By on June 27, 2012

 

“If you want a Veloster Turbo, you can buy one right now – it’s called the Genesis Coupe.”

That’s what Hyundai CEO John Krafcik told us at the launch of the Veloster last year, when asked about the possibility of a performance version of Hyundai’s distinctive-looking hatchback. Less than a year later, we have a boosted Veloster and a Genesis Coupe that’s better than ever.

The original Veloster was heralded as the return of the Honda CRX, but it failed to capture the ethereal magic of the lightweight, two-seat Honda hatchback. The Veloster, meant to be a do-it-all car for the generation that doesn’t like cars, has a rear seat, a strange third-door, oddball styling and an emphasis on gas mileage and green credentials. The CRX put performance first, and its miserly fuel consumption just happened to be a byproduct of its tin-can construction.

The Veloster Turbo, with its 201 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder, is supposed to go up against cars like the Fiat 500 Abarth, Mini Cooper S and Volkswagen GTI, hot hatches with serious pedigree and the dynamic chops to back up their “branding”. The Veloster Turbo isn’t a real competitor for any of these; instead, it’s the car that I wish the Veloster was from the start.

Aside from the new engine, there’s not too many changes versus the base car. The front fascia is more aggressive and mitigates some of the car’s goofy asthetics. The chassis is apparently unchanged, though the steering feels quicker and better weighted. One notable omission is the dual-clutch gearbox, which wasn’t able to handle the added torque of the boosted motor. In its place is a six-speed automatic transmission.

The day began behind the wheel of a two-pedal car, down the undulating, up-and-down roads of a part of California best known for being close to Mexico. The biggest standout here was that the automatic is an exceptionally poor bit of equipment. Everything feels delayed and lethargic, likely due to its bias towards fuel economy. Using the paddle shifters for spirited driving isn’t much of a held either, since they revert back to full-automatic mode and upshift so quickly that the driver must constantly engage them to keep up any sort pace. Then again, the dual clutch in the Veloster isn’t anything special either.

A switch to the manual transmission happened at the earliest possible moment. Deciding on the shift points yourself yields a more positive view of the powertrain. The 6-speed manual isn’t a class leader in terms of shift feel, but it does allow a greater appreciation of the 1.6L engine. For a turbo engine, it feels very linear, with a strong pull through the rev range. It’s less boisterous than say, the Cooper S, but for the target market, it will go down much smoother.

While the ride is much smoother than the Cooper S, the Veloster Turbo doesn’t have the sophistication of the GTI either. Hyundai claims that the chassis settings are the same as the base car, but the overall effect is that the ride and handling emulate what people think “sporty” should be (jittery and stiff) rather than providing a supple, well-controlled ride and engaging handling. Turning up the heat on the Veloster Turbo is rewarding, and it feels easy to drive quickly, but ultimately, this is a more powerful version of the Veloster, rather than a serious hot hatch. It has nothing to do with the lack of an independent rear suspension, or a missing limited slip or any of the other mortal sins in the eyes of auto journalists.

Hyundai knows that the target market for this car will be more concerned with the Pandora integration, the ability to hook up an Xbox and play it using the in-dash screen and the optional matte gray paint, that looks really cool but needs its own care regimen. The Veloster Turbo is a fairly shrewd move on the part of Hyundai; for the target buyer, it will feel “fast”, look cool (or at least distinctive) and deliver on the Veloster’s original mission of being practical, distinctive and efficient.

The Veloster Turbo starts at $21,950 and tops out at $24,450 when equipped with the lone option package that adds a backup camera, rear parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, navigation, a 115-volt power outlet and automatic headlights. The automatic transmission and matte gray paint each cost another $1,000. At that price point, I’d have to pass in favor of something with more performance, even at the expense of fewer gadgets and more fuel consumption. Something that can be hand in the same showroom as the Veloster Turbo. But for Veloster buyers (who seem to span a broad range of ages, based on marketing data I’ve seen), the Turbo will be an easy upsell over the base car, which starts in the $18,000 range. The biggest issue for me is that Hyundai offers something that is genuinely great to drive, is practical, efficient and doesn’t look like your first new car after graduating from college.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

42 Comments on “Hyundai Generation Why Intramural League, Second Place: 2013 Veloster Turbo...”


  • avatar
    CJinSD

    So you didn’t notice the old-convertible-reminiscent levels of body flex?

