A much-improved model of an initially underwhelming "hot hatch"Hate it or love it, the Veloster Turbo is a striking vehicle, what with its 3-door plus hatch design, aggressive styling, and centre-mounted exhaust pipes that could easily double as the cannons used by Captain Jack Sparrow on the Black Pearl.
Hyundai has come a long way in its automobile development over the course of my lifetime. Hyundai cars of the 1990s were boring, cheaply made and cheaply-priced vehicles for the masses. Now though, Hyundai no longer lives in the shadows of its rivals as it makes high-quality products such as the Elantra, Sonata, Genesis, and even the Equus. Hyundai has created a well-defined niche for itself in the marketplace anchored by great value, stylish design, and reassuring warranties. I for one, am a believer in Hyundai and am confident that they will continue to steal market share from their competitors well into the future, especially with the introduction of the 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo.
What’s even more impressive is the fact that Hyundai is always willing to push the boundaries and expand creativity without fearing the consequences, which is more than can be said for the majority of their Japanese competitors, who are afraid to exit their respective comfort zones. This Korean maverick behavior can be seen across other industries as well, such as Samsung’s dominance over its Japanese old-boy competitors. This desire to push the boundaries has led Hyundai to make the all-new Veloster Turbo, and after testing it for the week I discovered whether or not Hyundai has fallen over the edge.
Hate it or love it, the Veloster Turbo is a striking vehicle, what with its 3-door plus hatch design, aggressive styling, and centre-mounted exhaust pipes that could easily double as the cannons used by Captain Jack Sparrow on the Black Pearl. The other key features that make the Turbo model stand out from the standard vehicle are an enormous front grille not unlike that of a catfish, 18-inch wheels and a skirt package that includes a very appealing front lip. The polarizing looks on this vehicle are also one of its greatest strengths, as I believe many customers will purchase the vehicle for its looks alone. I personally believe the car looks unbalanced and freakish, but beauty is, of course, in the eye of the beholder.
Potential customers will find the interior of the Veloster Turbo an extremely pleasant place to be. There is a healthy use of hard plastics, but it is a lot more tasteful than you would expect. The vehicle’s dash is dominated by a 7-inch LCD touch screen, which has reasonably good responsiveness and would put Ford’s MyFordTouch to shame. The whole multimedia interface is very intelligently-designed and more importantly, incredibly easy to use. The multimedia system is complemented by comfortable leather bucket seats that make for a superb driving position. The car comes fully-equipped with navigation, panoramic sunroof, heated seats, Bluetooth, a high-resolution rear-view camera, 8-speaker sound system, etc. I could continue the list, but I think you get the picture; the interior of the Veloster Turbo is a great place to be. Not all is good though, as the cars funky design makes for tight leg-and headroom for the rear passengers, as well as inadequate trunk space.
The performance is where the Veloster Turbo starts to come up short. The car comes equipped with a 1.6L turbo engine that produces in the range of 200-hp and 200 lb-ft. of torque. The numbers seem promising and instantly put it into the realm of the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Honda Civic Si, but don’t be fooled. The Veloster has very pronounced turbo lag and it needs to be kept at above 2500 RPM to have any power at all. Hyundai claims the car has sport-tuned steering, and while the car does stay flat in most corners, it leaves much to be desired in the way of feedback. The suspension is also problematic as it is much too stiff for the level of performance it delivers. Finally, we get to the 6-speed manual transmission, and if you have read any of my previous articles, you know how important I believe a great transmission is to complement any car. While the transmission is much better than the unit in the Genesis Coupe, that is not saying much. It still lags behind its competitors at Honda and Volkswagen. The transmission is at its worst in stop-and-go city traffic, where the 1st to 2nd shift feels as if you have to punch your fist through a concrete wall every time. My comments might seem harsh, but from a dynamic driving standpoint, I can’t help but come out underwhelmed.
I believe as an overall package, the Veloster Turbo is a competent car at a competitive price point and performs terrifically as a commuter with a punch. You will definitely turn heads with the styling and the power is enough to have moderate levels of fun. Just don’t expect that you are buying a Civic Si or Golf GTI replacement as you will be harshly disappointed. However, if you are in love with the looks of the Veloster and insist on purchasing one, I strongly recommend ponying the extra money and opting for the far superior Turbo model.
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Gallery