Vital Stats

Turbo 1.6L I4
201 HP / 195 LB-FT
6-Speed Manual
Front-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
2,800 LBS
15.5 / 34.7 CU-FT
26 City / 38 HWY
Taking America's Hot Hatch Segment To The Matte

The Hyundai Veloster became one of the most eye-catching cars on the market right out of the gate, but it lacked the oomph to match its unique and sporty styling. Hyundai remedied this situation for the Veloster's sophomore season by adding a little more power courtesy of some forced induction. Enter the 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo.

Boasting a design that looks more like a custom SEMA-bound sport compact rather than a production sub-$30,000 hatchback, the new Veloster Turbo dives head first into the hot hatch segment with plenty of extra power and an even more aggressive design to match.

These changes should be enough to attract the enthusiast crowd, but after spending a week in Hyundai's new pocket rocket, we aim to see how the car stacks up as a daily driver.
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo side view2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo front view2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo rear view

The standard Hyundai Veloster was introduced for the 2012 model year, and immediately gave hatchback buyers something a little more exciting to be seen in compared to a traditional hatchback. Hatchbacks are generally one of the most underappreciated – sometimes loathed – bodystyles in the United States, but the Veloster is a fresh take on the hatchback, sporting funky styling that features an extra door on the passenger side. Taking Hyundai's Fluidic Sculpture design language to a whole new level, the Veloster just has in-your-face styling that is hard to miss.

Even in base form, the Veloster looks like nothing else in its segment, but the Veloster Turbo makes just enough changes to fit its enhanced capabilities without looking like someone went on a J.C. Whitney shopping spree. The styling has been tweaked from every angle to give the Veloster Turbo its own distinct look, and it starts up front with a new fascia showing off a larger grille opening, round fog lights inset in black bezels and a lower chin spoiler. The Veloster's stock halogen headlights have also been swapped with projector beam headlights with LED running lights. Likewise, the rear of the car adds LED taillights, round reflectors that match the front fog lights and, our favorite element, the dual center-mounted round exhaust outlets. Lower side sills and stylish 18-inch wheels with chrome inserts finish off the Turbo-specific design changes.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo headlight2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo wheel2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo taillight2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo rear fascia

The Veloster is, by far, the least expensive car on the market to offer a factory matte finish, and the result is stunning in person.

Exclusive to the Veloster Turbo, our test car also came with the optional $1,000 matte gray paint job. The Veloster is, by far, the least expensive car on the market to offer a factory matte finish, and the result is stunning in person. After taking the Veloster Turbo to a car show, one person even thought it was a matte wrap. Be warned – the Veloster's matte paint job is not meant for everyone. Just as you don't see six-figure cars with matte paint going through $5 car washes, the Veloster Turbo's matte paint requires extra attention and particular care. That said, it isn't too difficult to maintain the car's paint job so long as you know what you're getting into. For this photoshoot, we just sprayed the car down to remove any road dust and dried it with a microfiber towel, but the car comes with a full list of care instructions that includes things like hand-washing only, no waxing, and, obviously, no polishing.

The Veloster's exterior design makes it one of the most unique cars currently on sale, but step inside and those familiar with any current Hyundai products are sure to find themselves right at home. Hyundai's familiar V-shaped instrument panel fits the Veloster's attitude, and the instrument cluster has Turbo-specific gauges trimmed in blue lighting. Our only complaint about the Veloster's cabin is the placement of the start button, which is at the bottom of the center stack in a counterintuitive location.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo interior2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo gauges2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo navigation system2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo start button

There is no shortage of sporty little hatchbacks on the market, so Hyundai made sure that the Veloster's biggest selling point is its clever packaging. The asymmetrical four-door hatchback design allows the interior to maximize passenger space and cargo capacity without affecting the exterior design. The extra door opening on the passenger side is small, but does allow easy access to the rear seat; as opposed to the driver's side of the car, which requires the rear passenger to squeeze in behind the tilt-and-sliding seat just like a typical three-door hatchback.

The Veloster has less interior space (passenger and cargo) than similar vehicles like the Chevrolet Sonic, but instead of trying to cram in five seat belts, the four-passenger seating configuration maximizes rear hip room and makes it possible for four adults to fit in the car without a problem. With 15.5 cubic of cargo behind the rear seat, there is plenty of room for four adults and their gear inside the Veloster, and we also learned that a rear-facing child seat can fit in the back seat with the other side of the 50-50 split rear seat folded down to accommodate a large stroller. Watch the Short Cut video below to see how they fit.

Autoblog Short Cuts: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

All Veloster Turbos come standard with perforated leather seats, heated front seats with "Turbo" stitched into the seat backs, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel that tilts and telescopes, alloy pedals and plush floor mats featuring the Veloster name. One of the unique interior features of the Turbo is the blue accent trim found on the seats, door panel pull handles and the center console uprights, and while this is available as a no-cost option, our car stuck with the more conservative cabin consisting of Graphite Black leather seats with contrasting beige inserts and silver accents on the doors and center console.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo front seats2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo rear seats2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo rear child seat2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo rear cargo area

Hyundai hit the Veloster Turbo out of the park when it came to fuel economy with an EPA estimated 26 mpg city, 38 mpg highway.

Targeting the tech-savvy millennials, the Veloster Turbo includes a decent amount of standard cabin technology ranging from the 450-watt Dimension audio system to Hyundai's Blue Link Telematics system. Our test vehicle had the $2,500 Ultimate Package that includes a navigation system, backup sensors, a 115-volt outlet in the center console and a panoramic sunroof.

Instead of going up on displacement, Hyundai kept the Veloster's 1.6-liter, direct-injected inline four-cylinder in place, but added an 18-psi turbocharger for boost. Up from the base 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque, the Veloster Turbo produces 201 hp and 195 lb.-ft. putting it in the same class as the Honda Civic Si, Mini Cooper S and Volkswagen GTI. There's nothing really special about tossing a peppy engine under the hood of a small hatchback, but Hyundai really hit the Veloster Turbo out of the park when it came to fuel economy with an EPA estimated 26 miles per gallon in the city, 38 mpg on the highway and a combined rating of 30 mpg. This is also while burning regular gas, while the Si, GTI and Mini all require more expensive premium fuel, and it is almost identical to the much smaller and less powerful Fiat 500 Abarth and Chevrolet Sonic RS. Better yet, these are real-world attainable fuel economy estimates. Keep the Turbo out of its 6,000 rpm power band and you will have no problem hitting those EPA figures.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo engine

With as many changes as Hyundai made to the turbo model, the suspension tuning was left alone.

When not focused on fuel economy, the Veloster Turbo is a downright blast to drive, feeling nothing like your average, run-of-the-mill C-segment hatchback. It might not be as nimble as a GTI or as visceral as a Mazda MX-5 Miata, but it is fun and easy to drive at any speed. Speaking of the Miata, the Veloster Turbo only weighs about 400 pounds more than the iconic roadster, but it's about as close as you can get to that kind of fun from a front-wheel-drive car. Looking for better handling? The 2013 Veloster equipped with 18-inch wheels will be available with a summer performance tire upgrade as a $1,200 option. Hyundai says it has also changed the exhaust note, but this might be one of the most inconspicuous changes made to the car.

With as many changes as Hyundai made to the turbo model, the suspension tuning was left alone. The Veloster Turbo did get its own intake tuning, exhaust note, slightly bigger front brake rotors and retuned steering with a tighter ratio to help make it a little sharper in the turns, but overall it handles much the same as the standard Veloster. Our time with the car was spent driving around town, getting a feel for what it would be like having this car as a daily driver, and we were pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the ride is in spite of how low it sits. Acceleration is noticeably quicker with the added boost from the turbo, but while we had the six-speed manual gearbox, we've heard the six-speed automatic is actually more fun in this car. The only grumble we could really muster about driving the Veloster Turbo was the curved rear liftgate glass that creates a distorted view.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo rear 3/4 view

Like all of the sporty subcompacts it competes against, the Veloster Turbo is still reasonably priced. Compared to the standard Veloster $17,450 starting price, the Veloster Turbo bumps up to $22,725 (with destination). The extra money paid for the Turbo over the standard Veloster (more than $5,000) delivers plenty of added equipment that should be well worth the money for those who want the extra performance. Add in this car's Ultimate Package and segment-exclusive matte paint job, and you're looking at an as-tested price of $26,225. Opting for the automatic transmission will run you an extra $1,000 on top of that.

