2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo review: Raising the bar on sub-30K sports coupes

A more aggressive stance suggests the added performance brought to the Veloster Turbo.

It wasn’t but a few months ago we reported on Hyundai’s newly introduced sporty coupe, Veloster. At that time this was the newest entry from Hyundai which showed they could execute exciting and spirited driving while maintaining a reasonable price.

It was hinted back then that Hyundai would raise the performance ante on Veloster quite soon. That was one of those DUH moments. Anyone who has been interested in the automobile business any length of time knows full well that manufacturers cannot help but increase performance in an entry level sporty offering. Just like we auto journos, who always ask for more power. It is just what we do.

As we expected, Hyundai engineers delivered what was promised in the Veloster Turbo. With or without turbo power, the Veloster is great fun to drive, plus it attracts younger buyers to the Hyundai family of reliable and well built vehicles. The Veloster is cool in its appearance and cool in its movement. Cruising the beach along the Pacific Coast near San Diego the Veloster and we (OK, the Veloster) received a lot of smiles, waves and thumbs-up signs from the surfers, beach goers and bikini clad inhabitants.

Propelling the Veloster Turbo is a fuel-sipping responsive 1.6-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine that produces a heartwarming 201 horsepower and a 195 lb-ft. of torque. Like its normally aspirated sibling, the Veloster Turbo is available with a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission. Thankfully the automatic is a true auto not a CVT and it is also equipped with Hyundai’s SHIFTRONIC Manual mode.

Hyundai engineers did not use the dual clutch system (DCT) in the turbo model feeling that the more aggressive use of throttle in automatic mode would be better served through the traditional torque converter type transmission.

Most of the body parts remain much like the base car. However, to distinguish the Turbo a new, more aggressive looking front fascia incorporates fog lamps and ground effects panels to direct air flow are used. The right rear access door, located on the curb side for safety reasons, makes a great deal of sense to us. Far better to allow rear passengers to disembark on the sidewalk side as opposed to dumping them into the street with traffic buzzing by.

The rear spoiler splits the rear window glass, which from the driver’s seat we found distracting. We were continually looking for a clear view of the vehicles behind us. However, from the exterior view the spoiler lends a sporty appearance. The LED headlight accents and rear taillights make a noticeable vehicle even more so, day or night.

Our test drive with the Veloster Turbo took us over many twisting country roads east of San Diego, all with a smile on our face. We quickly forgot about the frugal 138 horsepower of the base Veloster. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine sitting under the hood pumps out a respectable 201 horsepower and 195 pound feet of torque. With manual mode shifting the Veloster had us scooting around tight curves and darting in and out of canyons like a sports car. A sport tuned exhaust system was music to our ears as the engine reaches for its upper rpm range.

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Ron is a veteran of the automotive industry, developing his keen ability for relating how a vehicle performs from days spent on race tracks, country roads and highways around the world. Ron spends hundreds of miles behind the wheel of nearly every new vehicle produced, just as he has over the last three decades. He has been on the inside of the industry having worked for major vehicle manufacturers. Ron continues to have an inside track to executives, engineers and designers learning the why and what on design, engineering and marketing of all the current and popular vehicles. Not only is Ron familiar with the heat out on the race track he is familiar with another type of heat, real fire. He has spent thirty years dousing flames as an urban and wildland firefighter. Ron also continues to be a nationally recognized instructor in personal safety and protection. Depending on the type of vehicle, Ron not only tests at the limits on the race track and off-road trails such as the Rubicon, he lives with each vehicle through day to day life. He experiences the vehicles in ways owners normally would never think of. Ron’s work has appeared in major automotive and life style publications, such as Motor Trend, Popular Mechanics, New York Times, Auto World, Car Australia and Better Homes & Gardens. His work has appeared on hundreds of newspapers and websites and continues to be referenced by many for his expertise and knowledge.