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It's a rare occurrence when bold design is married to a car that is accessible to shoppers on a budget. The Hyundai Veloster is that rarity among hatchbacks, with evocative styling, a unique asymmetrical three-door layout and respectable performance. Yet the Veloster still achieves fuel economy figures that rival more commonplace economy cars.
Built upon the same basic architecture as the Hyundai Accent, the Veloster shares many of the same advantages and drawbacks. But when it comes to the bottom line, the Hyundai Veloster ranks highly for its feature-rich content, friendly price and appealing overall character.
Current Hyundai Veloster
The Hyundai Veloster is a four-passenger, three-door hatchback. The driver-side door is coupelike in length, while the passenger side features two smaller doors. The base Veloster comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. The Veloster Turbo packs a turbocharged version of the 1.6 that cranks out 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. For either model, a six-speed manual transmission is standard, with the automated manual transmission as an option. The base engine's output drops slightly (132 hp and 120 lb-ft of torque) when paired with the automated transmission.
Standard feature highlights for the base Veloster include 17-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, a rear spoiler, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories, Bluetooth, the BlueLink telematics system, a touchscreen display and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio, Pandora radio capability and USB/iPod connectivity.
In addition to its more powerful engine, the Turbo also comes with sport-tuned steering, 18-inch wheels, unique styling elements, keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery, heated front seats and an upgraded sound system. Optional highlights for the Veloster include a panoramic sunroof, automatic headlights, rear parking sensors, a navigation system and a rearview camera.
The Hyundai Veloster's cabin has an abundance of hard plastic surfaces, but unique texturing and sculpted design help to bolster its appeal. Front seats are comfortable and supportive, but those relegated to the rear will find those quarters less accommodating. There's ample legroom, but the rear seat cushions are mounted a bit too low and headroom is limited by the sloping roof line. Furthermore, the glass hatch extends over the passengers' heads, leaving them exposed to the sun.
On the plus side, all of the Veloster's cutting-edge features are sure to attract the tech-savvy youth market that it clearly has in its sights. Besides the typical safety features associated with the BlueLink system, functions like outbound text messaging, turn-by-turn navigation and location sharing (via Facebook) are also included. Parents of young drivers will also appreciate the programmable geo-fence feature that alerts them when the car travels outside of defined areas.
Power from the base 1.6-liter engine is merely adequate, which may seem like a bit of a letdown considering the Veloster's sporty styling. Thankfully, the Hyundai Veloster Turbo spices things up considerably. It also comes with the same basic suspension tuning, which tends to be harsh riding on pockmarked roads. That said, the Turbo still manages to deliver a decent amount of entertainment from behind the wheel.
Used Hyundai Veloster Models
The Hyundai Veloster debuted for the 2012 model year. For that first year the Veloster was only available in the naturally aspirated (non-turbocharged) trim, which had 138 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque regardless of transmission.
Read the most recent 2013 Hyundai Veloster review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Hyundai Veloster page.