The Hyundai Veloster is a weirdo, but it wears its quirkiness with confidence. What do you need to know before you buy a Hyundai Veloster? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything right here in the Ultimate Buyer’s Guide.
The Hyundai Veloster is a strange oddball of a coupe, err hatchback, err, whatever it is. The asymmetrical three-door’s front end looks like a crazed lunatic, and the rear also looks... special. All this combines to create a little Accent/Elantra-based car whose character mimics that of Stitch from the movie Lilo and Stitch; crazy looking, small, nutty, but at the same time totally lovable.
In a market filled with generic beigemobiles, the Hyundai’s character is refreshing, bringing excitement to roads filled with bland, conservatively-styled CUVs.
Weird is different, and we like different.
The Veloster drives exactly like a Hyundai, which is to say it’s very comfortable and easy to drive but the steering is a little off and the turbocharged engines seemed tuned exactly wrong for performance.
Don’t let the sporty exterior fool you, the Hyundai Veloster isn’t sporty. Smartly packaged? Yes. Efficient? Yeah, enough. Thrilling? Nah. Even in Veloster Turbo trim it’s not in the same category of cars as the Focus ST in terms of driving joy.
It won’t embarrass you if you’re in a hurry and it’s affordable and looks interesting, though, which counts for a lot.
Hyundai came to the North American International Auto Show in 2011 with this outlandish small car and told the world “Hey folks, this is a production car. No, really. We promise it is.”
“Riiiight, of course it is,” the world said.
Then BAM, a few months later the Veloster showed up on dealer lots and everyone was excited to drive one. The styling sure as heck made it seem like these little Kaambacks would give us all a taste of some Korean hot hatch medicine.
But no. The 2012 Veloster arrived with an underwhelming 138 horsepower 1.6-liter I4. Sadness ensued.
Then 2013 came around and Hyundai launched their Veloster Turbo with a more powerful turbocharged engine and revised front and rear styling. The next year brought the R-Spec, the “enthusiast’s Veloster,” which is basically a stripped down, less expensive Veloster Turbo model.
The 2014 model year also brought some new suspension and steering tuning, a new shifter, various interior upgrades, and a brake-activated torque vectoring system. Also, for ‘14 and beyond, all Velosters got a rearview camera as standard.
While 2015 brought few changes to the Veloster, 2016 brings us the limited-production Rally Edition, which is basically an R-Spec Veloster with a retuned suspension, new wheels and tires, carbon fiber aero trim, and unique badging.
Perhaps more exciting than the Rally edition is the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, which replaces the 6-speed on 2016 Veloster Turbo trims. The interiors of both the turbo and standard model get a bit of a tailoring and the hood and grille have been revised. New audio functions round out changes for 2016.
The base Veloster tends to accelerate a at turtle-like pace with its 132 horsepower engine, but throw a turbo on that and your 201 horses are perfectly adequate. It’s not a barn-burner, but the 1.6-liter turbo comes closer to cashing the checks that the sporty exterior has been promising.
2016 Hyundai Veloster Engine Options
|Engine||Max Horsepower (hp)||Max Torque (lb-ft)|
|1.6L I4||132 @ 6300 rpm||120 @ 4850 rpm|
|1.6L Turbo I4||201 @ 6000 rpm||195 @ 1750 rpm|
The Veloster does quite well at the pump. It’s not best-in-class, with cars like the Mazda3 and Ford Focus edging it out, but at 31 MPG combined, it’s right up there with the big guys.
Even the more powerful Veloster Turbo gets great mileage, scoring an impressive 29 MPG combined on automatic models – that’s neck-and-neck with the GTI and Fiesta ST and better than the Focus ST.
2016 Hyundai Veloster Fuel Economy Ratings (City/Highway/Combined)
| ||1.6L I4||1.6L Turbo I4|
|Fuel Economy- Manual||27/35/30||25/33/28|
|Fuel Economy- Automatic||28/36/31||27/33/29|
The Veloster comes in four trim levels: Veloster, Veloster Turbo R-Spec, Veloster Rally Edition, and Veloster Turbo. All Velosters come with a MacPherson strut front suspension and rear torsion beam. Power steering is electric and column-mounted, and brakes are 10.3-inch solid disks in the rear and either 11 or 11.8-inch in the front.
- Veloster: Starts at $18,000. Notable standard features: 6-speed manual transmission, 1.6-liter naturally aspirated I4 engine, 17” alloy wheels, six airbags, air conditioning, 7” LCD touchscreen, backup camera, 6-speaker audio system with Bluetooth, power windows, remote keyless entry, power heated mirrors. Notable options: 6-speed dual clutch automatic transmission ($1,100); Style Package: 18” alloy wheels, chrome grille surround, panoramic sunroof, fog lights, unique interior accents, Blue Link Telematics System, premium 8-speaker audio system with subwoofer, leatherette seats, alloy pedals, driver’s auto-up window, leather wrapped steering wheel ($2,100); Tech Package: Navigation system, automatic temperature control, automatic headlights, proximity keyless entry, push button start, rear parking sensors ($2,100+Syle Package).
- Veloster Turbo R-Spec: Starts at $21,600. Notable standard features over base Veloster: 1.6-liter turbo I4, torque vectoring control, 18” alloy wheels, sport tuned suspension and steering, projector headlights, active sound, sport-tuned suspension and steering, fog lights, unique front fascia and grille, body kit, alloy pedals, 8-speaker premium audio system with subwoofer, leatherette seats, red colored seatbelts, leather-wrapped steering wheel, B&M sport shifter, larger front brakes. No notable options.
- Veloster Turbo Rally Edition: Starts at $23,950. Notable standard features over R-Spec: unique 18” alloy wheels, upgraded springs and shocks, upgraded sway bar, sport leather seats, aero kit with carbon fiber accents, unique badging, unique matte blue paint. No notable options.
- Veloster Turbo: Starts at $22,600. Notable standard features over base Veloster: 1.6-liter turbo I4 engine, unique 18” alloy wheels, sport-tuned steering, bigger front brakes, torque vectoring control, projector headlights, fog lights, unique fascia and grille, body kit, proximity keyless entry, active sound, push button start, premium 8-speaker audio system, heated leather sports seats, alloy pedals, leather-wrapped steering wheel. Notable options: 7-speed dual clutch transmission ($1,200); Tech Package: Panoramic sunroof, navigation system with 7-inch touchscreen, backup park sensors, Blue Link Telematics System, automatic headlights, automatic temperature control ($2,700).
It’s probably no surprise that we like the Turbo R-Spec. It’s the no-frills “enthusiast’s model” with the turbo engine, sport-tuned steering and suspension, bigger brakes, and a more aggressive look. But it also gets you projector headlights, bigger wheels, fog lights, and the premium sound system to boot. After destination fee, that all comes in at a reasonable $22,425. That’s a bargain. [Build Your Own]
MSRP: $18,000 Top Speed: ~135MPH (estimated)
Acceleration: ~7.5s to 60 MPG: 28 city / 36 hwy / 31 combined (base 1.6L auto)
Engines: 1.6L I4, 1.6L Turbo I4 Max Horsepower/Torque: 201 hp/195 lb-ft
Curb Weight: ~2,679-2,998 pounds IIHS Safety Rating: Not a Top Safety Pick
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 6&7-speed dual clutch automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front Engine, FWD
Photo credit: Hyundai