Sometimes, out of the box designs fall flat on the floor, but with the all-new Hyundai Veloster Turbo this is clearly not the case. You have to give credit not only to the design team, but also the project managers that gave the thumbs up to such a distinctive looking car. Three doors, staggered B pillars and a distinctive rear glass area, all add to the uniqueness of the Veloster’s design.
Fortunately, I had not driven the Veloster before the Turbo version was delivered for our one week of testing; thus getting a chance to drive this new Hyundai in its maximum trim level without any previous impressions from the less powerful, normally aspirated version. My experience was, pleasantly surprising.
The look of the Veloster is polarizing. Either you love it or hate it. It’s definitely a hit with the 20 and 30-somethings, precisely the target group Hyundai is looking to appeal. The Veloster offers cool design features, such as the gorgeous 18 inch wheels, the perfectly executed and aggressive looking large diameter center dual exhaust as well as the modern front fascia. If you look at it from the left, it looks like a coupe while from the right, it looks like a hatchback, making this a unique feature that other cars in this segment do not offer. Hyundai cleverly hid the third door handle within the rear trim area, so to most, it doesn’t even look like a three door vehicle. All of these interesting and bold design features causes heads to turn every place the Veloster Turbo arrives.
Inside, the driver is greeted with a sporty yet comfortable and efficiently laid-out interior. The design is modern and fresh, with well positioned switchgear. The infotainment screen is well positioned and is fairly intuitive and user friendly without having to revert to the owner’s manual. Rear seat room is cozy, albeit with good leg room, as long as the front occupants are not NBA players. Headroom is maximized by using the hinged rear hatch as the roof, a cleaver feature, although it does cause for some hot heads during hot, sunny days. Access through the rear door is a bit tight due to the sloping roof line, although much easier to access than a typical coupe. Rear cargo room is surprisingly good, made more so by folding the rear seats forward.
The six-speed manual transmission is direct and efficient, while the clutch can, at times, be a bit sensitive when trying to be ultra-smooth with the shifts, which I’m sure; it’s a question of getting used to it. The ride quality is tight and sporty. Exhaust sound is raspy, yet not overly so. Press on the accelerator pedal and the power from the 201 HP engine comes on quickly and smoothly, thanks to the turbo. Brakes are direct and compliant with good control and pedal feel.
The week I had the Veolster Turbo I happen to have friends in town and used the car extensively with three people. It was surprising once you get used to it, how it becomes an easy car to live with. The driving dynamics, the power and the design all work well to make this 1st generation Veloster Turbo a winner, right out of the box!
MSRP: $21,950.00 MSRP (As tested): $27,520.00
Fuel Economy (Observed): 29 MPG
Engine: I-4, 1.6 liter, 201 HP turbo
Popular Options: Ultimate Package (panoramic sunroof, back-up sensors, Nav & auto headlights), Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires