2013 HYUNDAI VELOSTER REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Small Performance Coupe/Hatch
Price: $31,990 (plus on-roads)
Fuel Economy claimed: 6.8 l/100km | tested: 9.2 l/100km
The regular Veloster is no bad thing. Plenty of style, good road manners and entertaining handling - but not enough 'go' to match its 'show'.
For buyers looking for the extra dollop of power, the new SR Turbo variant ups the ante and makes the Veloster a credible tarmac terrier.
While there are a couple of black marks on the ledger, the Veloster SR Turbo is definitely worth taking a closer look at. Which is what we did, for a week.
Photography: Jan Glovac.
Quality: It may seem petty, but the door handles are the biggest let-down in an otherwise quite nice interior.
There’s a visible plastic seam-line where the two halves of the handle are joined. If it was under the handle, instead of on top, it would be invisible... but it's not.
Also, the doors shut with a tinny clunk and the gunmetal plastic accents throughout the cabin look cheap.
Otherwise, for the price, the leather is good, dash materials acceptable (though scuff-prone) and the overall design is modern and edgy.
What does look good (outside the car) is the central dual-exhaust tips, and in the black of our test car, the dominant front grille blends in nicely.
Comfort: The Veloster SR Turbo provides a good driving position and plenty of adjustment in both the wheel and seats (the driver’s being partial electric), catering to almost all drivers.
It is a small car, so the footwells aren’t huge, but there’s enough room to heel-and-toe, if only you could (more on that later).
The front seat bolstering is just enough to keep you in place during spritely cornering, yet there’s room to move across the shoulders.
The back seats (there’s only two) are fine for children and their booster seats, however adults will find it squeezy. The triangular shape of the passenger-side rear door also hampers entry and exit for anyone older than twelve.
Equipment: The Veloster SR Turbo is pretty well-stocked for where it sits in the market. Auto headlights, reversing camera and parking sensors, keyless entry and start, sat-nav with three years of map updates, a decent stereo with MP3, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, tyre pressure monitoring, cruise control, heated mirrors, alloy pedals, and of course, that unique front-end.
Storage: The Veloster is fairly handy as a daily driver with enough storage to keep it practical.
Apart from the usual glovebox, ahead of the gearshift is a small space for a wallet or some cards, there are generous door pockets and an effective boot space of 320 litres (VDA measured).
Two exposed cupholders reside on the centre console and under the armrest is a small cubby hole.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: When on the road, you realise that the Veloster Turbo is probably the best-steering Hyundai available. With 'just right' weight and feel, it’s a joy to punt around suburban streets.
Turn-in is crisp and the rack is consistent in feel between the lock stops. Couple that with the effective 150kW and 265Nm produced by the 1.6-litre turbo engine and the Veloster starts to shine.
It’s a punchy little engine with plenty of torque belying its diminutive size. Thanks to direct injection, peak Newton-metres make themselves felt from 1800rpm and it keeps pulling in a very linear fashion all the way to its redline.
It’ll never set a land-speed record, so while its 0-100km/h time is said to be 6.9 seconds, we’d wager a genuine timed run would go a little over that. Still, it’s not slow and is more than enough to surprise most.
There is some turbo lag, but more notable is the tardy throttle response, which is quite separate to the lag. Because it's slow acknowledging your right foot's inputs, it won't rev-match on downshifts when going for the heel-and-toe.
Frustrating for the track, yes, but that's not where the Veloster is spending most of its time. And on the road, the engine is a charmer.
Refinement: The engine isn’t too buzzy, despite its small capacity, and the slight notchy feel of the gearshift adds to its sportiness. It feels quite solid on the road, though there’s a bit of tyre roar.
Suspension: Down below the Veloster Turbo uses a MacPherson strut front end and a coupled torsion-beam rear axle.
While not especially sophisticated, it sticks to the road very well, only reaching the ragged edge when severely provoked. Its ride is obviously firm, however there’s a compliance that keeps it on the comfortable side of entertaining.
Braking: The brakes have been upgraded from the standard Veloster, and given its speed potential, it’s something we’re grateful for. We couldn’t find much fade from its 300mm vented fronts and 262mm solid rear discs.
ANCAP rating: Five stars
Safety features: With six (large) airbags, side intrusion beams in the doors, ABS, EBD and stability and traction control, the Veloster keeps a lid on safety concerns.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Hyundai’s five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty is one of the best.
Service costs: The Veloster Turbo uses Hyundai’s capped servicing and alternates between $129 and $279 per service for the first three years.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Toyota 86 ($29,990) - While the 86 is making all the headlines, it fails the practicality test when compared with the Veloster. Its rear drive is huge fun but has an uninspiring engine note and lacks the torque of the Veloster (see 86 reviews).
Honda CR-Z ($34,990) – Almost as funky as the Veloster, the CR-Z fails to impress with its slow-as-a-wet-week drivetrain and more expensive pricetag. No-wonder Honda only sold one in January. (see CR-Z reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The Veloster SR Turbo is a fun, stylish, practical pocket rocket. Having two doors on one side forces the kids out nearest the kerb, so it’s safe too.
For the price, there’s plenty to recommend it, especially when you consider its excellent warranty and included features.
A couple of interior tweaks would see it look at even further upmarket competitors. As it is, though, don’t be fooled by all the 86/BRZ hype. Put this one on your shopping list as well.
Photography: Jan Glovac.