Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hyundai Veloster Turbo = More Muscle

Menacing face
The Hyundai Veloster is a quirky car (but I like it). I originally sampled a bright yellow one last February and it mixed practical hatchback virtues with reasonable economy and a bit of sportiness.

Now, I'm finishing up a test of the much-awaited Turbo version. While the original car had a 138-horsepower 1.6-liter four, this one, thanks to the air spooling technology, delivers 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque from the same displacement. It still manages to rate 30 miles per gallon average (26 city, 38 Highway); I'm averaging 24.7 mpg so far, including a lot of stop-and-go commute driving. The non-turbo model had EPA average rating of 32 mpg and I added up 30.

While my last Veloster was sunny, this one, in Ultra Black, seems more menacing, especially with its huge mouth in front and long stretches of headlamp above. The detailing really does set the car apart, thougth, including the complex architecture of both head and taillamps (really cool at night) and the twin exhausts close to the middle below the rear bumper.

Exciting, edgy, angular
Inside, the same exciting, edgy, angular interior is carried over to the turbo. All the different lines, shapes and textures make it feel like you're having fun, even when sitting in traffic (which is where you get a chance to study them and ruminate on what the designers were thinking). You sit low, sports car style, and the six-speed manual transmission offers a greater feeling of control. I had to be careful to pull left for first gear because it was easy to select third by mistake, but otherwise the trip through the gears was a treat and the shift knob feels comfortable in your hand.

The seven-inch multi-media touch screen greets you with an ascending tune and a glamour shot of the car each time you turn on the ignition. The Dimension Premium audio system works easily and sounds fine, although I wish the USB port was located in a hidden spot, such as the console or glovebox. I had to keep plugging and unplugging my iPod when I parked. The touch screen is simple to use on the go, although, like many cars, the shuffle feature for your iPod has to be reset each time you turn it on. 

The turbo adds a lot of power, but the car doesn't feel especially fast. Mainly tested in zooming away from metered freeway entrances, I was not pushed back into my handsome leather seat terribly hard, but the car did go where I pointed it easily. The turbo in the VW and Audi vehicles, with the same horsepower, feels stronger, although that car's engine is 2.0. Is it a torque issue?

Left side -- one large door
Hyundai must be applauded for introducing a car that's fun and is not simply a coupe version of their compact vehicle. Actually, they have a wide range of cars to choose from, and this is neither a subcompact Accent (sedan or hatchback) nor an Elantra (sedan, hatchback, coupe). It's something else--made most clear by it's amazing doors. There are two full-size doors on the right, as on a sedan, and one larger door on the left--like that on a coupe. The pillar is in a different place on each side. Asymmetry is not a common feature in cars, but this one definitely has it. You can's see both sides at the same time so it's easy to not notice this unique feature.

Right side -- two smaller doors

The standard Veloster I tested in February had a base price of $17,300 and came to $22,000. This one, with the "Ultimate Package" (panoramic sunroof, rearview camera and a few other things) plus Michelin Pilot sport tires ($1,200), base-priced at $21,950 and added up to $26,520.

I'm going to miss this car when it goes--it does what I need it to do and it's fun to walk up to it in the parking lot and get in and zoom away.


Carry Demaggio said...

I've read details and reviews about this car last year, and it fascinates me. I was trying to get a quote on this model, and was shock to know that the price was way over from what I expected. But this car has it all! Style, power, and dynamics – that is worth every penny!

Erwin Calverly said...

There are lots of car reviews that I have already read, but I can see that this Hyundai Veloster is a recipient of such wonderful comments. I think its features are so splendid that you wouldn’t mind its price tag. When you get the best and you’re satisfied with the car that you have, you’ll never regret spending much for it. :)