When Hyundai introduced the excitingly style Veloster last year, its unique four-door coupe design made other compact hatchbacks look suddenly boring. But sadly, the Veloster’s performance didn’t back up its sporty appearance. Well, Hyundai quickly made it their mission to find a proper solution; enter the Veloster Turbo. So, let’s see adding a turbo can boost our reactions to Hyundai’s hot looking, little hatch!
The 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo does indeed get some much needed extra power pumped into its great looking sheet-metal. Courtesy of a twin-scroll turbocharger mounted on its 1.6-liter, direct injection Gamma-4. Horsepower gets a nice boost from 138 to 201, and torque gets an equally impressive increase from 132 to 195 lb-ft. Compression ratio drops from 11.0:1 to a more forced induction-friendly 9.5:1. Sounds like it certainly has the potential to cure what ailed it, so we wasted little time hitting the track to find out.
Off the line, there’s a fair amount of wheel hop as the front tires struggle for traction, but eventually enough is attained to get to 60 in 7.8 seconds, almost a second quicker than the normally aspirated Veloster. The quarter mile is equally quicker at 16.0-seconds at 87 miles-per-hour.
As before, both 6-speed manual and automatic are available; we chose the manual and we’re still not huge fans of the shifter, as you need to be very precise with it, but gears are well spaced and we love the more aggressive exhaust note that comes with the Turbo. It’s still not super fast, but without doubt a big improvement over the base Veloster and just enough to make it finally live up to its looks.
And speaking of looks, it’s hard not to love the funky styling of the Veloster; it truly appears “special” hauling down the road. And the Turbo gets some very well done visual upgrades that set it apart. But, not so much so that it look super boy racerish.
Up front there’s a larger hexagonal grille, and down the sides, rocker skirts are extended. 18-inch wheels with chrome inserts are standard. And of course the unique single right side 3rd door arrangement remains, though unfortunately so do the all too obviously fake hood “vents”. It looks most aggressive from the rear however, with the scooped out look accentuated by a body colored, hatch-top spoiler and dual, round center exhaust tips.
When it comes to handling, the turbo Veloster equates itself well enough. With no suspension changes, you still can’t push it too hard before it starts to push hard. But, a little finesse rewards you with flat cornering and more than enough power to exit with a smile.
But, our biggest complaint on the base Veloster was the absolute lack of steering feel. So the Turbo adds a slightly faster ratio and sportier tuning to the electric assist to increase feedback and response. We had no complaints about braking performance before, nor do we now as stops from 60 averaged a very good 120-feet.
We still love the motorcycle inspired, well equipped interior of the Veloster and the Turbo gets a few updates, like leather seats with Turbo embroidery, alloy pedals, and unique gauges. Heated seats and push-button start are standard. The Ultimate Package adds panoramic sunroof, automatic headlights, back-up warning sensors, and Navigation with Back-up camera.
Even if you crawl through the right side 3rd door, you won’t find any more room in the cramped rear seats. But, fold them and the 15.5 cubic feet of cargo space expands to 34.7. Though you’ll have to lift bags pretty high to get them through the hatch.
In case you haven’t heard, the government has some issues with Hyundai’s Fuel Economy Ratings. They’ve since been revised downward on many models, including the Veloster. The Turbo with manual now rates at 24-City, 35-Highway, and 28-Combined on Regular gas. We averaged a fine 32.9 miles-per-gallon in mixed driving. Making for an Energy Impact Score that’s still much better than average at 11.8-barrels of annual oil consumption with 5.3-tons of CO2 emissions.
Pricing gets a boost as well, to $22,725. That’s $4,500 over a base Veloster, but it comes almost fully loaded and is only about a grand over the very well-equipped Veloster we tested last year.
Adding boost to the 2013 Veloster may not be enough to blow the Turbo to the sharp end of the sporty hatchback segment, but Hyundai certainly made a fun little car even more so, giving it the additional performance it needed to back up its sporty mission. So we mean it when we say, “Mission Accomplished.”
Engine: 1.6-liter, direct injection Gamma-4
Torque: 195 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 7.8 seconds
1/4 mile: 16.0 seconds @ 87 mph
EPA: 24 mpg city/ 35 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 11.8 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 5.3 tons/yr