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#34

in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $18,000 - $23,600
Invoice: $17,360 - $22,445
MPG: 26 City / 35 Hwy
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Hyundai Veloster Performance

For most test drivers, the 2015 Hyundai Veloster looks sportier than it actually feels behind the wheel. They write that the base Veloster has sluggish acceleration and doesn’t have especially agile handling. Reviewers say that Turbo models feel sportier and have stronger acceleration, but most agree that they still aren’t as fun or engaging to drive as some rivals, such as the Volkswagen GTI. Additionally, some critics note that the Turbo models have a rough ride over bumpy roads.

  • "With a 201-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine connected to an available 6-speed manual transmission, the Turbo definitely ups the sporting ante. While not quite as much fun to drive as a Volkswagen GTI or Ford Focus ST, the Veloster Turbo holds its own, and does so at a price that undercuts those two by thousands." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Although the Veloster looks like a sporty hatchback, it doesn't really drive that way." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "Base Velosters are disappointingly slow, but Turbo models deliver sprightly acceleration and crisper handling that are more in keeping with the car's ostentatious looks." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The base Hyundai Veloster has a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 138 horsepower. The Veloster Turbo R-Spec and Veloster Turbo have a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 201 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard. Models with the base engine are available with a six-speed automated manual and those with the turbocharged engine are available with  a six-speed automatic transmission. The base 2015 Veloster gets up to an EPA-estimated 27/36 mpg city/highway, which is on par for the class.

Most test drivers say the base Veloster does not accelerate quickly, and that the automated manual transmission doesn’t shift sharply and further dulls the Veloster's performance. They say the Turbo models feel much stronger, but some note that rivals like the Ford Fiesta ST have livelier acceleration.

  • "While acceleration isn't breathtaking (the 201-horsepower Veloster Turbo fares better in that department), the Veloster does provide strong fuel economy." -- Left Lane News
  • "The Veloster could've been all show and no go, which makes us appreciate the available turbocharged engine that much more. While definitely turning the Veloster R-Spec and Turbo into a GTI chaser, the added power doesn't come at the expense of fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The base model is downright slow, especially when equipped with the automated manual transmission. Acceleration is significantly improved on the Turbo and Turbo R-Spec models, but their performance is still well off the pace of hot hatches like the Ford Fiesta ST, Focus ST and Volkswagen GTI." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "Under the hood, the Veloster's base engine needs all the horses it can get, so our preference is for the satisfying stick shift with its added output. Also, the automated gearbox could use some more development to sharpen its sometimes clumsy shifts." -- AutoTrader (2014)

Handling and Braking

Some auto journalists say the Hyundai Veloster can be fun to drive on twisty roads, but many add that a number of rivals are more engaging to drive. Test drivers also report that the Veloster Turbo's ride quality can be uncomfortable over rough roads, and they complain that the steering offers little feedback.

  • "Despite its sporty looks, the Veloster is actually based on Hyundai's Accent economy car, meaning handling is safe and predictable but not overly engaging." -- Left Lane News
  • "At a relaxed pace, both the base and Turbo models are reasonably capable around turns. However, if you start pushing the car harder on twisty back roads, you'll notice that it's not as sharp or refined as most rivals. In addition, the steering is overly light and not especially communicative, and the suspension is easily upset by bumps and ruts. This translates to a harsh ride in normal driving situations." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "If the pavement is sufficiently smooth, you can find joy in stringing together a series of bends, but the Veloster lacks the composure of its competitors in the most demanding conditions. Thus, piloting the Veloster Turbo is nowhere near as visceral as the best hot hatches." -- Automobile Magazine (2013)
  • "Veloster's ride is compliant yet firm. Smaller bumps and cracks in the pavement are absorbed nicely while larger ones make themselves known, but not jarringly so." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
Review Last Updated: 11/26/14

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