I love it when a car surprises you and proves you wrong in the best of ways. When we first got word of a Veloster Turbo coming into our garage for a weeks worth of testing and review, there were some straws drawn and I got the short one. Or so everyone else thought.
I’ve always been intrigued by the Veloster, with it’s unusual one-door on one side, two-doors on the other arrangement. I’ve always thought of it as a bit soft, not quite meeting the mark of what I would classify as a “sprightly” performance hatch. Yet, after driving it, even after day one, I was starting to eat my words. The new 2020 Hyundai Veloster is the exact definition of a sprightly little hatch, especially in the turbocharged 1.6-litre four cylinder variant that produces 150kW of power and 265Nm of torque, all mated to a six-speed manual transmission (a seven-speed DCT is optional) driving power to the front wheels.
The 2020 Veloster Turbo certainly looks more handsome than the previous model and is without a doubt a lot more refined. It comes well appointed with proximity key entry and push-button start, cruise control with Hyundai SmartSense active safety technology including city-speed autonomous emergency braking, driver attention alert, and lane-keeping assist. There is also a reverse camera with rear parking sensors, and an 8-inch infotainment system complete with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. All of the buttons have a somewhat premium feel (for the price tag of the car anyway). