Much of my time spent with the Veloster Turbo was under gray skies dumping inches of snow.

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Our 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo spent the most days in March (and many in February) with me, so I'll be handling its long-term update report this month. The time of year is important to note, as much of my time spent with the Veloster Turbo was under gray skies dumping inches of snow on Northeast Ohio. So not only were the roads prohibiting much fun from being had behind the wheel, but the constant freeze-thaw cycle of this area left the roads a mine field of uneven pavement, cracked concrete and pot holes.

First, let's talk about the Veloster Turbo's engine. The turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder puts down 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque... on paper. In the cold climes of Clevelandia, however, it often seemed like the engine was down on power, at least until it ran long enough to have toasty warm internals. As I work from home, however, many of my trips with the Veloster Turbo were short jaunts, errands and drive-bys that didn't afford the engine much warm-up time. As such, I felt like I never experienced the engine's full reserve of power, and am eager to see if my colleagues note the warmer weather alters this experience for the better.
I will also note that while I've seen a surprising number of non-Turbo Velosters on the road in my area, suggesting the car is finding an audience with at least some buyers looking for alternative styles of transport, I've yet to see another Veloster Turbo model, let alone one wearing the optional matte paint treatment like ours.

A simple rain, heavy dew or day of melting snow would leave the finish looking like it came through Nature's car wash.

Speaking of the matte finish, it was my experience that, contrary to my expectations, it was very easy to keep clean during the winter months. Always parked outside, the Veloster Turbo did attract salt to its surfaces like a magnet, but a simple rain, heavy dew or day of melting snow would leave the finish looking like it came through nature's car wash. I now expect the summer months will reveal the matte finish's true care requirements, as bird poop will need to be cleaned off right away using a special cleaner and rag, lest the sun bake avian excrement into that unshiny finish. So far, though, the matte paint is holding up well.

I also was able to try out the Veloster's other unique feature: its back seat, accessed through a single passenger-side-only mini door. After having stuffed some in-laws back there for a quick ride out to dinner, their report back was that the space provided more leg room than was needed, but not enough headroom. Indeed, those over about 5'10" come dangerously close to banging their heads on the hatch's glass window over bumps.



While passenger space in the rear might be compromised some, I did discover that the maximum 34.7-cubic-feet of cargo space is plentiful, as would be expected with a hatchback. The shape of the rear cargo area is a bit unconventional, but it's still deeper and taller than it looks from the outside and had no trouble swallowing a large computer monitor standing up.

