Preview: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo reviews car previews hyundai
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo. Click image to enlarge

Test Drive: 2012 Hyundai Veloster
DBDR: 2012 Hyundai Veloster

Manufacturer’s web site
Hyundai Canada

By Grant Yoxon
Photos courtesy Hyundai; auto show photos by Grant Yoxon

Photo Gallery:
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

A few weeks before the Hyundai Veloster received the award for the Best New Sports/Performance Car (Under $50,000) for 2012 in the run up to the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada’s (AJAC) annual Car of the Year Awards, I travelled to Korea to see how the company builds cars.

Hyundai Canada fared well in this year’s AJAC TestFest. In addition to the Veloster win, the Hyundai Accent was named Best New Small Car (under $21,000), the Hyundai Elantra was selected Best New Small Car (over $21,000) and then took home the big prize of 2012 Canadian Car of the Year. Capping off the 2012 awards, the Veloster also won the Best New Design award for 2012.

I saw Genesis sedans being assembled on the line and loaded onto ships at Hyundai’s massive Ulsan assembly facility, watched red hot steel blanks rolled to the thickness of a car body at Hyundai Steel, and learned about Hyundai’s environmental research and electric car development at its environmental research center in Mabuk.

Preview: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo reviews car previews hyundai
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo. Click image to enlarge

At the Technical Research Center in Namyang, outside of Seoul, where we went to witness wind tunnel testing and powertrain development and to test drive the current crop of Hyundai-developed electrical vehicles, I spotted three unusual cars that piqued my curiosity.

Parked off to one side from the testing area and barely camouflaged sat three Velosters; three Velosters with obvious differences from any Veloster I had yet seen; each had a different hexagonal grille, sculpted side skirts, twin centre-mounted exhaust tips and gorgeous alloy wheels.

Could it be the rumored Veloster Turbo? Our hosts would not confirm or deny it. But when the car was unveiled a couple of months later at the Detroit auto show, I was certain that the three Velosters I saw in Korea were Veloster Turbo pre-production models, because the car that appeared in Detroit had the same large hexagonal grille, dual round exhaust tips in the centre of the rear diffuser, and side skirts. The only things different were the wheels—the production wheels will be 18-inch alloys with chrome inserts.

Preview: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo reviews car previews hyundai
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo. Click image to enlarge

Changes to the body work add 30 mm (1.2 in.) to the length and 15 mm (0.6 in.) to the width of the Veloster — barely noticeable — but the stocky 215/40VR18 tires hint that this Veloster has something the standard Veloster has very little of — power.

Based on the Hyundai Accent, the three-door Veloster uses the same 1.6L direct-injected four-cylinder engine with a power output of 138 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque. It is sufficient for the Accent, but the heavier (70 kg more) Veloster feels sluggish.

This won’t likely be the case with the Veloster Turbo. With its twin-scroll turbocharger, direct injection, and 9.5 compression ratio, the 1.6L produces 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, or 125.6 hp per litre, for the best power per litre in its class, a class that includes the Honda Civic Si Coupe, Volkswagen GTI and Mini Cooper S. It also has the best power-to-weight ratio—6.2 kg/hp. And it achieves this power on regular unleaded fuel that it consumes at an estimated rate of 7.5 L/100 km in the city and 5.2 L/100 km on the highway (equipped with manual transmission).

Preview: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo reviews car previews hyundai
Preview: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo reviews car previews hyundai
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo. Click image to enlarge

The Veloster’s 1.6L turbo can be paired with either the standard six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode and steering wheel–mounted paddle shifters for $1,250. Both units have been specifically developed for this engine to handle the increased power output, optimize shifting and increase fuel economy.

To satisfy enthusiasts, the Turbo’s larger centre-mounted dual exhaust outlets provide both a sportier look and a more robust sound. The Veloster Turbo’s new projector headlamps each incorporate eight individual LED accents for a unique lighting signature. A new 18-inch alloy wheel design with chrome inserts rounds out the list of exterior modifications.

Underneath the Veloster Turbo is all Veloster, with the same MacPherson strut front suspension and V-Beam torsion axle rear as the base car, but with a quicker ratio steering rack, revised steering calibration, and 20-mm (0.79 in.) larger ventilated front brake rotors.

Inside, new full leather seats with the word “Turbo” stitched into the seatbacks help deliver a unique look. An exclusive “Supervision” gauge cluster feeds the driver information in a larger, clearer, and more interactive format by way of two TFT screens located between the tachometer and speedometer. Like all Veloster models, the Turbo includes standard front heated seats and proximity keyless entry with push-button ignition.

When the 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo goes on sale this summer, retail prices will start at $25,999 with standard manual transmission or $27,249 with the automatic in one well-equipped trim package only. The only option, other than the automatic transmission is matte grey paint, priced at $1000.

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