Saturday Road Test – Hyundai Veloster R-Spec

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2016 Hyundai Veloster R-Spec

Sporty On a Budget

By Ron Amadon

DAMASCUS, MD. – Consumers who are on a budget, perhaps those who paying off college loans, might get a case of sticker shock these days when shopping for a sporty, compact car.

Everything seems to cost enough to convince them to leave the showroom and perusal the dealer’s used car lot instead.

Hyundai, and brother-in-law Kia, has gained fame by going after that kind of shopper, adding lots of features in a vehicle that is also reasonably priced.

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Packed into the three-door Veloster R-Spec were, among other goodies, a  450-watt audio system with subwoofer, LED headlights and tail lights, rear spoiler, rearview camera, and let’s not forget the red seat belts.

(There is one door on the driver’s side and two on the other. Why? I don’t know.)

Hyundai’s 10 year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty should not be overlooked, so there is value here for the buck.

Under the hood was a twin scroll turbocharged 1.6-liter four rated at 201 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm with 195 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750 – 4,500 rpm.  Hallelujah, the transmission was a 6-speed manual with “B&M Racing Sport Shifter”.

The manual tranny was much improved over the balky shifters in earlier models. A 0-60 of just a tick over 7.5 seconds can be achieved, but that is on the slow side compared to rivals.

Economy wise, the R-Spec is rated at 25 city, 33 highway for a combined EPA of 28 mpg. I rang up 26 mpg. Even with the turbo, the test car is happy with regular unleaded.

While not a track car, one can have some fun on twisty roads but some might find the ride on the stiff side on less than just paved roadways. Interstate expansion strips were quite noticeable inside. For sure, the “leatherette bolster seats” will keep your bod locked in place during more vigorous driving.

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Fold down the rear seats and there is cargo space – perhaps more of than you might expect from glancing at the exterior. A total of 34.7 cubic feet of hauling home space and enough for a weekend getaway for two.

The rear, even with the third door on the passenger side, is best left for cargo hauling and not grown-ups due to a lack of head room and an ingress/egress that is best reserved for those who are, shall we say limber.

2016 Veloster

But hey, this is a sporty car and some could argue you do not expect a plush ride or a lot human cargo space in such a vehicle.

If I could change one thing about the Veloster, other than more horsepower, it would be immediate removal of the bar across the rear window that limits visibility by a rather dramatic amount. If I am out cruising, I want ample warning that a fellow with blue lights on his roof is expressing interest in the “Pacific Blue” sporty car.

Let us pause here and remember the Dallas police officers in the news this week, and all of the men and women who are good cops and lay their lives on the line for us every hour and every day of the week.

Back to the Veloster.

Two things are for certain. You will get a lot of equipment for the money and there is a budget pleasing MSRP. With zero options, the test Veloster R-Spec totaled $22,415.

For 2016 Velosters received a revised hood without vent accents, a dark gray grille surround, and 10mm-wider tires at 225/40R18 to be precise.  Also Apple Siri and Next Generation Blue Link and HD radio capability.

Hyundai’s sporty car got a “recommended” rating from Consumer Reports and after a week behind the wheel I would concur.

 

 

 

 

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