There are an awful lot of good reasons to get into the Hyundai Veloster family and formula. This car looks good, is loaded out with tech and offers a great deal of practicality in a small form factor. One good reason not to consider a Veloster, at least if you're a city dweller or have primarily urban daily driving path, is the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine in the eponymous Veloster Turbo.

Two major factors kill the Veloster Turbo in terms of said city driving: turbo lag and fuel economy.

Two major factors kill the Veloster Turbo in terms of city driving: turbo lag and fuel economy.

I had our long-term Turbo for all of June and the first week of July, during which time I primarily used the car as a runabout in Ann Arbor, MI. With the exception of a few 40-ish-mile jaunts into Metro Detroit, I drove the Hyundai roughly five to ten miles at a time, with speeds that I'm sure averaged 30 miles per hour or less. This kind of driving isn't a good recipe for high mile-per-gallon numbers, to be sure, and I netted out at about 21.6 mpg – a decent bit lower than the EPA estimate of 24 mpg in the city.

Meanwhile, I wasn't having a riveting time whilst burning that gas (at least you don't have to run premium). If you've been following the saga of this long-term car to date, you've read a lot about how the Turbo doesn't feel especially hot-hatchy. There are plenty of reasons for this, but I think much of it comes down to a laggy turbo. Getting into the heart of the boost takes a really heavy foot and a low gear when initially accelerating. Worse, the rush from the turbo boost doesn't feel especially strong once it does come on. (I don't actually mind a bit of turbo lag, if the payout at the end is a crazy accelerative moment; see Mazdaspeed3, Mini Cooper S, etc.)

In other words: If the Veloster Turbo felt really fast, even sometimes, I'd forgive the fuel economy. As it stands, I'm quite sure the trade-off versus the standard, slow, nice handling non-turbo Veloster, at least for city drivers, is a bad one to make. That's not even taking sticker price into account...

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

In better news, the $1,000-option Matte Gray paint withstood a major test a few weeks ago. I was westbound on M-14 when the car ahead of me ran over a newly shed tire tread and rocketed it backwards, directly at the nose of the Veloster. There was a mighty "whump!" and "thwack!" as the offending gator smacked the hood and bounced up to the windshield, leaving a trail of rubber-burn as it went. Considering this paint finish isn't even allowed to go through a carwash for fear of paint damage, I was less than pleased at the prospects of keeping the Veloster out of the body shop.

As it turns out, the paint (and bodywork) was just dandy. I used the much-discussed Dr. Beasley's car-care kit and a soft wash mitt both to remove the rubber residue and give the Veloster a much-needed bath. All cleaned up, I was sort of surprised to see that the tire tread hadn't even left any fine scratches, although there is still a very faint, whitish rub mark on the plastic 'vent' on the hood. The washing process wasn't all that bad, either. It's been a while since I've hand-washed a car (I'll cop to being more of an automatic wash guy when I can get away with it), but my fairly thorough cleaning only took about 45 minutes. The results weren't detail-shop worthy, but the car looks as good or better than it did when I took possession of it.

I was pretty surprised to find out that the Veloster seems to have a real "community" out there in the wide world.

One more quick note: I was surprised to find out that the Veloster seems to have a real "community" out there in the wide world. A couple of my fellow editors have mentioned that the car was positively received where it's been driven. To back that up, I noticed that just about every time I drove by or next to another Veloster on the road, that car's owner waved or handed out a thumbs-up.

