The perfect car for a student who wants some pizzazz
For an economy hatchback with virtually no sportiness other than its body lines, the Veloster is surprisingly sharp around corners.
As a child, I remember reading fairy tales with morals at the end. One of my favourite tales was the story about “The Tortoise and the Hare”; one that concluded saying that the one who is slow and steady will always win the race. I believe that when this story was first told, they predicted the future existence of my most recent test subject. The 2013 Hyundai Veloster may not be as quick as its looks would have you believe, but it’s a winning formula.
Introduced for 2012, the Veloster is Hyundai’s wildcard. It’s around the same size as an Elantra GT, but lacks a rear door on the driver’s side. There is a small yet fully functional rear door on the passenger side to allow for easy access to the rear seats, which are surprisingly roomy for a car of this size. The little hatchback has a low, raked roofline, which takes away from rear headroom, but my six-foot self was quickly able to find a comfortable and uncompromised driving position.
Not to be confused with the Veloster Turbo, this car is powered by a 1.6L direct-injected 4-cylinder engine. Pumping out 138 horsepower and 123 lb-ft of torque, the Veloster won’t win any races. Seriously, it’s slow. Available is a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission that Hyundai calls “Eco-Shift”, but my car was equipped with the much-preferred 6-speed manual. As in other small cars, I found the presence of a third pedal comforting and it definitely made the car more pleasurable to drive. The shifter is pretty good, if not a little too notchy. I do like the fact that reverse gear has a lockout. Hyundai needs to implement this on the Genesis Coupé; I’ve heard of far too many Genesis owners who have accidentally gone into reverse when aiming for first.
The Veloster also handles pretty well. Steering is direct and has a decent amount of feedback. It’s no Honda Civic Si, but for an economy hatchback with virtually no sportiness other than its body lines, it’s surprisingly sharp around corners. As a result of its economical powertrain, fuel economy is also very good. I observed 7.4L/100km in combined driving over the course of my week. This was especially good considering the cold winter weather and the fact that the Veloster takes regular-grade fuel.
My Veloster came with the Technology Package, which is essentially the top-of-the-line model without the turbocharger. My personal favourite feature is the panoramic sunroof, which is essentially unheard of in a car at this price point – the sticker on this tester was just under $23,000. For this, it comes with an intelligent key with push-button start, the aforementioned panoramic sunroof, a navigation system, satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and a plethora of other toys. The engine start/stop button is located dead center on the dashboard, directly above the shifter. It looks a bit gimmicky at first, but I personally found it convenient and great to use. Hyundai gets an “A” both for creativity and the equipment list.
Pairing my phone using the integrated Bluetooth system was flawless, and voice quality was also very good. Hyundai’s multimedia system also allows me to simultaneously listen to my iPod Classic, plugged in via the USB port neatly tucked below the dashboard. Thankfully, there is no longer a need for Hyundai’s proprietary iPod cable – a standard Apple cable works just fine. I did, however, have some issues when it came to the iPod. I typically like to listen to select playlists on “shuffle”. Similarly to other Hyundai models, the car forgets that it had previously shuffled the album or playlist and reverts to playing in alphabetical order every time the engine is shut off. Also, I would prefer my iPod not to be in plain sight when the car is parked.
I think the Hyundai Veloster’s main issue was that most people expected it to be the Veloster Turbo. As a result, it was heavily criticized for being tremendously slow and unbearable to drive. I can see university students and urban youngsters being attracted to its sexy looks, the immense amount of features it delivers, and even the available double-clutch transmission.
I took the liberty of pricing out Hyundai’s own Elantra GT. The highest trim level available with the manual transmission is the GLS, and that model lacks the navigation system. With both vehicles being within a few hundred dollars of each other, one notices that the Veloster lacks a fourth door, but the Elantra GT lacks the toys. I completely see the appeal to the Veloster, and believe it’s a solid choice for the money.
2013 Hyundai Veloster Gallery