Hyundai Veloster Turbo review

Our Rating: 
3
3.0/5.0
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The Hyundai Veloster Turbo is the range-topping performance version of the unusual 2+1-door coupe

For: 
Plenty of mid-range torque, practical, unique looks
Against: 
High price, no premium badge, lack of grip

Thanks to its dramatic looks, lengthy equipment list and unique 2+1 door configuration, the Hyundai Veloster had the potential to offer something a bit different. But while it stood out from Hyundai’s family car range, the underpowered engine range disappointed. Now, there’s a Turbo model with even more dramatic styling, more equipment and - most importantly - a 184bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine that propels the Veloster Turbo from 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds. It’s more expensive than a Volkswagen Scirocco 1.4 TSI, but it’s more powerful and better equipped.

Our choice: Veloster Turbo 1.6 T-GDi SE

Styling

3.3

The Veloster is one of the most striking cars on sale. It’s one of the most overt expressions of Hyundai’s current ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ design language, which includes a trapezoidal grille, flowing creases in the bodywork and intricate lights. And the Turbo model only enhances the Veloster’s quirky looks, with more dramatically sculpted front and rear bumpers, bigger alloys and the option of Hyundai’s first matte paint finish. The Veloster isn’t quite a sports car and isn’t quite a hatchback, which means it isn’t quite as well resolved as the Volkswagen Scirocco. The assymetric door design is well integrated into the car's shape, though, with blacked-out door pillars disguising the extra door on the passenger side.

Driving

3.7

The Veloster Turbo is powered by Hyundai's new direct-injection 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine, which develops 184bhp and 265Nm of torque. That gives it 33 per cent more power and - more importantly - 59 per cent more torque than the standard car’s engine. The performance stats aren't especially sparkling, with the 0-62mph sprint taking 8.4 seconds and a top speed of 133mph, and the turbo spins up from low revs, so the power delivery is linear and doesn't offer the shove in the back you would expect from a turbocharged car. However, the extra torque means that the Turbo feels faster on the road, and allows you to use a lower gear when accelerating out of bends. The engine makes a good noise, too, although tyre roar becomes intrusive at higher speeds and grip isn’t always in plentiful supply.

Reliability

4.3

Like the standard Veloster, the Turbo gets a full five-star Euro NCAP rating. Safety kit is generous and includes plenty of airbags and electronic stability control as standard. Hyundai finished a decidedly average 14th in the 2013 Driver Power reliability survey - but that was still ahead of BMW, Volkswagen and Ford. As with all other new Hyundais, the Veloster Turbo comes with a five-year, unlimited mileage, triple-care warranty package for added peace of mind.

Practicality

3.5

To make the Veloster stand out from the crowd, it has a novel door layout, with two doors on one side and one on the other. But unlike the MINI Clubman, Hyundai has engineered the door layout for the UK, so the two doors open to the pavement, while the driver has one large door. This boosts access to the rear seats, although the driver's seat does slide forward if you can't get in from the passenger side. Space up front is good, but the rear seats are a squeeze for taller passengers, as the tailgate restricts headroom. The boot is 320 litres, which is eight litres more than the VW Scirocco. However, the Vauxhall Astra GTC is considerably more practical, with a 380-litre boot.

Running Costs

3

The Veloster Turbo sits in road tax band G, so it costs £170 a year to tax. The 1.6-litre engine does offer good performance, but if you go easy on the throttle, Hyundai claims an average economy figure of just over 40mpg. At £21,995, the Turbo SE does seem quite expensive. But SE stands for special equipment, so it comes loaded with kit, making it cheaper than a Scirocco 1.4 TSI when you compare them spec-for-spec. If you don’t need all of the equipment, an entry-level Turbo will join the range later in 2013, starting from less than £20,000.

Disqus - noscript

Every car should have a turbo engine as far as I'm concerned, it's the best way to extract power from an engine the 20% of the time when it is required, while cruising around and sipping gas the rest of the time.

This car is very ugly at the front with that stupid Audi looking grille. Why is everyone following Audi with this?

In regards to the performance of this car; it's a turbo engine, so if you are not happy with the higher than HP torque which is what you feel from the pull of the engine, then simply turn the boost up and remap. Any turbo engine that has the torque figure equal or greater than the HP figure, has it's power artificially limited by low boost. Turn it up to where the engine is efficient and you'll be smiling every time you press the gas; I'm talking about 250+ HP potential. If Hyundai was to send this car out with more power, buyers would have an issue insuring the cars pretty much the same car Ford Customers had with the Sierra Turbo when it was first introduced in the 80s. Ford had to ask Cosworth to turn the power down for insurance purposes. When you think about it, 0-60 MPH in 8.4 seconds is what a Ford Capri 3000E or a RS1800 BDA Escort used to do in the 70s, which BTW was really really fast, but you have SUVs doing this time today.

As for comparing this car with any German engineered car, I have one word for you; RELIABILITY. These new VWs are certainly not reliable, especially the one with the Auto Transmission which break quite easily. The factory has a way of telling you that they will bear 75% of the cost to replace, but the 25% which you have to pay still costs a fortune. Which means it only makes sense to own a German car while it is still on that 3 year or mileage warranty. Translating into poor resale value, something that has plagued Audi since it was introduced in the 70s.

Last updated: 5 Nov, 2012
Issue 1346
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