I love this; It happens with Mini Coopers, Miatas and other high-personality, high-owner-loyalty cars that I've driven, so it's fascinating to see a similar camaraderie growing up around this three-door (four-door?) Hyundai. It'll be more interesting still to see if the fellowship sticks over time. Oh, and it's worth noting that not a one of the Veloster Buddies that I encountered were themselves driving a Turbo-trim car. Methinks the lukewarm-hatch market is still a little soft around these parts, or else Veloster drivers just tend towards rational decision making.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 99 Comments
      Lightning
      • 1 Year Ago
      This car has terrible outward visibility and very awkward positioning of the arm rests, controls, etc. (EG it has a poorly designed cockpit) I hated the time I spent in it when I tried it out. Hyundai makes a nice infotainment system, at least.
      Farmerboy
      • 1 Year Ago
      To be so hated it sure is a good seller for Hyundai. I like it myself but at 6'4 its too small for me.
        Walter Heisenberg Wh
        @Farmerboy
        Hated by idiots who don't even have the means to afford something like this, let alone a new car in general. Most of these "auto enthusiast" can't let go of old status quo's and outdated conventions.
      jrmosery86
      • 1 Year Ago
      I had one, a 2012 Veloster with navigation and the dual clutch. I got rid of it because of the horrible city mileage (I would get about 22 MPG in mostly city driving) and the problems I had with the dual clutch. They had to keep it in the shop for 2 weeks while they fixed it. The air conditioning also didn't work properly. It would blow hot as soon as the car stopped, the dealer said nothing was wrong. I also had a lot of quality issues, the back seat stitching came apart, the silver bits inside wore and scratched very easily. The car also had a lot of electrical gremlins, such as the sunroof not opening on one occasion and the map lights coming on by themselves. I got an early model so chances are these issues could just be from it being a first year model. From what I've seen, most of the issues are with the dual clutch cars. I got rid of it after less than a year.
        Teleny411
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jrmosery86
        But every one acts like dual clutch turbo is the second coming....
      ctsmith1066
      • 1 Year Ago
      The car *is* kind of an odd fit. It's body style and aesthetics are clearly aimed at urban drivers, but it sounds like the motor is just about the worst kind you could have for city driving. I know this is anathema for many autoblog readers, but this would probably do well as a hybrid, especially a sportier setup.
        A_Guy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ctsmith1066
        Totally agree. Hell, I bought a CR-Z for this exact reason.
        Scooter
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ctsmith1066
        Your absolutely right, I would prefer this to be a neat, cool hybrid rather than a bad hot hatch. Maybe introduce a Genesis coupe 5 door or something but this really doesn't match up with the hot hatch segment.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Scooter
          [blocked]
          zoomy
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Scooter
          Raz, The Pontiac Aztec stands out too.
          Alfonso T. Alvarez
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Scooter
          @ Raz - you're right, the Veloster stands out when it comes to looks, but not in the way you think!! Overwhelmingly, it is denigrated and laughed at whenever anyone sees one. Someone at work bought one (a self professed 'hipster') and there is NO ONE who has told him that it is a sharp looking car. Most people snicker when they see it and feel sorry for him - there are just so many other vehicles that are superior in every way, shape and form, that's just the facts, and the (lack of) sales back that up!
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Scooter
          [blocked]
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Lukewarm hatch is the right term for this car.
      Teleny411
      • 1 Year Ago
      I like this car-well not the Turbo. I hate turbo lag and just one more part to break. i do like the questionable styling, but wish the NA had a bit more oomph. Considering where Hyundai was in the market ten years ago the improvement is amazing.
      zoomy
      • 1 Year Ago
      By Seyth Miersma..."There are an awful lot of good reasons to get into the Hyundai Veloster family and formula. This car looks good..." And that's when I stopped reading. I'm sorry, I can't think of a single vehicle uglier than this, especially in primer gray.
      artandcolour2010
      • 1 Year Ago
      PLEASE let this matte finish fad go away soon. It looks as bad on a Hyundai as it does on a Lamborghini.
        A_Guy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @artandcolour2010
        Any reason you'd want to wish away something others like rather than just not buy it for yourself?
        • 1 Year Ago
        @artandcolour2010
        [blocked]
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Scooter
        • 1 Year Ago
        Except my CR-Z can average 50mpg and looks great, the BRZ/FRS is great handling car with good power. The Veloster comes up short in basically all categories.
          Brian Brown
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Scooter
          @ David I've driven both the CR-Z and the Veloster. I owned a NA Veloster for over a year and with 80% highway driving, it rarely got above 33 MPG. I drove like grandma at or below the posted speed limits to get that kind of milage. In contrast my 2013 Focus with 60% in town driving due to a new job gets around 30-31 MPG, has more power and drives significantly better. I really hate when people say the Veloster NA gets more than 40 MPG because unless you're some insane hypermiler you will never come anywhere near that number.
          A_Guy
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Scooter
          @david: The Veloster doesn't average anywhere near what the CR-Z does in the real world. Check on fuelly.com. It's almost a 10 mpg difference. (30.9 vs 39.9) Most of your other complaints are opinions (I find the ergonomics and space fantastic for my frame and one reason I bought the car was because it was a 2-seater). I do wish it had more infotainment options though. As far as cargo, I can fold the back down and fit a crate for my huskie, luggage for 2, computer bag, and still have extra room (couple 24 packs!? :P) Pretty much perfect for my wife and me. I didn't really want anything the Veloster offered that supposedly makes it "better".
