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#21

in 2012 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $14,491 - $15,059
Original MSRP: $17,300 - $18,550
MPG: 27 City / 37 Hwy
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2012 Hyundai Veloster Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Overall, reviewers find that the Veloster’s 138-horsepower engine is misleading because the Veloster isn’t much fun to drive. It does, however, have outstanding fuel economy.

  • "So far the Veloster isn't exactly getting our blood pumping, but we have to keep reminding ourselves that this is not a hot hatch, it's an eco-minded hatchback that is rated at 40 mpg on the highway when equipped with the standard six-speed manual transmission." -- Edmunds
  • "The problem is not so much a lack of power - although 138 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque don't exactly set the spec sheet on fire. Rather, it's a distinct lack of energy." -- Automobile Magazine

Acceleration and Power

The Veloster’s 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine generates 138 horsepower, a number that implies it is one of the most powerful vehicles in the class. But test drivers say the 2012 Hyundai Veloster’s engine power is only good at best, and suggest that drivers who want a zippy small car with good fuel economy test the Honda CR-Z.

Despite its disappointing performance, test drivers are impressed with the Veloster’s EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings. Models with a manual transmission average the most at 28/40 mpg city/highway, and Velosters with the optional EcoShift dual-clutch transmission average 29/38 mpg.

While it is slightly less fuel-efficient, reviewers think the EcoShift dual-clutch transmission, which is designed to have performance like a manual transmission but operates like an automatic, is the powertrain’s best feature because it complements the Veloster’s weight and available power nicely.

  • "With either transmission, acceleration is prompt and relatively powerful.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "There's also a dual-clutch automatic transmission available (a first for Hyundai). We found it capable, smooth and well-matched to the Veloster's weight and power." -- Edmunds
  • "The Veloster is no rocket, but thankfully it pays off in EPA-estimated mileage: 28/40 mpg city/highway for the manual and 29/38 mpg for the automatic." -- Cars.com
  • "Don't, however, expect Mini-like directness or zippy drama. The Veloster delivers in a very relaxed fashion, with a disconnectedness that brings to mind a game console." -- Jalopnik
  • "Bury the throttle pedal and one of two things will happen. A) Nothing or B) Casual acceleration provided you're in a gear that keeps the engine revs above 4,000 rpm or so." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

If you’re looking for a fun-to-drive small car, most reviewers say the 2012 Hyundai Veloster isn’t it. The Veloster’s steering is accurate, and its brakes are strong, but the Mini Cooper has a much better suspension.

  • "Nicely weighted steering and sporty suspension provide a fun driving experience. Veloster corners with little body lean, inspiring confidence in fast turns. Brakes have good pedal feel. During fast, twisty downhill driving, the brakes provided fade-free stopping power." -- Consumer Guide
  • "If the steering isn't engaging, it's at least accurate. The ABS might engage a bit early for my taste, but it's never disruptive to the action at hand and the feel of the brakes themselves is quite solid and progressive." -- Jalopnik
  • "And its feel-free steering, while accurate, brings no joy. The steering also happens to have the least amount of self-centering that we’ve felt in some time. After a turn, the wheel is apparently content to just lie on its side, lifeless, instead of preparing for its next assignment." -- Car and Driver
  • "I've called out handling as an area in which Hyundai needs improvement overall." -- Cars.com

Next Steps: 2012 Hyundai Veloster

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Used car average prices are provided by ClearBook™, a TrueCar™ product