2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Review:
Hyundai wasn’t happy to leave well enough alone, and added a turbo to its sporty coupe/hatch, the Veloster.
That makes for a sporty car with reasonable power and an attractive entry price.
The Veloster Turbo starts at $21,950 with a twin-scroll turbo that creates up to 201 horsepower from the rather tame 138 the base model offers. It’s the same 1.6-liter direct-injected engine, but with the turbo it creates a lot more power.
The turbo spools up a little slower than some on pricier sports models, so there’s a bit of lag and it doesn’t punch you as you might expect. What you get is more gradual power that gives this Veloster better overall acceleration and top-end power than the base model.
Gas mileage is still good, considering this has a turbo. I got 25.2 mpg in mostly city driving. Last April I got 32.4 mpg in the base model in an even split of city and highway driving. That non-turbo is rated at 28 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, while the turbo version is rated 24 mpg city and 35 mpg highway.
Like the base Veloster, this model is a fun drive and has all the features of the original, and is loaded with the tech options most folks expect, or want on today’s cars.
That includes fog lights, projection beam headlights, a premium sound system with subwoofer and eight speakers. There’s satellite radio and hookups for iPods, MP3 and auxiliary jacks. Hyundai also includes its Blue Link Telematic system that works with a smartphone.
Mid-dash is a large 7-inch touch screen for navigation and radio tuning. The navigation system is part of a $2,500 Ultimate Package that includes a rearview camera, backup warning sensors, automatic headlights and a panoramic sunroof.
Handling is quick with good road feedback. There’s a light, but substantial feel to the car. It holds the road well with little lean in the turns.
This one had summer low-profile performance tires that aided grip, but those would need to be replaced with winter tires. They add to the rougher ride you’ll feel in the turbo. The base model was chattery on cement streets, but this one felt pretty tightly sprung no matter the pavement.
The car’s 6-speed manual transmission with EcoShift is easy to shift, but has a notchy feel that belies its value pricing. The EcoShift system lights up a gauge to tell you to shift early to save gas, but isn’t really needed.
Braking is fine from four wheel discs and as with most cars, even value-oriented ones, both traction control and stability control are standard.
I like the racy exterior, but Veloster’s interior is a styling and functional gem. The silver test car came with a black and gray interior, including a textured rubberized black dash top with matte silver door and dash trim accentuating the tall door pulls. These stick up from the door panels and make it easy to grab and pull the large doors shut.
Veloster’s dash is well laid out with all buttons easy to see. All the buttons and knobs were large enough to use, even when wearing gloves. The layout is logical, simplifying its use.
There’s a tilt/telescope steering wheel with Bluetooth hands-free phone system and cruise, radio and phone controls on the hub. Overhead there are solid visors with pull-out extenders, along with the Blue Link.
The test car’s seats were black leather with gray trim and were well contoured and comfortable. These are manually adjusted, but with a power driver’s lumbar support. I found the seats easy to adjust and appreciate the lever that pumps up the seat height. This model also comes with two levels of seat heat.
I like the alloy pedals, which aid the car’s sporty persona, and found the five-spoke alloy wheels particularly cool. I appreciated the blue trim rings on the gauges and dash buttons that glow blue, for easy viewing at night.
You can flip the driver’s seat forward, or open the small rear-opening door on the passenger’s side to access the rear seat. The door blends well into the car’s lines so it’s not obvious. Rear seat room is limited.
As in the base model the rear seats fold down, plus there’s a full 16 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second-row seats. So this will be a good hauler.
The front three-quarter view and rear visibility are limited by large mirrors and the car’s sloping back window and hatch.
The base Veloster starts at about $17,450, with a manual 6-speed transmission. But if you can stretch the budget, this turbo is a bit more fun.