Hyundai Veloster Turbo Elite 2012 Review

Hyundai Veloster Turbo Elite 2012 Review

We took a look at the naturally aspirated Veloster Elite a few months ago. If you read the article you’ll see that I said that the turbo version will be awesome. Let’s find out whether it is.

My history is with four-wheel drive rally cars of the 90s. I liked the stiff suspension, the four-cylinder turbo sound and the agile feeling that you get when you don’t have a

gravitationally challenged V8 in the front.

Fifteen years later, the Evos are gone, the WRXs are soft and Toyota has nothing fast to offer like the Celica GT-Four. Engines have got smaller because of the pressure on fuel consumption, so you need to put a turbo on to give it any chance of providing giggles. That’s what Hyundai has tried to do.

The result over the naturally aspirated Veloster is 46% more power and 60% more torque and you can deliver this to the road using a six-speed manual or, like our test car, a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters on the steering wheel. The engine is the same 1591cc unit and it produces 150kW which has to move 1347kg. That equation sounds reasonable, but the Veloster doesn’t seem particularly quick. It feels like it’s around 8 seconds to 100kph and you don’t get a real kick in the pants.

Where it excels, though, is in its ability to change directions quickly. You’ll feel the edges of those sports seats once the g-forces climb because the Veloster changes direction like a gazelle fleeing from a Cheetah. The suspension is the same as the non-turbo version – Hyundai didn’t feel the need to change it, and it’s perfectly good for the job, enabling flat cornering under pressure. Those not used to sports suspension might find it a little harsh, especially over lower speed bumpy suburban streets with potholes.

The interior is fundamentally the same as the naturally aspirated Elite, except there is Turbo embossing on the seats. This means you get the same generous storage areas, adequate legroom in the rear (tall passengers will rub their hair on the roof), an excellent panoramic sunroof which improves the spacious feel of the cabin, and an intuitive interface that surrounds the seven-inch touchscreen. The door handles are particularly ludicrous, but with its chunky steering wheel and sports pedals, the hot hatch picture is completed.

Externally, there are some significant visual differences. The Turbo gets a rear spoiler with integrated high-mounted LED stop light, different 18-inch alloys with polished inserts, Turbo badges and a body kit that includes a deeper grille and front splitter with modified spotlights, and a more prominent rear diffuser with twin circular exhausts.

Hyundai has only provided a rear door on the passenger side. While I can see that this is the sensible side to have it (most people will get in from the kerb), I use a driver’s side rear door to put my laptop behind my seat.

Five-star crash test rating is as per all Hyundai’s vehicles now. There are six airbags and all the necessary electronic programmes to help stop you skidding out of control.

My fuel use was 7.6l/100km for the week of driving. That’s not bad considering the type of car it is and you’d probably need to look at something diesel turbo to get much better.

One thing you have to be aware of is the enormous blind spot created by that thick rear pillar. If you are backing out of an angle park you cannot see what’s coming up the road at all. It is only saved (and very deftly so) by the reversing camera. Therefore if you want a Veloster you’d be a mug to buy the one without the camera because it will be a constant source of irritation (and danger).

But put these aside and if you want a hot hatch with something different, you’ll appreciate the Veloster Turbo experience. The suspension makes it feel like a proper sports car. It’s tight and bordering on abrupt on some surfaces, but not bone-shaking. It got heads turning and petrolheads asking questions about those awesome-looking exhausts.

But I’m not sure who the Veloster Turbo’s target market is. It’s five grand more than the non-turbo version and is definitely five grand better. Perhaps 30-somethings like me will find it a funky hot hatch urban option with enough practicality to go on dirty weekends (or even weeks!) Families with one child could easily cope; families with two would find the lack of two rear doors an inconvenience. It should appeal to those that want something a little different and those that recognize that Hyundai’s quality is now every bit as good as any of the other manufacturers.

Price: $49,990


  • Handles well
  • Striking looks
  • Good sized boot for a car of this type
  • Managed to get good fuel economy despite the turbo


  • Enormous blind spot means you want the version with the reversing camera
  • More power please

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

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