The Hyundai Veloster Turbo was released way back in 2012, and before the i30N’s release, was Hyundai’s best performance model. It replaced the Tiburon, and featured an asymmetrical door configuration, with one large door on the driver’s side and two smaller doors on the passenger side. The second generation of the car was recently released and maintains the same door configuration.
It comes in three different versions including the entry level naturally aspirated Veloster, Veloster Turbo and Veloster Turbo Premium. The car on test is the six-speed manual Veloster Turbo, costing $35,490. It’s a good opportunity to see how the car compares to the previously tested Hyundai i30N hot hatch.
This Turbo model features black cloth and leather trim seats with red stitching, with the front seats being manually adjustable. The sports steering wheel is also manually adjustable and has a strip of red at the bottom of it, as does the gear-knob. A nice touch to the interior is a chequered flag decal on the front passenger side dashboard. There’s an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, featuring the satellite navigation system, climate control, and digital radio and phone settings. The centre console has a handy 12V socket, as well as USB and AUX ports. Boot space is less than the i30N hatch, containing 303 Litres compared to 381 Litres, and there’s a spacesaver tyre in the boot. Although the rear window is quite small, overall I found it a relatively easy car to see out of. When sitting in the back seats, head room is restricted, but there’s relatively good legroom considering how small the car is. Rear seat occupants also get two drink holders and a small storage area.
There’s a good range of colour choices for the new Veloster Turbo and this example is finished in a dark grey called ‘Dark Knight metallic’. I think that it suits the car, and paired with the gloss 18-inch gloss black Turbo alloy wheels, the Veloster Turbo is understated yet purposeful. It’s interesting to see the asymmetrical door configuration up close. The driver’s side features a long single door giving the car the look of a coupe however on the passenger side there are two smaller doors. Having one door on the driver’s side makes it easier for the driver to get in and out of the car, and because the B pillar is further back on this side, makes head-checks much easier. The downside however is that the driver’s door is quite heavy. There are two doors on the passenger side as it’s generally the side closest to the kerb and is safer for passengers to get in and out. The door handle for the rear passenger door is set within the window frame. The 18-inch alloys are fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 rubber; 225/40/18 profile on all four corners. At the front, there are 305mm diameter vented disc brakes, while at the rear there are 262mm solid disc brakes. Some nice touches on the car are the rear diffuser with centred dual exhausts and how the rear spoiler has an integrated stop light. There’s also some small functional side vents in the front bumper and a red strip at the bottom of the front diffuser. The small ‘Turbo’ badges on the side skirts also hint at the car’s performance.
Standard equipment on the Veloster Turbo includes an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, eight-speaker Infinity sound system, satellite navigation, single-zone climate control, front sports seats, digital performance gauges, digital radio, proximity entry, LED headlights and 18-inch alloys with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres.
Hyundai’s SmartSense safety tech is standard across the range, featuring six airbags and forward collision avoidance assist, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist and driver attention warning systems). Hyundai’s five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty applies to the Veloster Turbo.
In the Veloster Turbo, the driver can adjust between normal or sport drive modes, by pressing the small ‘SPORT’ button to the right of the gear lever. The traction and stability control button is located under this button. There are four pages to toggle through on the instrument display. The first page displays the vehicle’s drive information, a digital speedo and fuel economy. Page two displays a compass, while page three displays a tyre pressure monitor, lane keeping assist and driver attention warnings. Page four displays all the user settings including, door, light and sound settings. The infotainment screen has a performance gauge featuring a longitudinal and lateral g-force meter (up to 1g), turbo readout (up to 20 psi) and torque readout (up to 300Nm).
Driving Impressions and performance
The Veloster Turbo uses the same platform as the Hyundai i30 and like the first generation car, has a 1.6 Litre turbocharged in-line four cylinder engine producing 150kW of power and 265Nm of torque (275Nm on overboost), with drive sent to the front wheels. The engine’s fired by pushing a starter button to the left of the steering wheel. You sit quite low in the Veloster Turbo, and an ideal driving position can be found.
The engine is quiet compared to the i30N, however just after starting the engine it takes a few moments to settle at a constant idle speed. Under hard acceleration, the car can scrabble for grip with some torque steer present. Although there are only two drive modes available, there’s a noticeable improvement in engine power in sport mode. The exhaust note is slightly louder, but not on the same level as switching from Eco to N mode in the i30N.
The short ratio six speed manual is well matched to the engine, however I found that the armrest intruded on the driving experience, particularly when going back to fourth or second gear. The clutch pedal is very light and knowing where the bite point is takes some time, making for some interesting heel and toe shifting. Like the i30N, the in-gear acceleration of the Veloster Turbo is a highlight, and it’s satisfying to drop back a gear and ride on the wave of torque throughout the rev range. There’s a little bit of turbo lag, but boost picks up from as low as 2,500rpm. The official 0-100km/h acceleration time for the Turbo is 7.7 seconds; however the in-gear performance of this car is much more impressive. It feels similar to the i30N in this respect, but with a little less firepower.
The new Veloster Turbo has been given a change in rear suspension from torsion beam to multi-link, with the intention to boost stability at high speed and under cornering, with the suspension receiving Australian tuning. Although the steering feel is very responsive, the car did show some weaknesses on the well surfaced Gembrook-Launching Place Road. Coming out of slower second gear corners on wide open throttle, the car definitely struggles to put its power to the ground, even with traction and stability control on and in sport mode. You can accept this with a much higher powered car, but with only modest power and torque, the Turbo isn’t as effective at putting its power to the ground through its drivetrain as the significantly more powerful i30N. The car has torque vectoring, so it’s a surprise that it isn’t more effective at putting its power down. Torque steer is also noticeable, particularly over rougher road surfaces.
With the big 18-inch alloys, the brakes look small on the car but the 305mm diameter vented front disc brakes and 262mm solid rear disc brakes have no problems pulling up the 1320kg car. Although there’s no Auto Hold button, it’s handy that the car performs this function automatically on steep hills.
The Veloster Turbo’s main competitor is the more expensive and more powerful Volkswagen Golf GTI. I was left with mixed feelings after driving the Veloster Turbo. It’s a good looking, quirky car and the asymmetrical door configuration makes it unique. It’s also packed with technology and a range of safety systems. It has great in-gear acceleration, and the manual gearbox works well with the turbocharged engine. It achieves combined fuel economy figures of 7.3L/100km. However, it does reveal some shortcomings through the drivetrain when pushed hard, and is more of a warm hatch than a hot hatch.
For those wanting a hot hatch, the i30N really delivers in this respect and I’d personally spend a few thousand dollars extra to buy one over the Veloster Turbo. It’s a much sharper performance car and is also more practical, with a larger boot. The Veloster Turbo certainly has some good points and is an ideal daily driver, but isn’t as surefooted as the i30N when nearing its limits.
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