  • avatar
    Botswana

    “Hyundai knows that the target market for this car will be more concerned with the Pandora integration, the ability to hook up an Xbox and play it using the in-dash screen and the optional matte gray paint”

    Maybe the Turbo version will attract a different buyer. I see a ton of Velosters on the road, which surprises me, but not a one is driven by anyone who isn’t right around my age or slightly younger (Aggressively pushing 40, sadly). Perhaps it just has a solid appeal to urban Texas residents prepping themselves for an upcoming midlife-crisismobile.

    All speculation aside. I’ve yet to see more than a handful of youth drivers in the similarly youth targetted Kia Soul. I still recall, with some amusement, the long line of people at the Dallas car show waiting to get into a floor model Soul. Not a one of them, except myself and my youngest son, without a full head of gray hair.

    Likewise, the many Velosters on display, two of them the Turbo model (Was it even for sale in May? Was the car show even in May? My memory is already going) were swarmed by 30 somethings.

    Politely disagree on the front fascia. I think the original Veloster looks goofy and the Turbo version just exacerbates the problem.

    But hey! Look! It is priced to compete with the FRS/BRZ! Somewhere I am still trying to figure out when Kia/Hyundai became a real competitor in the market. They definitely snuck up me.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      Here in Green Bay, the only people I see driving Souls are the middle-aged/old folks who were going to buy a Scion xB and then realized it wasn’t good. The Soul isn’t much better, but if you don’t mind the cheap interior, it offers a bunch of space for the money and is pretty smartly packaged, I do admit.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I have two friends who bought Souls, both are 40-somethings with toddlers. They are super kid-friendly without the stigma of being a C/SUV. just a friendly, cheap, practical car. And good on Kia for that!

        The Veloster is just trying too hard.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        I’m 6’5 and was properly impressed with the amount of space in the Soul. Particularly because the overall footprint of the vehicle isn’t that big.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      That’s just new car buying demographics in general. Young people don’t buy new cars in any significant number because they can’t afford them, particularly in the last 5 years, it makes me scratch my head when car makers attempt to go after the youth market because by the time a young person is old enough to be a new car buyer (early to mid 30s) they have probably already outgrown the ridiculous styling of these types of cars.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        You can sell young people’s products to old people. You cannot do the reverse.**

        (** yeah, I know there are statistical outliers who are 30-something and lust after the Grand Marquis or Lucerne. There’s also people who think Elvis is alive and working at Burger King)

  • avatar

    Too me the stylin’ of this car, particularly its front scream ‘speed machine’. Not even the coolest, hippest dude out there is going to sit in machine that is fakin’ it.

  • avatar

    Too me the stylin’ of this car, particularly its front, scream ‘speed machine’. Not even the coolest, hippest dude out there is going to sit in a machine that is fakin’ it.

    • 0 avatar
      fredtal

      I don’t understand the styling of this car. Is it hip or just trying to be different. To me it’s just confusing. I suppose it’s appealing to someone, just not me.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I could do without the 80s inspired “Turbo” lettering on the seats but it otherwise seem like a fun and quirky hatch. It interesting that you declare the automatic as mismatched while nearly every other review seems to have proclaimed this as the ideal match for the engine. I am inclined to believe you as the indicated MPGs would not be possible without tall gearing and reluctant downshifts.

    Now, would anyone like to do the comments honors and make a value comparison to the V6 Mustang?

    • 0 avatar
      replica

      You rang?

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        carguy you read my mind. For the price of this 200 HP Turbo Veloster, I can buy a very nicely equipped 300HP Mustang V6, not to mention a host of hot hatches and small sport coupes. Hyundai has apparently wandered into the danger zone of where their product is finally being standardised against the competition based on quality of offering, not on its dollar store price.