As my time with the Veloster Turbo drew to a close, I regret to say I wasn't sad to see it go. While its design makes you love it or hate it at first glance, the exterior at least offers the promise of an exciting ride to be had once you get in. What I found, however, was a lot more bark than bite, a hatchback brandishing a 'Turbo' badge, aggressive looks and enough power on paper that got my hopes for a hot hatch experience up just enough to be disappointed. Don't get me wrong, a more powerful engine is not what this car needs, but rather a supporting cast of components – transmission, suspension and steering – that balances the bark/bite equation a little better.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 90 Comments
      vfxRT11
      • 1 Year Ago
      I can't imagine it would take more than a couple miles for the cats to heat up, so I'm not really seeing how the writer wasn't hitting peak output, especially with nice dense cold air. Maybe the factory tune is overly conservative and is adding too much fuel below a certain engine temp.
        Justin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @vfxRT11
        The oil has to reach full operating temperature before the computer will allow full boost. That can take a surprisingly long time in the winter. Unless you have a long commute or lots of traffic it probably won\'t get there on most single trips.
      Bryan Pizzuti
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why on earth would someone who only drives "short jaunts" be handed a car for a long term evaluation? And why wouldn't the author make more of an effort to drive it more exensively?
      Greg Cocchiaro
      • 1 Year Ago
      What are you getting for avg fuel economy? Its supposed to return like, 38, on the highway right? I'm sure you couldn't have been driving it too hard in the winter months so the MPG must have been okay... My 06 Mazda6 returns like... 18
        axiomatik
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Greg Cocchiaro
        38mpg is for the non-turbo version. It looks like the turbo is rated at 35mpg hwy.
      ctam4
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well, I just test drove the V. Turbo and looked at other cars. Really LOVE the Velosters look but now reading all of your comments I am back to thinking what I should do. I love the sporty look but don't want to make a mistake. The Mazda and others just look boring. I don't need speed, just a little boost.
        askroon
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ctam4
        Well, I have a Veloster, and I don't think it's a mistake for you to buy one. I got mine in January 2012 and have had no issues with it. It actually handles really well and has little body roll and a great chassis. The manual transmission Veloster is fast enough if you shift down; don't know about the auto, I've never driven one. Only thing is, the stock Kumho Solus tires are not good. Check out my review of my car: http://laveloster.com/2012/10/18/veloster-7500-mile-review/ It's a really fun car that everyone will be staring at, loaded with features, well put together and high quality. It isn't a sports car. And it gets around 32 - 34 MPG average on a mix of highway and street driving. Hope this helps you.
          ctam4
          • 1 Year Ago
          @askroon
          Thanks for the info. It does help to hear from someone who actually owns one. I love the look, the test drive was fine for me. Going to test drive it again on MOnday. I'll check out your review. Thanks!
      ctam4
      • 1 Year Ago
      Do you think the back seat passengers heads near the back window is dangerous?
      axiomatik
      • 1 Year Ago
      I actually saw one of these matte gray Velosters the other day in an Ikea parking garage. The look does catch the eye. I am not sure if it delivers the performance that the styling suggests.
      Dean Hammond
      • 1 Year Ago
      love it...once again, in typical Hyundai fashion,,,the figures are GREAT..........................................on paper...............
        David
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dean Hammond
        What do you drive?
        Dean Hammond
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dean Hammond
        173hp, 470lbs Italian, Belgian engine...most of the time....couple of fiestas otherwise....point?....my opoint is Hyundai regularly leapfrogs the competiotion with published Manufacturer numbers in Horsepower and Mileage...and its regularly commented on that they dont return on whats expected....in this case 201 hp?....perhaps its a gearing issue...perhaps....
          chanonissan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          It is true what yo are saying.Hyundai have beautiful cars and that is just that, there are numerous test the of this car that state it felt and move under powered for a 201 hp car, and the efficiency is off.
          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          fat finger typing rears its head again, along with the request for an edit button...arrg, apologies...
          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          shame in a way, because I admire they had the Cajones to design a car as \"different\" as the Veloster. Love it or loathe it, it definitely stands out as \"different\" unlike some others GENERIC offerings...
      Radioactive Flea
      • 1 Year Ago
      Turbos make more power in colder air. Where do they get these writers?
        Echelon Bob
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Radioactive Flea
        Exactly what I was thinking...
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Radioactive Flea
        God damn. There's a difference between cold air and having an engine that has warmed up. Even YOU can understand that... right?
      Jon Willett
      • 1 Year Ago
      I own a Veloster Turbo. The lack of power in the cold is by design. The power output is limited until the engine temp reaches three bars or so. Also, for those test driving or cruising in a new VT, the throttle is limited to 50% until the car reaches ~1000 miles on the odometer.
        Dean Hammond
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jon Willett
        interesting, did not know that, but also based on the performance figures posted in several tests, the 201hp is still not as advertised....
          Jon Willett
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          A lot of reviews I have read were done on a brand new car, which has it's power output restricted. Dyno tests show about 175 whp for a manual and ~160-165 for an automatic if I remember correctly. The only thing I can say to people and hopefully any reviewers is to play with the car after its warm and after it's fully broken in. You will notice a difference. I have 6.5k miles on mine and IMO the power output is right where I would expect from a 201 rated engine.
          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          great, now there will be two dis-claimers on window stickers...your mileage AND horsepower may vary....
          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          Jon, modern cars are designed REGARDLESS of Ambient temperatures to operate ( give or take ) at a constant optimal temperature which is thermostatically ( more recently ECM ) controlled, so Im not with you...if the Hyundai doesnt do that then theres a HUGE design fault....which I doubt...
          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          thankyou for the honest responses Jon.....strange little idiosyncracies on these Velosters....and nice to hear from an ACTUAL owner...
          Gorgenapper
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          16:1 AFR until 3500 - 4000 rpm? Sounds like a recipe for detonation. They must have done it to game the EPA ratings....
      Lewis deSoto
      • 1 Year Ago
      This so called long term test has been a snooze because the author doesn't really seem to be using the car. What is the point? In my test drives of the vehicle, it felt extremely lively, particularly in the mid range and like a lot of turbo cars, highway acceleration, shooting out of turns seems to be its strong suit, not driving short jaunts slowly and never warming up the car. Please give it to someone else who will actually use it.
      disngaj
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't think I've read one single review of a Hyundai vehicle - with the possible exception of the Genesis sedan - that doesn't show that the company isn't trying to add lots of features while shortcutting on true substance. In every category, their cars are mediocre in a number of areas. It can't be accidental, or an oversight; it must come "from the top."
        untitledfolder
        • 1 Year Ago
        @disngaj
        I think it has something to do with Korean culture. Samsung does this too, by trying to shoehorn as many bleeding edge features into their phones, even if they're not well polished or supported past launch.
        sp33dklz
        • 1 Year Ago
        @disngaj
        The majority of people don\'t buy quality, but prefer bang-for-the-buck. McDonalds, Starbucks, Facebook, Sony, EA, Progressive Insurance... the list goes on forever. Hyundai is simply following the recipe that got them to where they are. Being different, and offering lots of content for very little money.
      FIDTRO
      • 1 Year Ago
      Oh god, the only thing worse than owning a Crapdai Velosturd is telling people you've got a matte paint job..
        ajk724
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FIDTRO
        I see what you did there. You, my friend, are a pure comedic genius.
        • 6 Months Ago
        @FIDTRO
        Are you people so insecure with your worthless crap cars that you feel the need to put down others? You know that the only reason you do is because you feel like your car is a worthless pile of ****. Just like when kids make fun of other kids, they do it out of insecurity. I'd love to see the pile of crap you drive around in - probably your mommies Caravan.
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