Saturday Road Test

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2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

Weird Looks – Fun to drive

By Ron Amadon

LAYTONSVILLE, MD – The Veloster may not be the most handsome vehicle on the road today, but let the turbo do its thing, and this rig is just downright fun to drive.

When the Veloster was first introduced, there were complaints about its power. The inline four batted out 138 horsepower but the Velo needed more power to star. Enter the 201 horsepower twin scroll turbo and those complaints have eased with an increase in torque from 123 lb-ft to 196 lb-ft @ 1750-4500 rpm.

A six speed manual tranny is standard with a six speed automatic an option.  With the stick shift, zero to 60 pops up in about 7 seconds, compared with a non-turbo time that is 1.5 seconds slower. Out on the road that makes a heck of a difference.

The manual transmission was a delight on twisting back roads and lived in a harmonious relationship with the turbo. Yet one would not want to race a Volks GTI or Honda Si.

It could be argued that the Veloster Turbo was never destined to be a track car anyway. For those who are attracted to its rather, (ahem), strange exterior styling it is a chance to own a sporty looking vehicle that certainly will stand out against the competition.

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One also has to put up with some other little peccadillos such as the lack of a rear door on the driver’s side, and a large bar across the rear window that reduces visibility.

On the other side of the ledger, the interior is first rate with an easy to read instrument panel, comfortable seats, and major controls that fall readily to hand. The jazzy looking V-shaped center stack was also a nice touch. Rear seating space for adults was tight, but okay for the kiddos.

Two where the Veloster stands out:  Economy, cargo space and bang for the buck.

The EPA rates the stick shift turbo at 24-35 mpg on regular gas and let’s just say I came in on the lower end of that scale. EPA estimates for the GTI with a stick are 21-31 while the Si checks in with 22-31 mpg.

The Veloster sports 15.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats up and that grows to a hefty 89.8 with all seats folded.

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Nifty standard features on the tested Turbo M/T model included 18-inch alloy wheels, 7” touchscreen, a fine sounding audio system with all the usual hookups, heated multi-adjustable leather seats with power lumbar, and so forth.

A $2,500 “Ultimate Package” added a sunroof, backup warning system, automatic headlights and navi. Add in $95 floor mats, (something should be standard on ALL cars,) and the test unit carried a price of $26,520 including delivery. A base price of $22,725 tops both the GTI and Si.

It should be noted that the Veloster captured two categories in the latest Kelley Blue Book list of vehicles projected to have the lowest operating costs over the next five years.

 

 

 

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