2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Review

Veloster Turbo adds performance, lacks passion

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Review
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If there is a single complaint to be made about the Hyundai Veloster, it’s that it simply doesn’t have enough power. The solution, it seems, would be to strap a turbocharger to the small 4-cylinder and increase engine output by roughly 50 percent. With Hyundai having done just that in the all-new 2013 Veloster Turbo, it’s now apparent that that’s not all it needs.

FAST FACTS

1. Powered by a direct-injection turbocharged 1.6L the Veloster Turbo makes 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque with a best-in-class power-to-weight ratio.

2. In addition to the turbocharger, upgrades include a custom body kit, 18-inch wheels, sport-tuned steering, LED headlight accents, a dual center exhaust and leather heated sport seats.

3. Fuel economy is rated at 26/38 mpg for the manual and 25/34 mpg for the automatic.

4. The Veloster Turbo is the first Hyundai available with matte gray paint for an additional $1,000.

5. Pricing starts at $21,950.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the Veloster Turbo. In fact, it’s quite impressive – or at least it is with a stick shift.  The issue is that it’s a calculated take on building an enthusiasts car.

So what’s missing? Lots actually. There’s no limited slip differential, no upgraded suspension components, no high performance summer tires and no exhaust note. In short, there’s no passion.

There’s an absence of those finishing touches, the bits you know wound up on a car because someone at the company desperately wanted it to be the fastest, the coolest or the most fun.

TURBO ENGINE DELIVERS THE GOODS

 

And yet the Veloster Turbo is still fast, fun and good looking. Powering the car is a twin-scroll turbocharger that’s been mated to the brand’s 1.6-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder making 201 hp at 6000 rpm and 195 lb-ft of torque at 1750 rpm. Combined with a curb weight of 2,800 lbs, it hustles – although again that depends upon the transmission. Unlike the standard Veloster there is no dual-clutch automatic, and in its place is a conventional torque converter auto-box. That unit just seems to zap power from the engine making it feel like the power rating is closer to 160 hp.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo gear shifter

That’s hardly the worst feature of the automatic, however. No, its biggest transgression towards performance is how the typical delay in power delivery associated with an automatic seems to upset the car’s balance when cornering. As mentioned, no changes have been made to the Veloster’s suspension components and it is perhaps that, as well as the added 88 lbs of weight the automatic adds over the front axle, that results in a tipping point when the power engages mid-corner, inducing understeer and resulting in an unnerving sensation.

STICK-SHIFT HELPS BRING THE CAR TO LIFE

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo driving cornering

Swapping for the stick-shift and it’s hard to believe this is even the same car. Along with being lighter up front, with a manual you’re always in the right gear and the car sets nicely in corners and tracks true.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo engine

The stick shift itself is perhaps the best the company has ever engineered. The shift knob does have an odd shape to it, but the throws are short, precise and light. In an era that’s moving away from the manual, it’s nice to see Hyundai spent so much effort in getting this unit right.

As is often the case, when equipped with the stick-shift the Veloster Turbo feels noticeably faster. What’s missing though is an impressive exhaust note. Instead, you just hear the whooshing of air. Making this all the more disappointing is the obvious time and effort spent stylizing the two massive central exhaust pipes.

Tested on both the street and auto autocross course set up for just this purpose, the Veloster Turbo’s strengths and weaknesses show through. The 18-inch wheels and low profile 215/45/18 tires don’t make the ride quality as firm as expected, though larger bumps to reverberate through the cabin and the V-beam solid rear axle amplifies the unsettling effect of bumps and uneven road surfaces in the rear.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo driving rear corner

Despite full boost at 1750 rpm, it’s still not uncommon to exercise patience, waiting for the thrust to come on.

While items like upgraded suspension components and a limited slip differential would make the Veloster Turbo more capable, it’s still plenty of fun and they aren’t what we’d call required. Performance improvements that have been made include larger front brake rotors as well as a reworked steering system that has no dead-spot common among Hyundai products. It’s undeniably better than the base car’s setup, though it still fails to deliver responsiveness that feels natural.

