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.