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How much? £21,995
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 1591cc 16v in-line four-cylinder, turbocharged, 184bhp @ 5500rpm, 195lb ft @ 1500-4500rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 8.4sec 0-62mph, 133mph, 40.9mpg, 157g/km
How heavy / made of? 1313kg/steel
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 4250/1805/1399
Need to know

CAR's rating

Rated 4 out of 54

Handling

Rated 4 out of 54

Performance

Rated 4 out of 54

Usability

Rated 4 out of 54

Feelgood factor

Rated 4 out of 54

Readers' rating

Rated 4 out of 54

Hyundai Veloster Turbo (2012) CAR review

By Ben Pulman (photography by Stuart Collins)

First Drives

08 October 2012 16:06

The Hyundai Veloster Turbo is a properly stunning car. We like the Veloster, more so the butcher Sport version, but it looks born to be the Turbo. Rather than the standard narrow intake above the Hyundai badge and a larger one beneath, the Turbo boasts one big, Audi-inspired grille and I love the way it accentuates how the bodywork sweeps up under the headlights, Aston Martin One-77-style. The rest of the front is more aggressive too, with a little chin spoiler and sharper styling around the fog lights. When you see it in a rear-view mirror, LED daytime running lights ablaze, it looks like a mini Nissan GT-R.

At the back your eyes are drawn to the two huge exhaust trims, and with the scalloping around the tail lights and the new diffuser, the whole rear seems to taper in and hunker down. There’s a red ‘Turbo’ badge too, 18in wheels, and the new option of matt grey paint. It’s an amazing finish; I’ve no idea what it’s actually like to live with and clean seagull poo from, but if you want something similar on a BMW M3 it’ll cost you £1790, and on a Merc SL63 AMG it’s £1255. Yet on the Veloster Turbo it’s a paltry £525. It’s either that, no-cost white, or £445 pearl black. I’d take the matt grey and fuss over it like a doting grandma.

What extra kit do you get in return plumping for a Veloster Turbo?

Fancy paint aside, the Turbo is £21,995, £1495 more than the Sport, and for that extra outlay you get the bodykit, plus an electric driver’s seat, a rear-view camera, an upgraded stereo and a touchscreen sat-nav, on top of the Sport’s leather, cruise control, Bluetooth, heated front seats, parking sensors, five-year warranty and well-built, well-trimmed and attractively angular interior.

And how much faster is a Turbo over a normal Veloster?

The big difference between the Veloster Sport and Veloster Turbo is the addition of… can you guess?… a turbocharger. The twin-scroll unit pushes up the weedy outputs of the 1.6 from 138bhp and 123lb ft to 184bhp and 195lb ft. The 0-62mph time drops by 1.3 seconds, but it feels like more because there’s 59% more torque. And it’s all there from 1500-4500rpm, rather than at the naturally aspirated engine’s 4850rpm peak. There could have been more bhp – and in the USA the Veloster Turbo has 201bhp – but for Europe Hyundai’s engineers have retuned the engine to deliver more low-range overtaking oomph.

It’s not super-quick – and for the same price you can have an equipment-sparse but 63bhp gruntier Ford Focus ST – but it is much faster than a regular Veloster. In the base model you’re constantly pinning the throttle and chasing 6000rpm over and over but not really making any progress; in the Turbo you use a strong slug of torque from 3000 to 5000rpm, upshift before the redline, and it’s a quicker but more relaxed driving experience because of it.

There’s a little hint of the power going through the front wheels in first and second gear, the steering wheel tugging oh-so-gently left and right, but it’s not an unruly torque steerer like a Mini Cooper S. And nor is it as concretely sprung as BMW’s little British baby. The Turbo features stiffer dampers than the normal Veloster, and there’s a hint of firmness, but overall it feels built for British roads – compact, compliant, keen and agile.
The rest of the Turbo feels tight, too. The electric power steering has been tinkered with, and while it’s still light to ease parking, it’s much weightier and more consistent at speed than in the standard Veloster we tested back-to-back. The gearbox is snappy too, and although the Turbo doesn’t have the grip levels of a Vauxhall Astra GTC shod with huge 19in or 20in wheels, that doesn’t mean it’s any less exciting. On the back roads that wind out from CAR HQ you can get into a wonderful flowing rhythm at a fast pace. Great fun.

So, any downsides?