UNIQUE LOOK GAINS AGGRESSION

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo grille

Where Hyundai certainly did take note of the hot hatch rivals is in the Veloster Turbo’s styling. Already an incredibly unique product with its extra passenger side door, the Turbo model gets a complete aero kit, LED taillights and LED headlight accents, as well as a front grille that would make an Audi A8 feel insecure.

With such a unique design, the choice of paint can make or break the looks of the car, with a conventional black diluting this vehicular can of Red Bull into a sedative, while bright colors make its lines pop. An available $1,000 matte gray job is easily the must-have shade. One also can’t help but take notice of the 18-inch wheels with chrome inserts and the bright metallic red Turbo badge on the back.

PLENTY OF STANDARD EQUIPMENT

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo seats

Inside the Veloster Turbo maintains much of the naturally aspirated car’s components though with higher equipment levels as standard and heated black leather seats with colored accenting (blue on some models) and Turbo script on the headrests. The seats look quite well bolstered, but fail to live up to their promises, with the side sections too far away from the driver’s body to matter.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo bluelink

Priced at $21,950 to start, that’s a $4,500 increase over the standard Veloster, although Hyundai claims that taking into account the added content the difference is more like $1,600. Standard features in the Veloster Turbo include a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, alloy pedals, an 8-speaker audio system with 7-inch touch-screen display and Bluelink telematics, Bluetooth, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel and a proximity entry key with push-button ignition.

Keeping the buying process simple, something Hyundai prides itself on, only an Ultimate Package option is available, which adds automatic headlights, navigation with a rear view camera, backup sensors and a panoramic sunroof.

Add $1,000 to the base price to upgrade to the automatic, or better yet, don’t. Add the Ultimate Package for a retail sticker of $24,450 plus the auto.

Priced extremely competitively with current hot hatch and sport compact rivals, the Veloster Turbo is certain to deliver lower ownership costs due to its impressive fuel economy rating of 26 mpg city and 38 mpg highway. Plus, it runs on regular fuel, not premium. The automatic transmission drops those numbers by one in the city and 4 mpg on the highway – yet another reason to avoid it.

THE VERDICT

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo side road

An impressive machine based on all the available statistics, the Veloster Turbo is undeniably fun but fails to deliver that wow factor.

In nearly all categories, Hyundai’s value approach has allowed it to rise to the top, but not here. After all, this is a segment where value is far from being a main priority and where ‘fun-to-drive’ comes standard.

Regardless, Hyundai will sell lots of Veloster Turbos by nature of the fact that it delivers the goods on paper while in reality isn’t too hard-edged and won’t scare off the average consumer. A hot hatch for all, enthusiasts need not apply.

LOVE IT
  • Best stick shift Hyundai has made
  • Plenty of power
  • Great looks
  • Matte gray paint option
LEAVE IT
  • Passion is absent
  • No exhaust note
  • Automatic ruins the car

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  • $27964684

    I honestly think too many people/reviewers got caught up in the hype/
    had too high expectations during this entire “build up” to the VT
    release. And then whey they found out the VT didn’t turn the road into
    solid gold and performed like a mini Ferrari, they call it “soulless”
    and “dissapointing”

    Honestly, these are the types of people who are never happy unless they
    are biatching about something so for my sake, and are almost never happy
    with any type of car unless an expensive european import. So screw what
    they say and whine on about. I”ll form my own opinion on the VT once I
    finally get to drive one
     

  • td

    doth protest too much, methinks. Cool car – What does it compare to for price? 0-60 not listed but reportedly as good as 6.2 sec. AND 38MPG highway?
    And HtH do they get ‘full boost @ 1750rpm’ when my FXT doesn’t get there ’til after 3K??The bolsters are for ‘fluffy’ people, the average statistic. Not your well-trimmed journalistic squad. I do wish they’d get another interior color for the turbos. Here and in the related Kia Sportage SX turbo, it’s too much black.

  • T. Roll

    I swear this is the only bad review of the car I’ve read. Sounds like Colum has a GTI up his ass.

