2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Ride and Review By: Larry Nutson

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2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
by Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

The Turbo boosted Veloster had been announced at last January’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit and it hit the market earlier this year. After my drive in the 2012 model 138HP Veloster back in late winter I was looking forward to driving this interesting car with 201HP at my beck and call.

Some see the Veloster as unique, different and exciting while others see it as odd, funky and lacking clear definition of purpose. I’m in the Veloster camp of sporty car with versatility and functionality, with a fair amount of fun-to-drive thrown in.

Somehow I had the expectation that my test car would have a manual transmission…a 6-speed, so I was a bit taken back when it turned up with the automatic, also a 6-speed with manual shift mode. The price is nice on the sporty Veloster with my Turbo test car having an MSRP of $22,950. The automatic added $1000. A $2500 Ultimate Package of options that included a sunroof, backup warning sensors, automatic headlamps, navigation system with rearview camera plus the $775 freight charge brought the total to $26,230.

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The 201HP Turbo GDI 1.6-liter powered Veloster with the automatic is EPA rated at 29mpg combined with city at 25mpg and highway at 34mpg. The 6-speed manual is rated 26mpg city and 38mpg highway. The Turbo Veloster is quite responsive with strong acceleration. It scoots from zero to 60mph in the upper-6 to low-7 second range. Along with the added power comes sport-tuned steering, which I thought to be a little heavy at times in Chicago’s city traffic that often requires lots of steering at slow speeds. The chassis is changed little from the base Veloster except for larger front discs, 18-inch wheels and 215/40 tires.

The ride is a touch choppy, in my view. Also, a too-fast crossing of any of Chicagoland’s numerous street-grade rail road crossings is sure to jar you. But, a simple driving-style adjustment can be made for this to make life more comfortable with the 40-series tires. The Veloster also has some very sticky summer tires available as an option. Michelin Pilot Super Sport 215/40ZR18 tires can be had for $1200 additional. Although I will point out here that with either these or the standard tire, winter tires are probably in order if you live in a climate that drops below 45F for most of the winter and especially if it snows.

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Unique touches on the outside beyond the 18-inch wheels include a blacked-out front grill, projection headlights with LED accents, LED tail lights, a body kit, rear diffuser and rear spoiler, turbo badging, and twin center-mounted exhaust outlets. Along with a nice offering of exterior colors the Veloster can be had in an exclusive Matte Gray finish.

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On the inside you get a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated leather seats with either blue or grey accents and an embroidered “turbo” logo, and an electroluminescent gauge cluster. I liked the feel of the steering wheel although I thought it could have had its own, more unique design.

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Safety equipment is abundant with Electronic Stability Control, a Traction Control System, Anti-lock Braking System, Tire Pressure Monitoring System and six airbags plus front set belt pretensioners.

The Veloster is fully digitalized with a full array of infotainment. Veloster’s features include a standard 450-watt Dimension Premium Audio system with eight speakers including an eight-inch subwoofer, external amplifier, iPod/USB/aux input jacks and Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system as well as a wireless cell-phone link with Pandora Internet Radio capability.

All in all the Veloster Turbo is a fairly nice sporty car. It’s only 167 inches short and has a good bit of cargo volume, expanding from 15.5 to 34.7cuft. It competes well with others on the market like the VW GTI, Honda Civic Si, Mini Cooper or even the new entries, namely the Subaru BRZ or Scion FR-S. Depending on your bank account, the overall vehicle appearance that attracts you or doesn’t, and how much versatility you need in a sporty car there are lots of good choices.

For 2013 the non-Turbo Veloster is carry-over with no noteworthy changes. My review of the 2012 model can be read here on The Auto Channel.

Hyundai tells me that they are selling about 30% of the Veloster Turbos with the 6-speed manual, and they expect that percentage to drop. I suppose if most of the buyers are using their cars in city/urban environs then it makes sense to opt for the more comfortable automatic that still delivers the expected performance and doesn’t compromise the overall driving experience.

Larry Nutson

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