2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Road Test Review
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo boosts performance in the Veloster model line
Scores High: Lives up to its “fun-to-drive” mission, excellent fuel efficiency, practical interior design
Scores Low: Manual shifter could be more precise, more low-end torque wouldn’t hurt
Total Car Score Analysis
Hyundai is calling the 2013 Veloster Turbo its “reverse halo” car. This means Hyundai wants the Veloster Turbo to attract a new generation of buyers to the brand through its aggressive styling and capable performance. However, unlike a traditional halo car, Hyundai wants the Veloster Turbo to be widely affordable with a starting price of $21,950. It also wants to keep the Turbo model practical, with features like 38 mpg on regular gas and a functional rear seat.
While the concept of a capable coupe isn’t new, Hyundai has added an appealing dimension to the Veloster with this performance version. The 2013 Veloster Turbo maintains both its unique style and appealing practicality –including a third door on the passenger side for easier rear-seat access. Hyundai also added some real personality through not only a more powerful engine but also unique exterior and interior styling enhancements. The hot hatch segment has seen plenty of action in just the past couple years, yet the Veloster Turbo will hold its own in this increasingly crowded field.
Rather than just throwing in a turbo engine and bucket seats, Hyundai upgraded several aspects of the 2013 Veloster Turbo. These include exterior design cues that reflect the car’s performance nature. The Turbo’s grille is larger, with a blacked-out treatment, the projector headlights feature LED accents, and the foglights utilize a projector-beam design as well. The lower body panels are more aggressive and pronounced than the standard Veloster, and the Turbo model offers LED turn signals integrated into the exterior mirrors. The 2013 Veloster Turbo also offers Hyundai’s first-ever matte paint finish, available in a medium gray shade. Distinctive eighteen-inch wheels, a body-colored rear spoiler, a unique rear fascia, large dual-exhaust outlets and LED taillights round out the exterior elements that identify a Veloster Turbo.
The 2013 Veloster Turbo’s performance starts with a 1.6-liter twin-scroll turbocharged engine making 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. These numbers are 46 percent and 59 percent higher, respectively, than their counterparts in the standard Hyundai Veloster. The turbo engine features variable valve control, an intercooler and direct fuel injection. It runs on regular gas and offers a maximum turbo boost pressure of 18 psi.
A six-speed manual transmission comes standard on the Veloster Turbo and earns 26 city/38 highway mpg. The manual works well enough, though the shifter wasn’t as precise as others in this segment. A six-speed automatic, with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, is also offered for $1,000 and earns 25 city/34 highway mpg ratings. This is a traditional automatic (with a torque converter, not a hydraulic multi-clutch) and it includes a “Sport” diving mode that is activated by sliding the shift lever to the right. In Sport mode the transmission will downshift more readily and hold gears longer when it senses more aggressive driver inputs. In this mode the automatic can delay a shift up to 6,600 rpm.
The 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo earns higher fuel efficiency than its competition because the 1.6-liter engine has less mass to pull around. Through the use of high-strength steel Hyundai has kept the Veloster’s weight at about 2,800 pounds. This benefits both fuel efficiency and driving dynamics, giving the Turbo a responsive nature during acceleration, braking and steering inputs (the steering rack is also quicker than in the standard Veloster).
Yet despite the Turbo’s light curb weight and advanced engine technology we couldn’t help but pine for just a bit more low-end torque. At 1.6-liters the Veloster Turbo’s powerplant is smaller than some competitors, and the engine tuning required to achieve those high fuel efficiency figures undoubtedly gives away a few low rpm pound-feet in the process. Welcome to the world of rapidly rising CAFE requirements, where engine size and performance tuning will be in a constant battle with the EPA test cycle. Indeed, the Veloster Turbo’s competitors with larger engines, including the Honda Civic Si and Volkswagen GTI, have substantially lower fuel mileage numbers.
Interior Design and Function
Maintaining the Veloster Turbo’s performance theme is a cabin featuring piano black accents, aluminum pedals and heavily bolstered front seats with excellent lateral support. These seats are available with blue or gray trim panels and contrasting stitching. The driver’s seat also offers a power lumbar adjustment. A large electroluminescent speedometer and tachometer serve as the primary gauges, while a three-spoke tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel with audio, phone and cruise controls adds real-world convenience. The Veloster Turbo offers surprising space efficiency that results in excellent headroom and legroom, plus 15.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row seat.
Occupant safety comes in the form of six standard airbags, including front, side and side curtain airbags. Vehicle stability control and antilock brakes are standard, while backup sensors and a rearview camera are available in an option package.
Primary Features and Options
Every 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo comes standard with leather seats, heated front seats, aluminum pedals and Hyundai’s Blue Link technology (includes destination guidance, easy access to Hyundai dealer assistance and emergency services notification). High-tech features, such as a 7-inch multimedia touchscreen, Bluetooth hands-free phone connection and a proximity key for easy entry and push button engine start are also standard, as is a 450-watt audio system with eight speakers and a dedicated subwoofer. The younger audience Hyundai is targeting with the Veloster will likely appreciate features like Pandora, Gracenote and even built-in games, all accessible through the central display screen.
The sole option group, called the Ultimate Package, costs $2,500 and includes a panoramic sunroof, backup warning sensors, automatic headlights, a 115-volt power outlet and a navigation system with a rearview camera.
But perhaps the most interesting Veloster Turbo option is the $1,000 Matte Gray paint. While not normally found on cars at this price point, the Matte Gray paint adds an undeniable appeal to the already sleek body lines and aggressive styling cues found on the Veloster Turbo. But hipsters looking to make a matte fashion statement should keep in mind the higher maintenance this paint requires. Typical cleaning techniques, including common wax, polishes and even terrycloth towels can damage the finish, and don’t even think about going through an automatic carwash with brushes. Plan on hand washing it with a soft mitt and matte-specific cleaning products.
It’s Perfect For…
Performance enthusiasts seeking the latest pocket rocket will want to consider the 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo. The coupe offers a unique combination of performance, value, practicality and even fuel efficiency. From a pure speed and handling perspective it’s not the most capable model around, but when price, features, functionality and warranty coverage (10-years/100,000-miles on the drivetrain) are taken into account the Veloster Turbo is arguably the most well balanced entry in the segment.
It’s also your only choice if you want matte paint for under $50,000.
Vehicle Tested: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
Base MSRP of Test Vehicle: $21,950
Options on Test Vehicle: Ultimate Package (includes panoramic sunroof, backup warning sensors, automatic headlights, navigation system with rearview camera, 115V outlet -- $2,500), 6-speed Automatic ($1,000), Matte Gray paint ($1,000) Carpeted Floor Mats ($95), Destination Charge ($775)
MSRP of Test Vehicle (including destination charge): $27,320
2013 Fiat 500 Abarth
2013 Honda Civic Si
2013 Mini Cooper S
2013 Scion FR-S
2013 Volkswagen GTI
The manufacturer provided Total Car Score this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Photos Courtesy of the manufacturer.