Part of this could be considered intentional since, as we wrote in our review, "It is important to remember that the Veloster Turbo is every bit as much about sipping fuel as it is about performance." With the six-speed manual and regular unleaded you're going to get 26 miles per gallon city, 38 mpg highway. The best you'll get with a Volkswagen GTI is 21 city / 31 hwy, while the MazdaSpeed3 Touring checks in with 18 city / 25 hwy and those numbers for both cars are with premium gas.
A hypothetical "Veloster Turbo R-Spec" could be tweaked with more power and a retuned suspension to directly challenge other hot hatches. Also in its favor is that with an MSRP of $21,950 it's got pricing headroom between it and the $23,995 GTI and $24,000 MazdaSpeed3, even before factoring in Hyundai's propensity to load its offerings with extras. Nevertheless, let us stress the word "hypothetical" – this is speculation in the extreme. But now that we all know the potential is there, let us hope it's only a matter of time before it's realized.