      • 0 avatar
        Toucan

        Veloster does make a lot of sense against the Mustang because it’s modern, unique (at least now) and does 30 mpg combined. Mustang does 22 and its only real valuable asset is the V6 engine.

        But the Veloster makes no sense at all when compared with the Golf GTI. Everything that it does, the GTI does better.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        @Toucan

        The Mustang V6 does 22 combined?

        No.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        Toucan, you obviously have not sat in a new Mustang V6 and felt the visceralness of having that power at hand for under $25K. The quality of the Stang is superior to the fit and feel of the Veloster and as is the 0-60 times and overall driver experience and still gets gas mileage that won’t make you blush at the pump.

        However, I’m not shopping for a V6 Mustang simply because I have children and need more space and already have a ’95 for the weekends. The Veloster does make good use of space and the third door is helpful although does make its styling a little weird. As does the third window switch; no fourth for the window behind the driver. Presumably there will be no passenger back there and if there is, they won’t want their own air.

      • 0 avatar
        Botswana

        @dolorean

        “Toucan, you obviously have not sat in a new Mustang V6 and felt the visceralness of having that power at hand for under $25K. The quality of the Stang is superior to the fit and feel of the Veloster and as is the 0-60 times and overall driver experience and still gets gas mileage that won’t make you blush at the pump.”

        This is why the incessant “V6 Mustang!” commentary gets so annoying. Not everyone wants the same thing in a car. If you’re talking raw horsepower I’m not about to debate what you can get for under $25k. The options are known.

        Oddly, I see the same problem from car enthusiasts that I see from video game enthusiasts. They can always talk about what is best in their platform, but always lose sight of the larger market of which they make up a very vocal but also very tiny niche.

        The Veloster is selling well. Not just by numbers, I see it everywhere now. I thought the departure from any kind of Tiburon/Tuscani styling was a loser for the car. Apparently I was wrong.

        The real point I’m getting at is not everyone wants the same car. Harping on the V6 Mustang does not make anyone decide they should just buy that instead. Any enthusiast is already aware of its strengths/weaknesses and probably made up their mind long ago.

      • 0 avatar
        darex

        @Toucan:
        Here’s some perspective for you:

        The Veloster, loaded, costs about $4000 less than a loaded GTI, except that you cannot get half the kit that a loaded Veloster has, and then there’s the issue of fuel-economy; namely, the GTI’s is horrifically bad, but the Veloster’s is outstanding.

        Lastly, and this is my personal opinion, I’ll take Hyundai’s reliability record over VW’s awful record any day.

  • avatar
    Elorac

    What struck me about this car when I first saw it in person is how BIG it is – much larger than it seems in pictures. I had the same reaction with the CR-Z (especially compared to a CRX), but the Veloster seems even more massive.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Agreed, but if you sit inside one it’s pretty tight.

    • 0 avatar
      Botswana

      Massive is not quite the word I’d use. It doesn’t look like a compact but it sits surprisingly low to the ground and the roof line is lower then my Lancer. I was able to do a side-by-side comparison when some friends out of town guests drove up in one.

      It doesn’t feel cramped inside. Oddly, I thought the interior of the Dodge Challenger was VERY cramped and it is a massive car. For comparison, I think my Lancer is roomier but the Veloster was comfortable enough.

      I like the CR-Z in concept but the execution has left me cold. I think Honda missed the boat on why people liked the CR series in the first place. Making it a hybrid was just a mistake. Maybe with modern safety regulations and design needs it isn’t possible to design a modern CR-X. I don’t see the Veloster filling that void either. It’s just too big.

      I’m mildy interested in the Veloster. It’s on my list of potential car buys, but not the turbo version. It’s too ugly. If I decide to go for power over price I can get something with just as much oomph for a whole lot less ugly.

    • 0 avatar
      skotastic

      I agree – it definitely appears larger in real life that I expected.

