3rd Place: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo. Click image to enlarge
Another Autos.ca Comparison Test and another close finish; this time, though, it wasn’t for first place. No, we had a runaway winner there. Where the battle really lay, was for second place. While the Beetle took the comparison by nearly 10 points over the 2nd place finishing 500 Abarth, the 3rd place Veloster was less than two points behind the Fiat. When the dust had settled, we discovered the Veloster Turbo was refined, but not that sporty, the 500 Abarth was sporty, but not that refined and the Beetle was a combination of both. But I am getting ahead of myself; let’s discuss the Veloster Turbo first.
In the world of oddball hatchbacks, nothing comes close to looking more unusual than the Veloster. To say a Veloster Turbo gets lost in a sea of cars is to say you have officially lost your sight. The Turbo looks like someone told the designers to ensure every inch of the vehicle is different; for better or worse. This reflects in the overall appearance of the vehicle where styling elements clash with one another. The sweet gun-turret headlights are let down by the gaping mouth grille and it seems impossible that the highly detailed, mesmerizing rear taillights can be attached to the same rear end that houses those massive circular red reflectors.
The cool, squatted down coupe profile garners a lot of attention on the road but eats into headroom all around. Drivers nearing six feet tall will rub their heads into the sunroof cover but can gain a few millimetres if the sunroof cover is retracted. The rear seats in the Veloster offered the most legroom by far, but offered little head room. Fun fact: when the roof of the hatch is opened, the roof for rear passengers goes with it. Social Editor Mike Schlee could stick his entire head out of the hatch opening when seated in the back seat (see attached picture). There is a warning label on the trunk of the Veloster to ensure you do not accidentally decapitate your rear seat passengers when closing the hatch.
But we survived with our heads intact and still attached, and where the Veloster Turbo really faltered was when it came to spirited driving, even with its decent six-speed manual transmission. It was ranked the least fun to drive by all three testers and their score cards were full of comments like “very numb steering”, “confidence-killing rear-end Hyundai wiggle over bumps”, “no traction under power”, and “odd power delivery from the engine”. On the back roads, it always feels like the engine was down on power and delayed in its delivery. But get on the highway and the 1.6L suddenly felt more robust than the 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque it was rated at. The highway is where the Veloster Turbo feels at home and was considered the equal of the Beetle Turbo when it came to freeway cruising.
The Veloster Turbo had the most features and content out of this threesome and the lowest as-tested price. If this comparison were to determine the most funky and affordable vehicle, the Veloster Turbo would have won. But this comparison was about being funky and fun, and sadly, the Veloster could not match up, even with a hefty price advantage. If you are less concerned about a sporty drive and more interested in funky looks, great features, and good value, save yourself some money and buy a regular Veloster. -MS
Pricing: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
Base price: $25,999
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $27,594