Hyundai Veloster years to avoid — most common problems
Find out about the crucial years to steer clear of when considering a Hyundai Veloster.
In 2011, Hyundai released a new model that was supposed to take the place of a formerly discontinued Hyundai Coupe or Tiburon model. The new car, titled Hyundai Veloster, had a rather unique design as a 3-door hatchback coupe.
Soon after, the sales of the model started in the US and reached the peak with the second generation and the introduction of the “N” model with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with 275 horsepower. While the model rates quite well overall, there are some Hyundai Veloster years to avoid that we’ll discuss in this guide as buying advice.
Why you can trust REREV’s advice on which car model years to avoid: Our car experts look at official data, ask real drivers what they think, and talk to experienced mechanics to make sure our list is useful. This reliable info can make buying a car easier for you. Want to know how we do it? Find out more about our research methodology.
Most common Hyundai Veloster problems
Ever since it made its debut on the automotive scene in 2011, the Veloster intrigued automotive fans all over the world. It was a new concept for a car that shared a lot of its components with the i30 but still made a unique 3-door appearance.
At first, things were looking great for the model, but the drawbacks started with the initial reports of reliability issues. The first generation was mostly plagued by these, and Hyundai did a great job fixing the problems with the second-gen Veloster. Still, it’s not only a solution to go for a second-gen car, many drivers love the design of the first-generation.
So, let’s get straight to the major problems by starting with the worst one – the Veloster engine fault. These issues started with the 2012 model year and have quickly grown into rod bearing failure that triggered expensive rebuilds. On top of that, there were also some engine problems including lack of power and sluggish acceleration that were characteristic of the second generation.
There was also a problem with some equipment pieces, as well as the parking brake problem along with a few electrical issues. So, overall the problems that Veloster has aren’t that bad, but there were several engine-related issues that we need to inspect more closely.
Engine problems and connecting rod faults
The main engine problems with the Veloster started in 2012 and escalated for the 2013 model year. The problem was mostly associated with the connecting rods and bearings that often triggered symptoms of rod knock. It’s a bothersome knocking sound from the engine that signalizes that the pistons have breached into the cylinder head and permanently damaged the engine.
Connecting rods ensure the linear movement of engine pistons and the production of torque is a result of this type of movement. However, if the rod bearings are deprived of engine oil, the pistons can move out of position and cause havoc on the engine parts.
There’s no way to deal with this problem besides doing a complete engine rebuild, so it’s a serious problem that you should consider when buying a first-gen Veloster. This problem is mostly present with the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine.
Lack of power and poor acceleration
We wish we could tell you that the second-gen Veloster is much better than the first one in terms of engine operation, but that’s sadly not the case. While the engine performs a lot better without much chance of connecting rod failure that last appeared with the 2016 model, there’s another problem here.
It’s in the improperly heat-treated piston rings that are known to cause engine damage within the block. Luckily, this problem is much easier to solve than the rod bearing failure, and there was a recall in 2021 that dealt with this problem for the 2019-2021 Veloster.
Through the recall, Hyundai sometimes even replaced the entire engine and installed a special piston ring tracking system. Precisely, this system tracked the position ring noise and informed drivers if the problem reappeared. So, you can probably guess the next piece of advice we’ll give you – stay away from these model years that hadn’t gone through a recall and only go for recalled models.
Problems with the equipment
You can now take a deep breath and relax since we are out of the engine problems related to the Veloster. All jokes aside, the engine issue is a serious problem but as you could see above, there are still ways you can cope with it.
On the other hand, there are a lot of equipment problems and failures that could make you wish to avoid these models. Some of these include faulty door latches and linkages, problems with the thermal fuse, and panoramic window problems. This last one in particular could cause water leaks into the car’s passenger side and that’s a big issue.
Parking brake problem
Finally, the first-generation Hyundai Veloster had a few issues with the parking brake. The problem was in the parking brake binds that were prone to damage due to moisture and road debris. Because of that, the parking brake sometimes became inoperable and that’s a big safety concern since it caused the risk of the car rolling away.
Luckily, Hyundai issues a recall in 2012 to deal with the issue and it mostly involved 2011 and 2012 Veloster models equipped with a manual transmission.
Which Hyundai Veloster years to avoid?
We hope that this brief overview of the common Veloster problems can help you avoid having to deal with problematic problems, but we are only halfway there. It’s time to see if there are specific model years you should avoid, so let’s see what it looks like based on Veloster generations:
First-generation Hyundai Veloster (2011-2013 and 2016 model years)
As mentioned, the first-generation Veloster is the one to avoid in almost every model year. The engine fault made it unreliable and it also came with a parking brake issue and a leaking panoramic window. Based on driver complaints, the worst model years are 2012, 2013, and 2016. While the 2014 and 2015 model years didn’t have as many complaints, they still suffer from connecting rod issues.
You should also be familiar with the Bluetooth connectivity problem that prevents you from connecting your mobile to the car. We know it’s not a major problem like engine troubles, but it’s still an annoying occurrence.
Second-generation Hyundai Veloster (2019 model year)
While the second generation of the Veloster was much more reliable than the first one, there are still a few problems with the 2019 model year in particular. This model year received the most complaints among second-gen models, and it’s mainly due to the reduced engine performance.
This happened the most with the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, so it’s safer to go with a 2.0-liter Nu MPI engine. There’s also the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that proved to be a much better option. We know that this sounds like big trouble, but that’s not necessarily the case if you go with a recalled version.
Best Hyundai Veloster years
We think it’s enough discussion about problems for today so let’s get straight to the best model years of the Veloster. The first generation is objectively worse than the second, and we can’t recommend any of the first-gen Veloster models. However, the second-gen is much better so here’s a list of the best model years:
- 2018 Hyundai Veloster
- 2020 Hyundai Veloster
- 2021 Hyundai Veloster
These model years received the least complaints and make a much safer option if you wish to have peace of mind when it comes to repairs. The 2018 Veloster is the best model yet, with the least amount of driver complaints and generally positive experiences with the car.
It’s also safe to go with 2019 models that have gone through the recall with the engine issue resolved, and the 2.0-liter turbo engine in the N Performance version will bring a smile to the face of every true enthusiast.
Is the Hyundai Veloster worth buying?
In the end, it all comes down to which model you choose when it comes to the matter of Veloster’s reliability. The first generation isn’t the most reliable out there, so it’s better to skip it and go for the second. Several second-gen models have proven to be reliable with just the regular servicing required for keeping the car in good condition.
Our team was hopefully able to help you deal with the model years you should avoid, so that can be a crucial factor during the purchase.
What years did Veloster avoid?
You should avoid the Hyundai Veloster model years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016 when buying a used Veloster.
Is a Hyundai Veloster a reliable car?
The Hyundai Veloster is generally a reliable car but the second generation is much more reliable than the first one.
Do Velosters have engine problems?
Yes, Velosters have engine problems concerning connecting rods and their bearings for the first generation, and poor performance issues for the second generation. Still, the second-gen models have been fixed during a recall.