  • http://twitter.com/alhmnci AUTO WORLD
  • http://twitter.com/Raj01K K.SHANMUGARAJ

    2013 Houndai Veloster Turbo,Excellent Model & Good Look.By K.Shanmugaraj(India).

  • http://twitter.com/alhmnci AUTO WORLD
  • http://www.heromotocorp.com/hunk Hunk Model India

    I like everything about this car, including looks. If I were in the market for a new car, this would be my first test drive

  • Afk

    This is the best sport compact car on comparison with others in terms of mileage 26/38 mpg.
    0 to 60 mph in 6.9 sec, little slower than Gti or Si ( 6.1sec.),
    But you can improve performance with some intake and exhaust and probably you can get 0-60 in 6 sec.
    This is the best deal for performance and milage.
    My 2nd option would the brz on terms of milage and performance.

  • Josh

    I just recently purchased this car and it is a lot of fun to drive. Its mileage lacks if you drive it like u stole it but thats not a surprise. the interior is sporty yet comfy and it just looks very professional. Im not a huge “enthusiast” but with how many issues I had with my vw golf this car will be a heaven sent with its cheaper maintenance and mileage

  • Georgia

    I love the way NO one really mentions the fact that the matte finish requires you to sign a waiver.  If just about anything brushes against the finish, you end up with a bright spot, thus the waiver.  You have to hand wash that finish and frankly, I haven’t the time.

    The Turbo is a marvelous upgrade to this car.  It really does improve the driveability of the car.  As for the “exhaust note,” I prefer it just the way it is…nice and quiet!  I’d look silly at my age (50) driving a car with a throaty exhaust.  If I want to start looking silly, I’d buy a red Corvette.  But with transporting kids around town, this is going to be one FUN, affordable car to drive.  I’ve done extensive comparisons of this car vs just about everything else out there and you get the most bang for your buck with the Veloster.  When will Detroit wake up and really compete?  Can’t wait for my dealer to find the one I’m looking for…

  • Nazar

    Bought it! love it!  For them to write that “it has no soul or passsion” is the lamest “leave it ” reason ive seen ever listed for any car.

  • Heather Tighe7

    I love my veloster. it turns heads everywhere I go. Im just driven my son to day care and then myself to work. “Lucy” is great on gas and fun to drive. We will see how she does in the snow….

  • Oxskittlefreekxo

    I absolutely LOVE my Veloster Turbo! As a 23yr old female who is a bit of a car enthusiast, I wanted something practical yet fun. When the first Veloster came out I was in love with the design; interesting, curvy and fun…but after my first test drive I was determined that it wasn’t the car for me. The original Veloster had no get up and go; I do have quite a lead foot but I wasn’t looking for something like a ferrari, just something that moved when I pressed the gas. A few months later the Turbo came out and again, in love. I took a few weeks teaching myself to drive a manual on my friends car and then decided to go to the dealership for a test drive (assuming they had one in stock). And there she was…White, fully loaded, beautiful, veloster turbo. I took it out for a test drive and never looked back (I wish, haha). When I got back to the dealership, I had already decided I was making my purchase that night, I didn’t want to chance anyone else getting the car of my dreams.

    While the Veloster Turbo is not an sTI or anything like that, it’s a speedy, gorgeous, practical car that gets amazing gas mileage and will get me from point a to point b as fast as I’d like.

    Thank you Hyundai for bringing out a Turbo model and listening to your customers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=615658368 Jeremy Hollenbaugh

    had my veloster turbo now for about two months i have put over 7000 miles on it, no problems or issues, and just fyi after about 2500 miles exhaust gets louder and does feel a bit more responsive. all the reviews are before the car is broken in, after that first 2500 its a different car..believe me or not but i drive my velsoster turbo over 100 miles a day, everyday so i know this car like the back of my hand

  • The Terminator

    Hyundai has Never made a car that has a great drive train / clutch. That alone would be a deal killer. Then add that owners have complained about the reliability after 20,000 miles … No Thanks. The new Subaru WRX is on my list & I’ll save up for that car ! Truly Blows away this VT !