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

Review and photos by Jacob Black

The Hyundai Veloster Turbo is exciting to look at. With its raked roofline, wheels-at-the-corners stance and gaping grille the Veloster has a racy looking platform. Add some deep curves and gouges that accentuate the wheel arches, a roof-mounted rear spoiler, hood vents and those large 18-inch wheels and it looks track ready. Note: I said “looks”.

When the base model Veloster was first launched consumers and journalists alike clamoured for more power. Hyundai – bless their hearts – complied. The Turbo upgrade sees the 1.6L four-pot force fed for a resulting 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. There are options for a six-speed automatic, but our tester came with the six-speed manual. A manual hatch with 200+ hp and 1,270 kg sounds like a perfect combination. Sure, it’s front-wheel drive but so is the Golf and that thing makes people drool, cry and fall over like a teenage girl at a One Direction concert.

The Veloster Turbo is, on paper, and on first impression, a very desirable little hot hatch. And that’s before you get to the ridiculous list of features and gizmos. For the money, ($26,249 before PDI etc) you get: navigation, rear-view camera, fog lights, household 115v power outlet, seven-inch infotainment system with Sirius XM satellite radio and Bluetooth, heated leather seats, cruise control, automated projector headlights with LED accents and panoramic sunroof. You have to love Hyundai’s habit of packing a lot of tricks into their little rigs.

Speaking of tricks, I enjoyed the “coupe on the driver’s side”, “four-door on the passenger side” configuration, and also the cupholders/storage tray in the middle “seat” in the rear. I always appreciate honesty, so Hyundai’s decision to make sure nobody is squeezed into this space is a good one – even if it does look like a potty (maybe that is the ultimate long-distance driving feature!)

I also liked the gear position guide – if you’re cruising at 70 km/h in fourth, the car will display a message on the dash explaining that you’re a terrible driver, can’t pick the right gear and should hand in your license. Of course, they do it in the form of an arrow and the most efficient gear number, but I know what they really mean.

So, so far, so good; right? Well yeah. There is a lot of promise in the offering here – but can the Veloster Turbo deliver on that promise? Bou-bouwm.

The problem is that Hyundai has done such an excellent job styling and equipping this car that you really do expect it to blow your mind as soon as you launch. The engine sounds good and gets up with gusto so after the first 300 metres you might be thinking “oh, this is going to be fun”. Then you have to turn.

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

The steering is not as vague as some other Hyundais I’ve driven. It is looser than I like on centre – but what isn’t? And that’s not the biggest problem anyway. The front steering geometry is amiss. Maybe in an effort to make it turn in more quickly, or to give it a pointier feeling, the front uprights feel too upright and the result is that the car falls over on the outside front wheel on turn in. The resultant push is disconcerting to say the least. BUT, it should be mentioned that Hyundai offers a strut brace for the top tower for the very reasonable price of $233 – I’d be keen to try one with that gizmo attached, it might just help.

The other solution is to enter corners slower and squeeze your way out on throttle. The front wheels do bite well when pointed straight, and the aforementioned light-weight, medium-power combination make it launch well enough, so if you take the slow-in-fast-out approach there is a lot of fun to be had. It will tolerate that style of driving more than a high mid-corner velocity.

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