Automotive Affairs: The 2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo - funky and fast
Credit: NAUMAN FAROOQ
The Hyundai Veloster Turbo is a vehicle worth taking for a spin.
It was a hatchback/coupe with asymmetrical styling as it has one door on the driver's side, and two doors on the passenger side, hence the overall look was funky and cool.
So, when I first jumped in and took one on a drive, I thought the driving experience would be similarly as funky and cool as the styling, but it wasn't.
You see, underneath it was just a Hyundai Accent, and it showed. It might have looked fast, but it sadly wasn't.
A year later, Hyundai introduced a Veloster Turbo, and everyone thought that this would be the version we've all been waiting for. Sadly, this too was not very exciting, thanks to turbo-lag and gearing that was just a bit too tall for the engine to make the best out of.
So, the first-generation Veloster was fairly disappointing, but for 2019, there is a new [gen-two] Veloster, so has Hyundai finally given us a Veloster we had always wanted?
Styling: From a styling point of view, some people I've discussed the new Veloster with say that the first-gen model looked funkier, and that now it is a bit too polished to be an entry-level hot hatch.
Personally, I like the styling of the new Veloster. It has nicer quality bits and pieces about it, which makes it look like it is worth more than it is.
It still carries the asymmetrical styling detail of the original, but couple that with sharper lines and Lamborghini-esque tail lights, and you end up with a modern, attractive coupe.
Interior: Step inside, and I think the interior quality has vastly improved over the original. The layout looks better, the fit and finish is better, and thanks to [optional] features like a heads-up display system, and standard features like a leather wrapped heated steering wheel and cruise control, it is better equipped than it used to be.
I really liked the seats in my Veloster Turbo tester, not only did they look good but were also comfortable on long drives.
From a practicality point-ofview, the new Veloster is the same as the previous model, which means OK space for four occupants, and a fairly usable trunk.
Powertrain: Under the hood, there is a bit of change. The base spec Veloster used to come with a 1.6 lite motor, but now you get a new 2.0 litres motor that produces 147 horsepower and 132 pounds per foot of torque. My tester, was the “Turbo” model, which seems to have an engine carried over from the old Veloster Turbo, which means it has a turbocharged 1.6 litre four cylinder motor that produces 201 horsepower and 195 pounds per foot of torque. While power output might be same as before, the turbo seems to spool up much faster especially in “Sport” mode and the ratios in its six-speed manual gearbox (seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is optional) seem to be revised, which just makes for far greater progress down the road.
Performance: According to Car & Driver magazine, the 2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo can sprint from 0 to 96 kilometre per hour in 6.2 seconds, while top speed is drag limited at 233 kilometres per hour, that's plenty fast enough.
Driving Dynamics: Performance numbers are one thing, how a car feels is another. This is where the new Veloster Turbo shows its biggest improvements over the old model. Everything, from suspension, body composure, and engine response has improved over the old model. I wouldn't say that the old Veloster Turbo felt unsafe at speed, nothing like that, but the new Veloster Turbo certainly feels more stable at speed, and the steering has less of that vague play.
Its “Rack and Pinion Motor Driven Power Steering” system (while not the most feel-some unit in the industry) gives you good enough feedback as to what the front wheels are doing, and while it inherently wants to understeer, it is very predictable. In short, you'll enjoy driving this car on twisty, country roads.
Fuel Economy: In my test cycle (170 kilometres of highway driving + 130 kilometres of city driving) during a fairly cold week in February, I averaged 8.1 litres per 100 kilometres, which is not bad at all. If the temperature was warmer, and I was not having as much fun as I did, I'd have averaged a bit better.
Pricing: The base 2019 Veloster is yours from $20,999. The 2019 Veloster Turbo is yours from $25,899. Given the equipment and performance of this vehicle, that's good value.
Verdict: The second-gen Veloster Turbo is a vast improvement over the old model, and it deserves your attention. However, for 2019, there is a new, even higher spec version on sale, called the “Veloster N”, perhaps it's named after me, maybe. The “N” is the fastest, most powerful version of the Veloster ever offered, and I hope I can get my hands on one of those, in the near future.
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ALL PHOTOS BELOW COURTESY OF NAUMAN FAROOQ