Specs & Details
'13 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
Engine 1.6L DOHC 16-valve turbocharged inline-4
Horsepower 201 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 195 @ 1,750 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic w/paddle shifters
Price starting at $21,950
When I first drove the Hyundai Veloster about a year ago, I was really impressed by the car in almost every way. It handles well, looks cool, is practical (yes, some people do look at functionality when buying a new car), and is just plain and simple a very nice overall package for the money. The interior is spacious for a small car, and the three-door design grew on me quickly, even though it is a bit strange at first. The one thing I really hated about the car, however, was its flagrant and surprising lack of get up and go. I was not alone in this sentiment; Hyundai knew it had the potential for a hit with the economy-minded “normal folks” segment, but what about the rest of us? The people who want a small, fun car—one that can also get out of its own way? I am happy to report that our outcries have not gone unnoticed. The new turbo iteration of the Veloster is here, and it’s pretty damn good.
At first glance, you’ll be hard pressed to spot a visual difference between the turbo Veloster and the NA version. A redesigned front fascia still retains the large open-mouth look, which has (unfortunately) become a staple in the Hyundai lineup, and the Veloster turbo features LED-accented headlights that were formerly only equipped on the Korean market version of the car. A new foglight design is an improvement over the older car, and gone are the cheesy color-matched wheel inserts. The turbo comes with only one wheel option: a classy, mildly polished silver five-spoke that looks more grown up than the optional alloys from the nonturbo Veloster. The side skirts on the turbo are more aggressive, and the rear bumper has a center-mounted exhaust—a telltale sign that the car is designed with sport in mind. The turbo is also offered in a unique flat-gray color—a shade only available on this model. The flat paint thing has run its course in my opinion, but it’s still cool to see Hyundai making an active attempt to connect with enthusiasts by offering an option like this. The interior is largely the same as the nonturbo model, still featuring a standard 7-inch touch screen with available navigation, a 450-watt sound system, and Hyundai’s optional proprietary Blue Link telematics system. There are a few small changes such as badging and stitching and the like, and you can read about those details on Hyundai’s website if you feel so inclined.
The side skirts on the turbo are more aggressive, and the rear bumper has a center-mounted exhaust—a telltale sign that the car is designed with sport in mind.
Aside from small visual changes, the Veloster turbo looks like the same car as before. The obvious difference I’m concerned with here is performance, and considering how much room for improvement there was, I had high expectations as I embarked on the testdrive. Right away it’s clear that the turbo can, in fact, get out of its own way. Gone is the feeling from the nonturbo Veloster of “oh s@&%” as you pull onto a freeway on-ramp and notice an 18-wheeler charging up your rear end, wondering legitimately if you can pull ahead in time. With the turbo, a simple flooring of the throttle gives you a real and noticeable boost of power at nearly any rpm. The car achieves maximum torque at only 1,750 rpm, so you can pretty much mash it down and you won’t be disappointed by where you end up going. Sure, if you try to floor it in Sixth gear at 30 mph, you won’t get much out of it, but if you drive like a reasonable person, you won’t find yourself wanting in the acceleration department. The power is linear, and although it does fall off at higher rpm, the powerband is set up really well for a fun city commuter car. The gearing is pretty nice as well; it’s close enough to be fun, but you won’t find yourself at 5,500 rpm on the freeway, either (unless you’re driving like a total jackass).
The thing I like most about the turbo is that it doesn’t feel like an entirely new car. The Veloster platform is very solid for a modest daily driver, and it’s good to see that Hyundai has been able to retain that feel while improving the performance in a serious way. Will we see lots of them on the racetrack? That is to be determined, but Hyundai certainly hopes so. Most likely, we’ll see more of them in stock trim scooting around cities across the U.S., with many a smile displayed on the faces of the owners as they do so.
If I had to make a list of downfalls to the Veloster turbo, that list would be pretty short.
If I had to make a list of downfalls to the Veloster turbo, that list would be pretty short. I’m not crazy about the fact that there is no optional (or better yet, standard) limited-slip differential, and that the Veloster platform is designed with a torsion beam rear suspension instead of independent rear is an obvious attempt to make it cheaper, instead of the way it should be. I can buy a ’92 Honda Civic four-door with IRS, so seeing so many new small- segment cars using a torsion beam really irks me. (Fit, Fiesta, Mazda 2, and a few others are also guilty of this). However, I can get over it because the Veloster Turbo is arguably the most well balanced car in its segment, if you place an emphasis on performance. With a starting price of just under $22,000, you really can’t argue with the way it drives. You’d have to shell out a few more bucks to get into a Civic Si or GTI, and to be honest, those cars lack some of the features that make the Veloster turbo appealing. To be able to make a car that legitimately competes with the industry standard Civic Si and GTI is no small feat, so I give kudos to Hyundai for that.
Hyundai did a good thing by listening to the enthusiast market and introducing this car, and we thank them sincerely for that. The Veloster turbo is another step in the right direction by the ever-growing Korean automaker. This car, along with Genesis coupe, places two very solid performers in the lineup for buyers to choose from, which is more than many Japanese car manufacturers can say currently. All I can ask of Hyundai now is, “When is the 2.0L LSD-equipped R-Spec model coming out?”