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Quick Drive: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo (Review)

With more power under the hood and even more aggressive styling, does the 2013 Veloster Turbo now have the right recipe to compete with models like the VW GTI?

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Since the Hyundai Veloster was released last year, critics have loved the Veloster’s distinct styling and the quirky rear passenger-side only door. But there was one thing that the Veloster was missing. On the outside the Veloster looks like a “fun hatchback,” but under the hood the Veloster was anything but fun. For the 2013 model year has fixed that with the more powerful Veloster Turbo. With more power under the hood and even more aggressive styling, does the 2013 Veloster Turbo now have the right recipe to compete with models like the VW GTI?

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How Does it Look?

On the outside the 2013 Veloster Turbo lets you know that its more special than the standard Veloster with its more aggressive face with a bigger grille, side skirts, a new rear bumper with prominent diffuser vents in the lower fascia and unique 18-inch alloy wheels. LED lighting as also been added to the front and rear and for an extra $1,000 you can get the Veloster Turbo in an exclusive matte gray paint. The matte gray paint is cool, but keep in mind that you can’t take it into a car wash and that it requires extra care to maintain.

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How’s the Interior?

The Veloster Turbo’s interior gets standard leather sports seats, a 450-watt audio system and alloy pedals. For an extra $2,500 you can add the Ultimate Package, which adds a navigation system with rear view camera, panoramic sunroof, and backup warning sensors. Everything else is pretty much the same as the standard Veloster. Overall the Veloster’s interior is not a bad place to be. It’s has more total passenger space than the Civic Si coupe and thanks to the unique third door, getting in the back seat is much easier than in the Civic. Just in case you’re wondering, Hyundai’s execs stated that Hyundai has no plans to offer a driver’s side rear door.

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What’s It Got Under the Hood?

The standard Veloster is powered by an uninspiring 138 horsepower 1.6L four-cylinder engine, which is easy to see why we’ve been asking for more. The Veloster Turbo is also powered by a 1.6L four-cylinder engine, but thanks to a turbocharger, it packs 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft. of torque. Buyers can choose from a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Even with 63 more horsepower under the hood, the Veloster Turbo will still get up to 26/ 38 mpg with the six-speed manual.

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How Does It Drive?

Hyundai should just ditch the base Veloster’s engine and offer the turbocharged engine across the board. The turbocharged engine transforms the Veloster into a much “sportier” hatchback. While the standard Veloster will reach 0-60 mph in the mid-eight second range, the Veloster Turbo is much better with a time in the high seven-second range. Although the Veloster Turbo is now faster, it’s still a bit slower than the VW GTI and Civic Si. One big thing that the Veloster Turbo is missing compared to the VW GTI and Civic Si, is a nice throaty sound from the exhaust and a nice sound track from the engine. More power was definitely there, but it doesn’t quite have the same sweet tone as some of the Veloster Turbo’s competitors.

Other than the upgraded engine, Hyundai did not change that much else. The suspension is exactly the same as the base Veloster, but the Veloster Turbo gets a quicker steering ratio and that extra power is kept under control with larger brakes.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Review

Would We Buy One?

Overall the Veloster Turbo is a huge performance improvement over the standard Veloster. Will it steal sales from hardcore VW GTI and Honda Civic Si fans, probably not, but it shouldn’t be ignored. The Veloster Turbo brings all the fun styling of the base Veloster, packs a nice turbocharged engine and all at a price thousands cheaper than the VW GTI. A fully-optioned Veloster Turbo with the six-speed manual and the Ultimate Package is just over $25k. A similarly equipped VW GTI is over $30k. Since Hyundai chose to not upgrade the Veloster Turbo’s suspension, let’s hope that Hyundai has an even more high-performance Veloster in the works…