Our year-long test of the Hyundai Veloster Turbo was a mixed experience. There were plenty of not-very-nice anecdotes about the blown Hyundai – at one point, our own Managing Editor Steve Ewing suggested we "stop thinking of the Veloster Turbo as a proper hot hatch," and Senior Editor Seyth Miersma said it was a car that "doesn't feel especially hot-hatchy." We felt this way despite the car's overt hot-hatch trappings: the red turbo badging, matte-gray paint, upgraded body kit, huge center-exit exhaust pipes, and sticky Michelin tires. Our reaction to this Rally Edition was lukewarm when it debuted earlier this year at the Chicago Auto Show. You can imagine, then, our trepidation with the arrival of the matte blue tester. As it turned out, a week behind the wheel proved that Hyundai has addressed a number of the complaints we lodged during our prior year-long Veloster test. Driving Notes There was only so much Hyundai could do to the Veloster during this year's mid-cycle refresh. That means the 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder is still there, writing checks its performance can't cash. We still get 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, the latter of which is available between 1,750 and 4,500 rpm. Despite the generous torque spread, there's no sense of urgency with this engine. Pair that with the still persistent turbo lag, and the Veloster Turbo feels slower from behind the wheel than other hot hatches, even less powerful competitors like the Fiat 500 Abarth. There were a number of complaints about our Veloster Turbo's fuel economy during our year behind the wheel. At 24 miles per gallon, this Rally Edition managed to come in just under the EPA-estimated 25-mpg city rating, improving measurably on the less than 22 mpg Senior Editor Miersma returned in his long-term wrap-up. Still, we were four mpg below the 28-mpg combined rating in what was largely mixed driving. Aside from the unchanged powertrain, the Rally Edition brings a lot to the Veloster Turbo package worth liking. The inclusion of a B&M Racing short-throw shifter makes this gearbox not only easier but also far more enjoyable to manipulate, although the gearing is still too tall for our taste. The shift knob is just the right size, and the shift action feels rifle-bolt precise. It is delightful, aside from an annoying, almost inexcusable flaw, which you can see in the video below. According to Hyundai, the Rally Edition boasts more aggressive springs, dampers, and sway bars than even the racier R-Spec model. It does feel better on the road than our old long-termer. Turn-in is decidedly sharper, and there's less roll than before. It also feels better poised through the bends, still prone to understeer but giving the impression that there's more to this funky hatch than before. We didn't notice any of sidestepping or shimmying when presented with a mid-corner imperfection, which was a constant source of annoyance in our long-term car. Any hot hatch worth its salt needs to feel fast, sharp, nimble, and …
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|MPG||27 City / 35 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd man w/OD|
|Power||132 @ 6300 rpm|
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