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Hyundai Veloster
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Overall: Since the Veloster’s inception, Hyundai has a major hit on its hands owing to its sleek design, comfy-cozy interior and affordability; Rally Edition trim added for 2016.

Drivetrain: The base 1.6-liter four-cylinder is strictly an econo-runner, while an optional 201-horse turbo 1.6 provides a kick that’s commensurate with the Veloster’s sporty looks; six-speed manual transmissions are standard with both engines; six-speed paddle-shift manual is optional with base 1.6 while a new seven-speed automated manual is a Turbo-only option.

Hyundai and its Kia partner know how to shake things up when it comes to creating youth-market vehicles. Kia has the funky Soul wagon, while Hyundai has the equally cool Veloster hatchback. Veloster starts with a 138-horsepower 1.6-liter engine that specializes in fuel economy and is ideal for commuter-based driving, but for a more serious punch you should opt for the Veloster Turbo that makes 201 horsepower and significantly changes the car’s character. The non-turbo Veloster comes with a six-speed manual transmission but a six-speed paddle-shift manual is optional. Called the DCT, it includes a selectable Active Eco mode that adjusts the computer-regulated engine and transmission mapping to maximize fuel economy. The Veloster Turbo comes with a six-speed stick or the newly available seven-speed paddle-shift manual. Visually, the Turbo shows off a more aggressive front end with a larger blacked out grille, unique hood, ground-effects body kit, revised rear bumper and a gigantic twin exhaust poking out the back. 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 for base models but standard for the Turbo is an upgraded interior, push-button start, up-level 450-watt sound package, navigation system and a panoramic sunroof. For 2016 a new Rally Edition joins the R-Spec option package and includes 18-inch Rays-brand alloy wheels, B&M-brand sport shifter, carbon-fiber trim, special paint and a sport suspension that’s even firmer than the R-Spec’s setup.