          A_Guy
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Scooter
          I can't get 50 mpg avg on my CR-Z, it is a 6MT though. Best I've achieved on a whole tank is 42. I flog it everywhere and still average 36 mpg, which is totally fine with me, considering how much more fun it makes my commute. :)
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Scooter
          [blocked]
          David
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Scooter
          Just as I can say that your CR-Z is claustrophobic, has no back seat, little cargo room, pretty crappy ergonomics inside, and is lacking in a great deal of infotainment and other tech that the Veloster has, while being able to exceed 40 mpg HWY (N/A Veloster). There is no good argument for the CR-Z over the Veloster, and sales figures bear that out, too.
          David
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Scooter
          I wouldn't get a BR-Z for the same readon I chose not to get a CR-Z: Very impractical sole car for real life, unless you drive solo 100% of the time AND never have the need to carry any kind of cargo, or Ikea stuff, or dogs, etc. The Veloster is vastly more versatile and flexible than either the CR-Z or BRZ.
          Dmitriy Markelov
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Scooter
          Lets get real, the CRZ is a terrible car with awful styling. Really a poor product.
          Scooter
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Scooter
          CR-Z is impractical to "most people" because it has no back seats. What really works against the CR-Z is its total lack of passenger accommodation. But the CR-Z EX gives amazing goodies for the price. $22k buys me a back-up camera/full Nav/voice command with Hands-free link, HID lights/fog lights, polished alloy wheels, sporty seats and a few other things that you would have to "option-up" on other cars that would push their pricing well close to $30,000. The CR-Z is basically for single people or somebody that has a secondary car if they need passenger space, which I do.
          Scooter
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Scooter
          I averaged 54MPG on a 145mile drive, I wanted to post the picture I took of the reading because i was pretty surprised too. Its an amazing car for a guy like me with no kids or big things to ever transport. Besides, I have my "teenage years" car, my Suzuki SX4 X-over which is my go to car for cargo, but that's not too often.
        Dean Hammond
        • 1 Year Ago
        WITNESS THAT ANY SEMI ANTI HONDA REMARKS WILL BE PUNISHED.....
          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          PS, I too would buy a CR-Z over this vehicle....this one is LOST....
          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          rest my case....those Honda boys are EXTREMELY sensitive....
      fx16gts
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why would anybody buy the turbo model if there\' s such little or if any satisfaction from doing so? Whats the point? And the paint is so fragile? I would not buy this car.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @fx16gts
        [blocked]
          Creepy Ass Cracka
          • 1 Year Ago
          haha...more fun that the completely awful regular Veloster? Thanks but I think I'll pass. In 15 years people will be shaking their heads thinking "I acually owned one of those things...what was I thinking?"
          Spartan
          • 1 Year Ago
          In 15 years, you'd say that about a lot of cars on the road today.
        Nick B
        • 1 Year Ago
        @fx16gts
        So they can show their buddies that giant "turbo" badge on the back and tell them how fast it is.
        Scooter
        • 1 Year Ago
        @fx16gts
        Features bring the price points of Base so close to Turbo that you may as well drive the lack luster Turbo simply for the sake of being a bit quicker than the base.
      David
      • 1 Year Ago
      I thought the Veloster Turbo had a twin-scroll turbo, which is supposed to eliminate turbo lag. In fact, this is the first time I've ever read of anyone mentioning it about a Veloster Turbo. Any actual VT owners care to chime in?
        foxtrot685
        • 1 Year Ago
        @David
        I do not own a VT, but I have two friends that have one. I don\'t know if I would call it \"laggy,\" I would indeed call it \"soft.\" Below about 3,000 RPM, it has the torque-richness of a turbo and all, but when crossing over that 3,000 RPM threshold, like the article suggest, the turbo just continues a very soft pull to red line. There isn\'t an aggressive woosh or surge of power as there is in a Mini Cooper S, WRX, or MS3 when the turbo spools up and is making max boost. In the VT, its very linear and very soft so it doesn\'t feel like it has the same sense of urgency as the others in its class.
          foxtrot685
          • 1 Year Ago
          @foxtrot685
          @creepy No, I'm not saying it has boost all the time, just as with any turbo I'm sure there are points in the lower rev band where it is "off boost." Because it has a very linear power delivery, I'm not sure where in the lower rev band that is. Is this car a poser mobile? That depends on what you want out of it. If you are looking for a Fiesta ST, Mini Cooper S, GTI, or MS3 killer you are going to be disappointed. If you want something comfortable, different, great value, and reasonably fast and fun to drive, you may find a lot to like about it.
          Creepy Ass Cracka
          • 1 Year Ago
          @foxtrot685
          So you're saying the VT has boost all the time and that's why it doesnt have the turbo rush that better quality cars have? Is this car even remotely competitive in the hot hatch world? I never see them out racing...is this car just a poser mobile? Please enlighten me. Thx
          David
          • 1 Year Ago
          @foxtrot685
          Cite ONE, Creepy Ass Cracka Troll?
          robertlyt
          • 1 Year Ago
          @foxtrot685
          That's not necessarily a bad thing. I briefly had a Nissan Juke, and the turbo lag was not only annoying, but at times it felt downright dangerous, when the needed power was just NOT THERE, until it later was and then it was abrupt. Gradual, linear power build-up is not necessarily a bad thing in my book.
      c_lapap
      • 1 Year Ago
      A Hyundai accent engine in an accent-derived platform screams hot hatch. They had a recall for exploding sunroofs, want to know what the test was to see if it needed to be replaced? You drop a metal Ball bearing down a PVC tube and If it broke the glass you replace, If not it passes. Well done hyundai...
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