By Jennifer Geiger on January 8, 2012
The Hyundai Veloster is getting what many enthusiasts have been looking for in the hot hatch. Just a year after Hyundai’s compact three-door hatchback debuted, a turbocharged version will join the lineup. The new 201-horsepower, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder joins a 138-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. Transmission choices continue to be a six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch automated manual. The turbo is only available with the manual.
Hyundai estimates that the Veloster Turbo should get 27/38 mpg city/highway. The non-turbo model is rated at 28/40 mpg for the manual and 29/38 mpg for the automatic. Both have a combined rating of 32 mpg.
The turbo version rides on the same 104.3-inch wheelbase as the regular version but is 1.2 inches longer and 216 pounds heavier. Turbo-model-specific styling cues include new matte gray exterior paint; larger grille; dual exhaust pipes; 18-inch alloy and chrome wheels; and unique fog lights, ground effects, rear fascia and LED taillights. The turbo model is also treated to a sport-tuned suspension and revised steering calibration. Interior upgrades include heated “turbo” stitched front seats, a Turbo Graphite Black with blue accent color scheme and a redesigned instrument cluster and center stack.
Hyundai unveiled the radically styled three-door hatchback at last year’s Detroit auto show. During our test drives of the traditional Veloster, we appreciated its quick launches but noted that overall power is modest. It appealed as a fuel-efficient and relatively low-priced sporty car with catch-me-if-you-can good looks, but something was missing in the excitement department.
The turbo should add to the car’s fun factor and boost Veloster’s appeal with its target audience: young, hip urbanites. Remaining affordable will be key. The 2012 Veloster starts at $17,300. No word yet on Veloster Turbo prices.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer