By William Maley
Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
May 16, 2013
When is a sport compact car not a sport compact? Bit of an odd question I know, but that has been in my head since I got a 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo. It has the looks, powertrain, and seats with the word Turbo stitched into them. But there is one part of the vehicle that doesn’t quite make the cut. So where does the Veloster Turbo stack up in the sport compact hierarchy?
The Veloster Turbo is definitely a looker. Starting with a normal Veloster and its unique alienistic design and third door, Hyundai designers added more distinctiveness. Up front, the Veloster Turbo comes with larger grille that could give most Audi grilles a run for their money on size. The large grille also allows for more air to help provide cooling to the raditor and intercooler. Also up front are a set of LED Accent lighting in the front headlights and new body panels,. The back end gets a new diffuser with center mounted exhaust ports. Finishing off the looks is a set of eighteen-inch alloy wheels and black paint.
There is one slight problem with the Veloster Turbo’s design. The back end has a uniquely styled rear hatch with curved glass and a spoiler. While it adds street cred to the design, it also makes it very difficult to see everything out of the back. I was very thankful my tester had a backup camera which made it somewhat easier to see out of the back.
Inside the Veloster Turbo, it's mostly the same as the normal Veloster. The only real change is the standard black leather seats with colored accenting (blue in my case) and turbo scripting. Front seats are comfortable and provide good support when driving long distances or if you want to have a bit of fun. The back seat is another story. Anyone can fit back there if they’re under six feet, but they really won’t be comfortable thanks to tight head and legroom. Then there is the issue of getting into the back. Because of third door’s shape and small opening, you have to contort your body in such a way to fit in. Hyundai should have stuck a sticker on the back window that read “to be used in case of emergencies”.
The Veloster Turbo comes equipped with a surprising amount of standard equipment such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel, proximity key with push-button start, an eight-speaker Dimension audio system, seven-inch touch screen, and Hyundai’s BlueLink connectivity system. My car was equipped with the $2,500 Ultimate Package which adds a panoramic sunroof, navigation, backup camera with sensors, and automatic headlights. This is a option I highly recommend.
Using the infotainment system was a breeze thanks to Hyundai making the user interface easy to understand and a touchscreen that responds very quickly when touched. Also, the screen provided very clean and crisp graphics. The eight-speaker Dimension audio system filled the Veloster Turbo’s cabin with excellent sound, though I was wishing for a bit of sound deadening when on the highway so I didn’t have to have the system cranked when I was listening to certain things.
Under the Veloster Turbo’s hood is a 1.6L turbo, direct-injected four-cylinder engine making 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. That can be paired with a six-speed manual, or on my test Veloster Turbo, a six-speed automatic. With a curb weight of 3,005 pounds and torque arriving at 1,750 rpm, the Veloster Turbo really hustles. Every time I stepped on accelerator, a big grin would appear on my face as the power rush down to the wheels and moved the vehicle along at a pretty rapid rate.
Even with all of this performance, the Veloster Turbo does very well on fuel economy. The EPA rates the 2013 Veloster Turbo at 24 City/31 Highway/28 combined. During my week, I averaged 28 MPG in mixed driving.
Now onto the most argued point of the Veloster Turbo; the suspension. Now you might think that Hyundai decided to tweak the suspension to give it a more sporty feel. No. The Veloster Turbo uses the same suspension as the normal Veloster. The real change is an optional set of Michelin Pilot Super Sport Summer tires that my car was equipped with. Other than that, Hyundai made some tweaks to the steering and brakes to help differentiate the two models.
Out on the open road, the Veloster Turbo was a very capable partner. While it cannot fully hide its basic roots (the Veloster Turbo does exhibit some body roll), the improved steering, grippier tires, and new brakes really make the Veloster Turbo a joy to drive. In day to day driving, the Veloster Turbo is surprisingly comfortable and easy to live with.
Now to answer a question that I asked at the beginning: Where does the Veloster Turbo stack up in the sport compact hierarchy? Well it happens to be at the bottom mostly due to it having the same suspension as the base Veloster. Hyundai has got everything else to make the Veloster Turbo a real contender. But as we’ve seen before, Hyundai is a quick learner and I wouldn’t be surprised if they pull something magical right out of their hat with a refresh or new model.
But let's remove the sport compact comparisons for the time being and look at the Veloster Turbo as a whole. During my time, I realized Hyundai created something very special with this vehicle. The distinctive looks are only part of the story as the powertrain seems to pull off an amazing feat of excellent performance and fuel economy. Partner that with the amount of standard equipment it comes with and you have a package that very few vehicles can even match.
The Veloster Turbo is a ‘sport compact’ in most areas, but very good vehicle all around. It's one vehicle that I would gladly own.
Disclaimer: Hyundai provided the Veloster Turbo, Insurance, and one tank of gas
Year - 2013
Make – Hyundai
Model – Veloster
Trim – Turbo
Engine – 1.6L Turbocharged GDI Four-Cylinder
Driveline – Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
Horsepower @ RPM – 201 @ 6,000 RPM
Torque @ RPM – 195 @ 1,750 RPM
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 24/31/28
Curb Weight – 3,005 lbs
Location of Manufacture – Ulsan, South Korea
Base Price - $22,950.00
As Tested Price - $27,520.00* (Includes $775.00 destination charge)
Ultimate Package - $2,500.00
Michelin Pilot Super Sport Summer Tires - $1,200.00
Carpet Floor Mats - $95.00