Strengths and weaknesses:
- improved power
- interior comfort
- racy looks
- power delivery
- skinny tires
Veloster boosters: the wait is over
"To maximize performance and improve durability, says the company, the exhaust manifold and turbocharger housing are cast as complete unit."
MOSPORT - Ever since Hyundai revealed the Veloster, people have been awaiting the Veloster Turbo. The wait is over … now what do you think?
The Veloster concept was unveiled at the 2007 Seoul Motor Show and got people thinking about the practicality of a sporty coupe/hatchback in Hyundai’s line-up, since Honda was working on a CR-Z at the same time.
Many drivers, especially younger ones, were attracted to the bodystyle but many ignored the cars’ intentions – an affordable, sporty personal car whose primary goal was not to “go fast.”
When production Velosters came out for the 2011 model year, people were disappointed with the performance numbers. At its annual Car of the Year testing, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) managed just 9.7 seconds from zero to 100 km/h. Again, the cries of “wait until the Turbo gets here” went up.
The Veloster Turbo bolts a twin scroll turbocharger onto the Veloster’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder direct-injected variable-valve-timed engine. In a play to maximize performance and improve durability, says the company, the exhaust manifold and turbocharger housing are cast as complete unit. That also reduces weight and cost, says Hyundai.
It makes 201 hp and 195 lb.-ft. of torque (a significant increase from the normally aspirated engine’s 138 and 123, respectively). It can be paired to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic with sequential shifts enacted through steering wheel paddles.
On the launch vehicles, the biggest drawbacks we find to speedy getaways is the combination of the gap between first and second gears and skinny tires that spin away far too much traction once you get the revs up. Peak torque is available from 1,750 rpm, which is a long way removed from the regular engine’s 4,850, and though that does grant quite a bit of pull early on, turbo lag is far more noticeable than we expect it to be.
The best I’m able to muster (hand-timed) on repeated launch runs over a couple surfaces (including pretty fresh black-top) is an 8.7 with a slight rolling start. Given my bulk and abilities compared to others at the launch, that might come down a second or so, but it would still fall short of rivals such as the Civic Si.
However, there are issues of interior and cargo space to be considered in this vehicle compared to its rivals, and fuel economy as well.
Braking is about even with its rivals (and improved over the regular Veloster thanks to rotors about an inch larger), and though handling is noticeably improved (thanks to revised steering), it is still at the mercy of those skinny tires, so even a performance slalom on the Driver Development skid-pad didn’t shine too flattering a light on the Veloster Turbo’s capabilities. The Driver Development track was reserved for the new Genesis Coupes and the big track was being used by the ALMS guys practicing for their race weekend, so cone-avoidance was the extent of our handling experience.
Visually the Turbo Veloster differs from is more sedate sibling with the addition of a new hexagonal grille, projector headlamps with LED accents, sculpted side skirts, 18-inch alloy wheels with wind-vane-like chrome inserts, and rear diffuser with twin centre-mounted exhaust tips.
Inside, there are unique two-tone leather seats (heated with “Turbo” stitching up front), a new electro-luminescent gauge cluster and darker trim. The Veloster Turbo builds on the Veloster with Tech Package, with standard features such as a seven-inch touchscreen navigation system with back-up camera, 450-watt Dimension premium audio system with eight speakers, Bluetooth, proximity keyless entry with push-button ignition, leather-wrapped steering wheel and alloy pedals, among others.
Given the short time we spend with Veloster Turbo on public roads and the skid pad, it’s safe to say the new car is an improvement on its more sedate sibling, but it’s probably still far removed from what fans are expecting.
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
Notable options: Matte Grey exterior paint; automatic transmission.
Configuration: front engine/ front-wheel drive
Available engines: 1.6L turbo 4-cyl. (201 hp/ 195 lb.-ft.)
Available transmissions: 6-spd. manual; 6-spd. auto with sequential shift
Fuel (capacity): Premium (50L)
Fuel economy ratings: 7.5 L/100km city; 5.2 L/100km hwy
Warranties: 5 years/ 100,000 km (comprehensive)
Competitors: Fiat 500 Abarth; Honda Civic Si; Volkswagen Golf GTI.