Hyundai’s 2021 Veloster Comes in Three Flavors, but North of the Border, It’s a Very Different Story
The Hyundai Veloster remains an automotive oddity in a vehicle landscape rapidly shunning nonconformity, and for that, we give Hyundai credit. The car still exists. You author can still recall the first time he ever encountered one in the wild — in historic Vieux-Québec, with the “three-door” hatchback resting quietly under a streetlamp on those cobblestone streets.
A second-generation model landed in the latter part of 2018, with newfound power coming by way of the first N-badged Hyundai. With 250 horses and 260 lb-ft of torque, the Veloster N was a vehicle worthy of the hot hatch banner. And come 2021, it’ll be the only Veloster offered north of the border.
As reported by Driving, the base and mid-level Velosters will disappear from Canadian dealerships for the upcoming model year. That means buyers will no longer have the choice to outfit their oddball hatch with a fairly tepid entry-level 2.0-liter (147 hp, 132 lb-ft) or stouter 1.6-liter turbo (201 hp, 195 lb-ft).
In Canada, the Veloster will only exist to enhance the brand’s performance cred. And performance buyers shall receive, as the 275 hp Performance Package becomes standard for the coming year.
Reasons? Hyundai isn’t saying, but one needs only look at the model’s sales figures to guess why. In all of 2019, Hyundai Canada sold just 1,420 Velosters. Compare that to the model’s debut year, where 5,741 Canucks lined up to look offbeat — and that was in the absence of any N-derived heat. In the first seven months of 2020, Veloster sales amounted to just 572 vehicles.
With an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic arriving for 2021, the hottest of Hyundai’s hatches opens itself up to buyers who never wanted, or never learned, to row their own. Sadly, the elimination of the lower-end Veloster comes at the same time as two other discontinuations in that northern market. The Accent, available only in five-door hatch form in Canada, vanishes from that market come 2021 (the sedan-only model remains in the U.S.), and the same goes for the Elantra GT in North America as a whole.
The latter model was available in turbocharged N Line guise, replacing the identically-equipped Sport model. Replacing all of these affordable hatchbacks? An affordable crossover of diminutive proportions (and power). For an automotive brand that introduced itself to the North American market through its hatchbacks, Hyundai seems to want to get rid of them in a hurry.