedly a lot of power for a little car, but that’s not what captured the hearts of Consumer Reports’ reviewers. The 2021 Hyundai Veloster’s handling is simply phenomenal.

The publication’s view stated, “On the track, the Veloster was terrific. It displayed tenacious grip in sharp turns, partially thanks to its sticky, high-performance tires. We found it responsive and forgiving, even in the hands of less-skilled track drivers.”

In fact, Consumer Reports claimed the Veloster had the quickest speed it ever recorded in its avoidance maneuver test.

There’s even more to love about the Veloster

The 2021 Hyundai Veloster isn’t a one-trick poney, as it excels in quite a few areas. The U.S. News & World Report listed the Veloster’s “intuitive infotainment system” as one of the car’s biggest draws. A seven-inch touchscreen comes standard, but an eight-inch display is equipped on the 2.0 Premium trim and above.

Meanwhile, the Veloster is pretty safe, too. It comes standard with driver-assistance technologies such as automatic emergency braking and lane-keep assist.

If you’re not already in love with the 2021 Hyundai Veloster, then you will be once you meet the Veloster N. This race-inspired model turns the thrills up to 11. It’s powered by a 275-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission with rev-matching. However, shoppers can add the optional eight-speed wet dual-clutch automatic transmission for a more relaxed driving experience.

The 2021 Veloster N is outfitted with sporty design cues that make it stand out from the rest of the lineup. Hyundai also equipped it with the necessary equipment to dominate the track. Its electronic limited-slip differential helps the car corner with power and precision. Plus, its sport bucket seats keep the driver firmly planted in place.

Which trim level should you buy?

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It’s tough to go wrong when buying a 2021 Hyundai Veloster. Its base model isn’t exactly exciting to drive, but it serves as an ultra-affordable and safe commuter car.

Most buyers will feel at home behind the wheel of the Turbo trim ($25,750 MSRP). It has the same powerplant as the R-Spec Turbo that Consumer Reports tested, but it has a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission in place of the manual.

However, you shouldn’t discount the Veloster N if you have the money. Its hefty price tag is well worth it, considering the price of similarly equipped competitors. Its styling, handling, and quirks make it a truly unique hot hatch.