Hyundai’s redesigned 2019 Veloster may be small, but it has mighty safety scores. The 2019 Veloster earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick award, the agency’s second-highest designation.
The Veloster earned good ratings (out of good, acceptable, marginal or poor) in the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head-restraint tests, as well as a good rating in the tough new passenger-side small overlap front test. In addition, the hatchback’s standard front crash prevention system scored a superior rating (out of superior, advanced, basic or none) in IIHS’ crash-avoidance tests.
But the Veloster’s Top Safety Pick designation isn’t cut and dried. To earn a Top Safety Pick award, a vehicle must also earn a good or acceptable rating in headlight tests, which is where things start to get complicated. Only Veloster models with specific headlights — those on the uplevel Turbo, Turbo Ultimate and Turbo R-Spec trims built after August 2018 — qualify. (You can usually find the month of manufacture on a sticker in the driver’s doorsill.)
“Earlier models created excessive glare for oncoming drivers and earn a poor rating. The Veloster’s base headlights also earn a poor rating,” IIHS said in its test results.
A good headlight score is required for the Top Safety Pick Plus award, the agency’s highest designation. Since the Veloster earned an acceptable rating, it only gets a Top Safety Pick (no “Plus”).
To further complicate the scores, an issue with the Veloster’s unconventional door setup also proved to be a problem. It has two conventionally hinged doors on the passenger side and only one door on the driver’s side. The driver’s door opened during side-impact crash tests, which could lead to occupant ejection, IIHS said. Hyundai remedied the issue in Veloster models built after January 2019, and the door stayed shut in a second test. The automaker has issued a recall for cars produced before the change.
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