  • avatar
    V16

    If its a ‘hot hatch’ that you desire, make mine a 2013 Ford Focus ST.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Shame Ford had to tack on an extra set of doors. Currently this is only car I would consider a suitable replacement for the wife’s Volvo C30. Nobody else other then VW is really doing the “hot hatch” thing right these days. The Mini is a touch too small and the interior is joke. The CR-Z is not sporty/fast/powerful enough.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    I have a Canadian spec 2012 Veloster Tech. I was in negotiations with my local dealer to trade it in on a Turbo until yesterday. The reason I decided against the swap? Price.

    Here in the great white north, we have one Turbo model, not two. The price difference between a Veloster Tech and a Turbo is $23k vs $28k. That’s Genesis coupe and Sonata Limited money. It just didn’t make sense to me.

    I’m happy with my Veloster’s styling and fuel economy. Extra power would be nice, but I didn’t buy it for the power to begin with. I have an Ecoboost F-150 for that.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      I’m a little bit miffed that Hyundai wasn’t very forthcoming or honest about the V.T. when I bought my Veloster, and a small part of me wants to trade-up for it, but besides the hit I’d take, I can’t really say that the changes are all that crucial. I have a manual-transmission, fully-loaded Veloster, and I actually find the power to be more than adequate and even peppy around town. If I ever find passing power wanting, I simply drop down a gear, and there it is.

      Do I like the added features in the V.T.? Yes, I’d have opted for projector headlights, LED DRL’s, heated leather seats, etc., if I could have, but are these items worth upgrading for? Probably not. Would I like the Turbo (especially if there’s minimal lag, as suggested by the article)? No doubt, but again, it’s not like I’m cursing out my N/A Veloster for being anemic. It’s decent.

      So, while I might be tempted to upgrade, I probably won’t; however, had Hyundai not played their silly game, I would have waited for the Turbo to come out, without question.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    Torn. That’s the feeling I have with the Veloster. Looking to finally trade my much loved ’08 Saturn Astra XR 5 door for a new hot hatch and have limited my finds through inet trolling and test drives to the Ford Focus or the Veloster. Why? Because these are the ONLY two hatches I can find on a dealer lot that actually has a manual tranny in them. The Veloster gets more of a nod because I get a lot more stuff in it with a 6 speed versus the Focus SE Sport I can get with a 5 speed for about the same price. Still, the Focus is so much more rewarding to drive versus the Veloster. Prolly just keep the Astra.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    It should work over a BRZ at the track too. Well, so can most every new designed car in that segment.

    Autoblog is saying 38 mpg highway. Can only think that the rear suspension on this car is so out off a fuel efficient alignment that it’d take pimply faced kid slamming on the brakes with steering input to get the back end around.

    • 0 avatar
      daiheadjai

      Someone has a hate-on for the Toyobaru twins…

      FWD econobox massaged into a pretense of sportiness > RWD low-slung/lightweight sports car not tuned for gas mileage.

      Makes perfect sense.

  • avatar
    rickyc

    Saw one of these the other day a non-turbo model, looks like a hip car for the youngsters on a limited budget. Not bad i guess but i would rather pony up a few more and get a GTi.

  • avatar
    C P

    I’d take the RWD BRZ over this any day. Drove a non turbo V. Not as impressed as I wanted to be. But don’t hate it.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      BRZ is too spartan and “pure” in the interior for my tastes. I like my creature comforts and gadgets too, and the Veloster is a VERY cozy place to spend time in.

  • avatar
    Thill

    I think people need to realize the MSRP on this car (and the base model is pretty loaded) is only $21,950 and the car is EPA rated at close to 40mpg for the highway. It is a hatchback with a useable 3rd door and good storage and a fairly comfortable backseat.

    Comparing it to the more expensive performance coupes is probably not ideal, and as Hyundai stated, if you are looking for a more performance oriented car, look at the Gencoupe.

    I know one thing, when gas prices hit $5 a gallon again, this car will be a hot attraction…

    The automatic sounds like it is a mess.. I hope Hyundai makes lots of manuals :)

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      I have read that the “take” rate for manuals in the Veloster is something like 35%. I can say from personal experience that this is the first time that Hyundai has not messed-up and made a garbage manual (at least that I’ve driven).

