The Hyundai Veloster was new for 2012 and immediately drew attention with its unique three-door design. The new 2013 turbocharged version makes the car much faster and lots more fun.
Rivals for the turbocharged front-wheel-drive Veloster include the Volkswagen GTI, Civic Si, Mini Cooper/Clubman S, Beetle Turbo and Fiat 500 Abarth. Hyundai notes the Veloster, with such things as its three doors, is “purposefully differentiated from other core vehicles in Hyundai’s lineup, with unique style and function and advanced technologies.”
Hyundai experiment means success
Hyundai hasn’t become a major sales success without taking chances.
The turbocharger is the big news for the latest version of the Veloster. This turbo has a twin-scroll design for quicker response and more low-end torque. The engine also has dual continuously variable valve timing and an intercooler for better performance and fuel economy.
While the standard Veloster is fast enough for many folks, addition of a turbocharger significantly increases horsepower of the car’s regular 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. It jumps from 138 to 201 horsepower. Torque also increases to 195 pound-feet from 123 pound-feet.
The added punch give the Veloster Turbo a sharp new personality, I found during a media preview of the car in La Jolla, Calif. The increased power and torque allow faster acceleration and much less shifting with the standard, slick six-speed manual transmission. The responsive six-speed automatic has a manual-shift mode.
Serious bumps and potholes cause jolts, but the sport suspension is generally supple. There’s also sport speed-tuned steering. Handling is sharp, and the anti-lock all-disc braking system with electronic brake-force distribution inspires confidence. The brake pedal has a progressive action for smooth stops.
Helping keep the car on the road during difficult situations are electronic stability and traction controls.
The small engine has lots of punch for its size, but keep in mind the rigidly built Veloster only weighs approximately 2,800 pounds.
Estimated fuel economy is 26 miles per gallon in the city and 38 on highways—and only regular grade fuel is needed.
The Veloster with the six-speed manual transmission lists at $21,950 and at $22,950 with the automatic—without a $775 freight charge.
New Veolster Has Many Option Packages
The Veloster Turbo is equipment-loaded, but there’s an optional “Ultimate” option package. It contains a panoramic sunroof, back-up warning sensors, automatic headlights, navigation system with a rearview camera and a 115-volt outlet.
Vision out the rear window is poor, so the standard large heated power side mirrors with integrated turn signals must be used a lot. Thick windshield posts block vision when making turns.
The manual transmission model with the Ultimate package costs $24,450, and the automatic transmission model with it is $25,450.
There’s also a unique customer car kit and paint owner’s guide if a person gets the car with a Matte Gray finish. Curiously, Hyundai warns the Matte Gray paint is “ideal for true enthusiasts and is not for everyone.” It says such folks should not use wax, detail spray, ArmorAll or any products made for normal paint.
Conventional paint colors are black, blue, silver, red, white and “Vitamin C,” with either a black leather or blue leather interior.
The Veloster Turbo is loaded with standard equipment. On the outside it includes turbo badging, unique front styling, body kit, 18-inch alloy wheels with chrome accents, LED taillights, body color rear spoiler, unique rear bumper and a rear diffuser with large round dual exhaust tips. It’s a tough-looking small car.
The three-door design puts two doors on the car’s right side, with an artfully concealed body color outside latch. That door allows fairly easy entry to the rear seat, which comfortably seats two 6-footers. There’s also good room up front in the supportive leather-covered and heated bucket seats.
Lots of Cargo Room For Veloster
Hyundai says the Veloster Turbo has best-in-class cargo volume and more interior volume than the Civic, Mini, Beetle and Fiat 500. However, while wide, the hatch opening is rather high. Rear seatbacks flip forward and sit flat to enlarge the cargo area.
Standard inside the sporty looking interior are air conditioning, premium audio system, hefty leather-wrapped wheel, electroluminescent gauge cluster that’s easy to read in bright sunlight, push-button starter, alloy pedals, driver-automatic up window, tilt/telescopic wheel and a 7-inch multimedia touchscreen. There’s also steering wheel audio, cruise and phone controls.
Sporty, fast and unique, the 2013 Veloster Turbo is yet another Hyundai that seems as if it should cost more than it does.
Pros: Lots more power. Sharp handling. Racy styling. Equipment-loaded. Roomy. Three-door design.
Cons: Poor vision through rear window. Thick windshield posts obstruct vision. Jolts felt over sharp bumps.
Bottom Line: Addition of the power-producing turbocharger makes the Veloster a lot more fun.
Dan Jedlicka has been an automotive journalist for more than 40 years. To read more of his new and vintage car reviews, visit: danjedlicka.com.
Article Last Updated: April 12, 2013.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.