Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Test Drive – 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

This week we’re testing Hyundai’s 2013 Veloster, built “to look like nothing else on the road.” Veloster’s unique three-door design and raking roofline make it a standout on the highway and, better yet, it’s within reach of most everyone’s pocketbook.

With enough room for mom and dad up front and the kids or pets in the back, front-drive Veloster offers a novel passenger side “third door,” eliminating the cumbersome ritual of trying to get into the back seat of compact two-door models. Veloster’s motif discreetly hides this passenger side door, resulting in coupe like appearance.

Surprisingly, Veloster’s base starts at just $17,600, followed by the ReMix for $20,050 and ending with top line Turbo, which starts at $21,950.

The non-turbo Velosters rely on an injected 1.6-liter inline four that delivers 138-horses and impressive 27 city and 37 highway EPA numbers. All Velosters come standard with Hyundai’s six-speed manual while a six-speed automatic is available for $1,000 more.

Our tester came with the turbo engine and manual tranny, delivering 201 horses from the same size engine. Surprisingly, the added 63 horses still find turbo Veloster delivering 24 city and 35 highway EPA ratings, proving that merging performance and economy is still an achievable task.

As for styling, Korean-built Veloster merges the best of the small Accent with the sporty aggressiveness of a Genesis. When you throw in the Turbo engine, Veloster delivers in all aspects, be it “drive day” at the area SCCA road course to picking up the weekly groceries.

On the road, Veloster Turbo is fun.

Lots of fun.

The suspension is firm yet not offensive as a stiffer ride is necessary yet unapparent while cruising the freeways. Owners will applaud Veloster’s peppy performance and road hugging attributes, which can easily be enhanced thanks to the hundreds of aftermarket suspension companies that cater to cars like this and that special youth market.

Notable is our tester’s optional $1,000 “graphite style” gray flat-matte non-shiny paint, something you might think wouldn’t look good. However, when you see it in person, you’re in for a big surprise. This special “flat” paint treatment lifts Veloster into a special market where people spend thousands on their cars much like baby boomers did during the muscle car era. I recommend the “flat” treatment for the youth movement, or for the young at heart.

In addition to the performance advantage, the Turbo offers a special wide mouth front grille, sport-tuned steering, projector headlamps, body kit, matching rear spoiler, fog lamps, 18-inch wheels, turbo badges, special aerodynamic additions, center exhaust tips, and a bevy of other standard features.

Notable standard features include traction control, four wheel ABS discs, stability control, all the airbags, side mirror turn signals, 450-watt eight-speaker premium sound system with seven inch display and all the bells and whistles, air, cruise, heated seats and much more.

Our tester came with a $2,500 Ultimate package featuring a panoramic sunroof, backup warning sensors, automatic headlamps, navigation system and a 115 outlet. I’d pass on this one, as only the backup sensors interest me.

Another option you can pass on is a $1,200 18-inch Michelin Pilot Super Sport summer tire option. Since you already receive 18-inch all season tires on nice alloys, I’d stick with the all-season tires and pocket the difference. The final option was $95 for floor mats, bringing the price to $27,520 with a $775 delivery included.

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 104.3 inches, 2,850 pound curb weight, 15.5 cu. ft. cargo space and a 13.2 gallon fuel tank.

Built to attract different classes of consumers, Veloster is a sports car to the youngsters, four-seat family mover to middle agers or a low priced economy car to the boomers.

Thankfully for Hyundai, Veloster really is all three and features that great 100,000 mile warranty.

Likes: Versatility, low price, turbo, design.
Dislikes: Rear camera optional, ride stiff for some.

Entry Price: $17,600 | Price as tested: $27,520

(Greg Zyla is a syndicated auto columnist).