Review and photos by Steven Bochenek

Two Testfests (bet you can’t say that three times fast) ago, the 2012 Hyundai Veloster won the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada’s award for Best New Design. A TestFest Best. Over the past week, the 2013 Veloster Turbo, its latest update, has continually proven itself a sporty little number that doesn’t suffer from any sophomore curse or performance anxiety.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo. Click image to enlarge

Indeed, it has been a lot of fun and there are many positives to report, the key being overall value. The only ‘upgrades’ on the Veloster Turbo are the automatic transmission and matte paint. But never mind those, at $26,249 base MSRP, it is well equipped enough to embarrass some luxury cars.

But nobody buys a feisty sportster to save money, so let’s begin with a discussion of performance.

As the name suggests, the Hyundai Veloster Turbo boasts an efficient turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder engine. It’s slightly noisy, but that’s part of the fun. It puts out a respectable 201-hp at 6,000 rpm and 185 lb-ft torque at 1,750. That may not sound like much if you’re piloting a hefty crossover with all-wheel drive and dragging a snowmobile. But the other key ingredient of performance engineering is weight.

At just 1,270 kilos soaking wet, the Veloster Turbo weighs only 35 more than my Mini Clubman. Which makes it like a pinball – or maybe the analogy should be a slingshot, given its rather noticeable turbo lag followed by a thoroughly satisfying liftoff.

The Veloster Turbo isn’t just thrusty though. It likes to bend suddenly in the corners. I was fortunate to have it a couple of extra days and put nearly 1,000 km on the odometer. It’s been fun on nearly every inch. In fact, I took it out of the city twice for overnight stays in the country.

The first time there was ice everywhere and the front-wheel-drive system had no problems launching. Where there are Hankook Kontrol Technology 18-inch winter tires, there’s less need for all-wheel drive. I turned off the traction control and enjoyed the oversteer a couple of times, a thrill so intense in the right conditions, you can expect the government to find a way to tax it soon.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo. Click image to enlarge

The second trip was just four days later, amid monsoon rains that melted the country snow base by half. The muddy puddles at times lapped the chassis. It was filthy good fun, although off-roading and mudslinging aren’t quite what the Veloster was designed for.

The braking system, complete with electronic brakeforce distribution, is especially alert and contributed significantly to the whole drive. Catapulting so readily out of sharp corners had as much to with the precise braking as the thrust.

The sport-tuned steering performs best in the highest gears. Slipping into spaces in traffic was always easy. In first and reverse, it’s a bit of a workout but the leather-bound steering wheel feels satisfying.

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