Hyundai’s affordable three-door hatchback makes its own very distinct styling statement; Backing up is now much easier on base models now that a rearview camera is standard.
Range-extending 1.6-liter four-cylinder mated to a six-speed manual transmission or optional dual-clutch automated manual gearbox; Turbo model makes much appreciated 201 horsepower.
In the annals of automotive design, Hyundai will likely be recognized for its bravery in bringing this audaciously shaped model to market at a price that’s well within reach of most car shoppers’ budgets. The three-door, front-wheel-drive hatchback is the counterpoint to Hyundai’s other performance sports model, which is the Genesis Coupe. The paper-tiger Veloster is equipped with a 138-horsepower 1.6-liter engine that specializes in fuel economy. It’s the perfect engine for commuter-based driving, but for more serious punch you can opt for the Veloster Turbo’s turbocharged four-cylinder (also displacing 1.6 liters) that makes 201 horsepower and significantly changes the car’s character. The non-turbo Veloster can be had with a six-speed manual transmission but the optional six-speed automated dual-clutch transmission (DCT) automated manual is tuned more for economy than performance. Specifying the DCT adds a selectable Active Eco mode that adjusts the computer-regulated engine and transmission mapping to maximize fuel economy. Stepping up to the Veloster Turbo lets you choose between the six-speed stick or the available six-speed automatic. Visually, the Turbo gets a more aggressive front end with a larger blacked out grille, a unique hood, ground effects body kit, a revised rear bumper and a gigantic (yet almost annoyingly quiet) twin exhaust poking out the back. Most of the interior bits are shared between Turbo and non-Turbo variants, meaning seating for four passengers plus easy-to-read gauges and control-panel knobs for the driver. Keeping the base Veloster well below the $20,000 threshold involves pruning the equipment list, although air conditioning, remote keyless entry, seven-inch multi-function touch-screen display and a newly added rearview monitor are included along with the usual power-operated windows, door locks and outside mirrors. Optional on base models but standard on the Turbo is an upgraded interior, push-button start, up-level 450-watt sound package, navigation system, panoramic sunroof and 18-inch alloy wheels (17-inch alloys are standard). Also available is Hyundai’s new subscriber-based Blue Link safety, infotainment, diagnostic, route-assist and roadside-assistance service similar to General Motors’ OnStar program.
Base price (incl. destination): $18,400
Type: Three-door hatchback
Base engine (hp): 1.6-liter DOHC I4 (138)
Optional engine: 1.6-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (201)
Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Transmission: Six-speed manual; six-speed dual-clutch automatic (opt.); six-speed automatic (Turbo)
MPG (city/hwy): 27/37 (base 1.6, MT)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 2,580