      In fact, that was one of my more important “tests” when I test-drove mine. I loved the clutch/stick combo in the Veloster. It’s fantastic! I came from a MINI Cooper, and this one is just as good, if not perhaps even better. It’s smooth, and precise and the clutch is light, but with a good feel to it. It’s very forgiving too.

  • avatar
    skotastic

    I’ll have to jump on the hate train with this one.

    As a car to get around town or get good milage I’m indifferent; if it floats your boat than great.

    As a cool car, absolutely not. Hyundai/Kia are still the appliance makers of the auto world. I would love it if the company put out a car that was designed with passion and vision, and not built to a price point / market demographic. This may be bad business, but most of the truely great cars came out this way. Even the goofy name ‘Veloster’ sounds like it came out of a focus group/committee.

    I still rather fancy the Pony and Stellar, but largely because they were oddballs and the 80s rocked.

  • avatar
    daiheadjai

    As someone who likes the original Veloster (and I’m still under 30 to boot), I actually think the turbo looks less attractive.
    Moreover, if it costs 28k Canadian (as another TTACer notes above), that’s more than a FRS and BRZ (even in chronically-screwed over Canada pricing).

    More troubling: Most reviews (and many average-joe car nuts) note that the Genesis Coupe (even the latest refreshed version) in 2.0T guise (which is my preference) continues to be plagued by poor shifter feel, rev-hang (possibly due to an emphasis on gas mileage), and other issues regarding refinement of the drivetrain.
    As someone who likes these cars, it seems like a case of “good on paper but not in reality”
    There are just so many intangibles (i.e. feel) that can’t be ascribed a numerical value, and as far as Hyundai/Kia have come in quality and value terms, perhaps they still need a bit more refining to get that intangible part correct.

    No complaints though – I just hope they keep refining and pumping out fun/sporty cars at decent prices.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    I’ve been a Veloster owner since the week it was released. I would never pull the trigger on this. It’s a commuter by nature, not a hot hatch. There are days when I wish I had gone GTI or TDI instead because of the Veloster’s lack of torque, but I don’t see this as a viable third option. I’ve averaged 41 mpg on my last ten tanks, so I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.

    • 0 avatar
      savuporo

      I owned an euro Civic Type-R at some point, and bought a Veloster last year. Yeah its not a hot hatch, but its a good little commuter car. When i was shopping around i knew i wanted a hatchback, and there was nothing else on the US market that was even remotely interesting at that price point.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Other reviews have stated that Hyundai made the right move not stiffening the suspension for the Turbo, saying that it doesn’t have the harsher ride of the MazdaSpeed3 or GTI – so opinions can vary from reviewer to reviewer.

    Along that same front, other reviews have preferred the Veloster Turbo over the GT, so opinions can also vary on that front.

    Personally, while I like the looks of the Turbo slightly better (the black “nubs” on the non-turbo drive me batty), the design overall just doesn’t do it for me (don’t like the center stack design as well).

    And it’s a shame about the AT – while fuel economy is impt., Hyundai should have geared the Turbo more to the enthusiast side (even for the AT) and left the non-turbo for the DD set (maybe they’re saving that for an R-Spec trim?).

  • avatar
    Signal11

    TTAC is usually better about including disclaimers when attending a press event, no?

  • avatar
    C P

    On this thread is probably the only time I remember seeing the MPG reported as being as high as stated on the sticker. These are problem children from what I’ve read on the V forums.

    The last time I considered a Hyundai seriously was 10 years ago when I ended up w/ a camry. Glad I did. They no longer make the XG300 I was considering. Complaints on that one were fun to read considering how close I came to getting one. You’d think in 10 years the quality would have improved. I’m not seeing it.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      My understanding is that Hyundai Elantra apparently fails to match EPA ratings however every Veloster owner’s testimony I’ve read, as well as my own personal experience, can safely say that the Veloster exceeds EPA sticker ratings handily. I invariably exceed 40 mpg on the highway, unless I’m speeding. Then, it drops to 37 mpg or thereabouts. Fact!

      Not sure why the Elantra falls short.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States