The Hyundai Veloster has only been on US soil for a matter of months and it has already proven to be a strong contender in the entry level sporty compact segment. The quirky and oddly attractive hatchback has outsold the Honda CR-Z and the redesigned Scion tC all while being on the market about half the time the others have been.
The issue with a car that looks and drives this good is the expectation that it has enough power to justify it’s racy looks. For 2013, Hyundai is offering the 1.6 liter Gamma motor with a twin scroll turbocharger passed down from the Sonata Turbo. This addition is good for an extra 70 hp bringing it’s performance inline with the Honda Civic SI’s and Golf GTI’s. With 201 hp and 195 lb-ft hauling a 2800 lb body, it should out perform the Civic, the GTI, and the Mini Cooper S. No performance test numbers have been published though power to weight ratio is best in class.
If you haven’t noticed yet, unlike it’s competitors which are all 2 door coupes or 3 door hatches, both the Veloster and Veloster Turbo features an odd 4 door hatch back configuration, offering a coupe like single drivers side door, but two doors for the passenger side, and the hatch back being the 4th door. One would imagine that this would provide all the convenience you would ever need if you often only have 2 passengers, however ingress and egress into the rear is not much easier with the rear passenger side door than climbing behind the drivers seat while it’s folded forward.
With the rear seats sitting directly on top of the rear axle, the wheel arch intrudes on the opening making it a very narrow opening on the lower part of the opening. The swoopy roofline cuts the opening for the rear door down significantly as well. I stand at 5’9″ and I had to seriously contort myself just to fit through the rear door. I can honestly say that I have had an easier time getting into a roll caged race car than the back of the Veloster. Once inside, the leg space is actually rather fair, better than most in this segment, but it’s no limousine like the Hyundai’s flagship Equus. While my legs were comfortable, I had at most an inch of head space before touching the glass for the hatch, I certainly wouldn’t want to be in the back of one of these going over a pot hole or train tracks.
Visually there are a number of differences between the regular Veloster and the Turbo. Up front the grill has been redesigned dropping the corporate face shared by most other Hyundai’s. This new grill is significantly opened up to offer more airflow to the force fed powerplant. The new grill is very reminiscent of Audi’s look and from a quick glance, the Veloster Turbo looks a lot like the new A1. Also changed in the front are redesigned fog lamps and more aggressive aerodynamics. A set of sporty looking side skirts flank the car, and the back has been treated with new LED taillamps, an under tray diffuser, beefier exhaust tips and oversized reflectors. The Veloster Turbo sits on 18 inch alloy wheels wrapped in Kumho Solus tires standard.
Other changes to the Veloster consist of Turbo logos embroidery on the seat backs, standard heated seats, new interior trim color options, a new driver information display within the gauge cluster, a quicker, more responsive steering rack, and new color options including a must have matte grey.
The additional power boost to the already fun, but anemic Veloster hasn’t hurt it’s fuel efficiency by much. The Veloster Turbo returns 27 mpg city and 38 mpg hwy when paired with the 6 speed Manual Transmission, compared to 28/40 that the regular model gets, a very small tradeoff for a lot more fun. Pricing has not yet been announced, but with the base model starting at $17,300 it is expected that the turbo will fetch somewhere in the low $20,000 range. The 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo goes on sale this summer.