The panoramic roof (a £950 extra, and one of the few options) robs you of 45mm of headroom, and the electric gubbins in the driver’s seat means you sit higher than in the standard Veloster too. Roll the roof blind back and there’s a little extra space, but even the shorter members of the CAR team commented that you perch a little too far from the floor. And if you’re tall and sit in the back, be careful that the glass part of the hatchback boot doesn’t get shut on your head – the warning sticker says Hyundai’s engineers found out the hard way.

And how’s the Veloster Turbo’s practicality?

Don’t dismiss the Veloster because of its weirdly asymmetrical ‘1+2’ door arrangement (one door on the driver’s side, two on the passenger’s). It actually makes logical sense. I initially cursed the lack of access behind the driver’s seat, only to have a Homer Simpson-style ‘D’oh!’ moment, before going around to the other side, the kerb side, and using the rear door to easily get in. Also, Hyundai, unlike Mini with its Clubman, switches the layout for left- and right-hand drive. And if practicality isn’t cool then approach the Veloster from the driver’s side and only the odd number of electric window switches will hint that it’s not a proper two-door coupe.

Verdict:

In short, we love it. It’s a rung above a Suzuki Swift Sport, a rung below proper hot hatches like the VW Golf GTI, but if you get caught up trying to really pigeonhole where it belongs you’ll simply overlook that this is a cracking little performance car. It’s well sorted, well rounded, composed and comfortable like a mini GT, packed with kit, gorgeous to behold, and fast enough to have fun in.

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Hyundai Veloster Turbo (2012) CAR review

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Batty

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Batty says

RE: Hyundai Veloster Turbo (2012) CAR review

@bertandnairobi- I disagree as I find it as equally unresolved as the latest "I'M A VERY INTERESTING CAR!"designs from Citroen. It looks ill proportioned on the road, rather pinched at the rear toward a truncated apex over the driver's head.

@devotee- I met a chap with a Scion and I commented on what a lovely car it was. He says he tried the Veloster at the Hyundai dealer, found it underpowered and was told to wait for the Turbo version. While he waited the couple of months Scion released the FRS and he was smitten. Trying the Turbo afterward did nothing to change his mind.

10 October 2012 02:33

 

bertandnairobi

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bertandnairobi says

RE: Hyundai Veloster Turbo (2012) CAR review

If Citroen had not gone mad with styling cues then their cars could have looked a bit like this. Put another way, this is what Citoen might have had in mind when styling their latest vehicles but somehow failed to translate the idea to reality.  This design is on the edge of being too much, but isn´t. That tension makes it interesting. All the French makers are having problems "getting it right". Why is this happening all at once? Not Renault, Peugeot or Citroen make one single decent-looking car while the Koreans plop out a new and professional product every few months or so. Yet we don´t think of Koreans as style leaders. The answer is they are managing their design better and just hired the right people. The French aren´t hiring the right people and they are not giving them proper instructions or goals to attain.

09 October 2012 14:24

 

Johann

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Johann says

RE: Hyundai Veloster Turbo (2012) CAR review

The first time I saw these a few years ago at a motor show I thought it the ugliest car ever.  But having been in this Turbo version at the Paris show this past weekend I must say it has grown on me.  The Turbo's rear exhausts are a tad on the big and in your face side, but heck, this is supposed to be a fun car.  And that is why I think I've been swayed.  It is fun.  In layout, looks and thankfully it seems also in its driving dynamics.  I'm glad it exists.
 

09 October 2012 13:52

 

pjrebordao

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pjrebordao says

RE: Hyundai Veloster Turbo (2012) CAR review

The  Civic ?

That's sad. Honda has been loosing the plot for many years, but the previous-gen Civic reminded me of brighter times - I almost bought a 1.8 at some point. However this last one was a step back again.

Better to have sat still, instead of producing a bloated version of the earlier car, withou any significant improvement.

The Veloster is truly a fresh and original approach to the segment. It might not bring anything truly new to the market, but then, how many do it ?

I think there's still some prejudice against Hyundai and Kia, and that's unfair as I believe they are in the position that the Japanese were in the early 90's - confident.

I truly hope Honda gets back to form (I had 5 Civics in the past...) but so far, I can't see the light.

 

 

09 October 2012 09:43

 

OldDog

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OldDog says

RE: Hyundai Veloster Turbo (2012) CAR review

The front is OK but the looks a bit tacky, almost like one of those kiddies Transformer toys...Perhaps if you pull the boot lid over the roof it turns back into an i30?

Good value, well built I'm sure but not really at the top table...The quirky asymmetrical door setup doesn't make sense, the Honds Civic does it right with the same setup on both sides, the interior looks too grey and gray, sharp black with a bit of color might have brightened it up.

For £22k I can find better

09 October 2012 07:09

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