At the end of our time with this attention-grabbing matte gray test car, it was clear that the 2013 Veloster Turbo is the hatchback that Americans have been (or should have been) waiting for. The Veloster Turbo has what it takes to be considered a hot hatch with its plentiful power and practical interior space, and nowhere else can buyers get the kind of styling that the Veloster Turbo offers in this affordable price range. And not that buyers will buy this car for its efficiency, but there's no other performance-oriented small car that can touch the Veloster Turbo's fuel economy.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      The matte paint accentuates the excessive styling creases. The profile is especially unfit for the matte finish as it makes the car look slab-sided. I'd take a normal colour any day.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Great on paper, but overstyled IMO.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Actually, perhaps it won't be as bad in white, as it tends to blank out a lot of the lines and simplify the look of some cars.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I love Autoblog! But......may I file a complaint against a large percentage of recent Short Cuts videos? I think they could cover some more interesting aspects of the vehicles. Even though I do respect reporting on the unbeaten path.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Needs more driving impressions on accel/braking performance ride/handling, cabin quality/noise, etc. Even some comparisons with competitors.
        • 2 Years Ago
        My wife bought one the first week they shipped, so we've had it for a little over a month, now. Acceleration is good---torque steer is minimal. It feels about the same as my old GTI (2007). The steering feel is shockingly good. Again, about the same as the GTI. The gearbox is nice and tight, but the reverse lever does bug me a bit. The clutch has a significantly better feel than the GTI. It's a quick, sharp engagement rather than the GTI's long and slow engagement. On a typical driving surface, the suspension feels balanced and not terribly jittery. However, there is a problem with uneven pavement. It seems like a bad combination of a poorly designed torsion beam, springs with not enough spring rate, and shocks that just weren't suited to the vehicle. It will bounce around a good bit and will clunk in an unnerving way. It's not awful by any means, but it isn't as good as it could be. The gas mileage is the tradeoff for the suspension. So if you don't care about the mileage, get a GTI. But if you want a sporty hatch with a great driving feel and incredible fuel economy, it's a good buy. My wife loves it.
          • 2 Years Ago
          Reid- What is your real-life mileage?
      • 2 Years Ago
      Since the suspension is the SAME on the Turbo, I guess these reviews still hold true. OUCH, go read watch this AUTOWEEK comparison of the CR-Z to the Veloster. From the video. Ouch, poor Hyundai. Veloster -It really needs to be revved up before you feel something -It's an old engine -six speed is less precise than the Honda -the seats don't feel solid enough -feels as if the steering rod is broken. Far too light -Do you know that long curve with bumps near Rotterdam? If you take that with the Veloster, it will jump all over. -rear supsension is far too soft Motortrend The Hyundai's fourth-place finish is due entirely to its failure to deliver. The bulging fenders, fast roof, and rubber band tires promise a sporty ride, but it isn't there. Instead, the Veloster rides harder than you'd expect with no discernable payback in handling. It's not eager to turn in, and when it does, it feels like the front end is all rubber. The car pitches and bounces and can't hold an arc through a turn. Add to that a lethargic engine and you've got the recipe for basic transportation, not a sports car. Despite having the third-highest horsepower rating, the Veloster was achingly slow in nearly all circumstances. The engine is slow to rev and then you're disappointed because there's not much more power up there. Top-gear acceleration is nonexistent, so you'll be working the shifter quite a bit, and the square knob will give you bad visions of 1980s Mustangs. The real letdown, though, was the fuel economy, as the Veloster was the only car in the test whose observed fuel economy was lower than its EPA city rating. Alas, the cool factor wears off when you lose a stoplight drag race to a Camry.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Someone is either trolling, or has worse reading comprehension than my mildly retarded cat. You pasted paragraphs relating to how the engine isn't as powerful as the styling suggests, but then fail to realize that we are talking about the Veloster Turbo, which delivers peak torque well under 2K rpm and has a huge increase in horsepower while only costing 2mpg and staying on 87 octane fuel. Feeling stupid?
      • 2 Years Ago
      I swear if this thing was only offered in Europe every negative comment about it's looks and performance, would be converted to bit*ching and moaning about... "Why can't we get this over here" " If this was available, I'd get it in a heart beat" "Why does all the good stuff stay in Europe" Being an enthusiast, I have to say most enthusiasts make me sick with their " want my cake and eat it too" commenting. A year ago, it was "All the Veloster needs is a 200hp+ turbo & a manual and it would be perfect." Now that's here, it has the turbo, a manual, it's a hatch and comes with a paint job that you can only get if you pretty much spend 6 six, the bit*ching is compounded. The same thing would have if Kia brought the Pro'ceed over, we want it and want it until it arrived, then it's perpetually that time of month. You asshats make me sick!
        • 2 Years Ago
        Hah, I was one of the ones saying that the Veloster needed the boost in power, a good MT, *AND* upgraded suspension. It got the power boost, but the shift feel of the MT appears to be lacklustre (according to reports) and the suspension didn't get any significant tweaks, if any.
        • 2 Years Ago
        I don't know, in addition to the initial Veloster's offered powertrain, I distinctly remember dismissive comments about its steering feel and suspension. The reason people want the european hot hatches is because they package power, practicality, and driving dynamics in a unique balance that appeals to certain sensibilities. The Veloster has never had the driving dynamics or steering feel to make it sound like someone I'd choose over better alternatives in that pricing range (low-to-mid-$20K).
      • 2 Years Ago
      LBJ's Love Child
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ugliest. Car. Ever. Ever.
      • 2 Years Ago
      That is one ugly car.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Holy crappola, that lead image really shows the Hyundai at its most tacky. Dreadful looking car.
      • 2 Years Ago
      At least I know what happens now when you chop the top and lower the suspension on an Aztek!!!!
      • 2 Years Ago
      Awful review. This is marketed as an enthusiast car yet there's virtually no discussion of actually driving it.
        • 2 Years Ago
        They mentioned that it's a blast to drive. Have you read Autoblog reviews in the past? I actually consider this detailed! Hysterical that Consumer Reports has more to say about acceleration/braking/handling/ride/steering than this place.
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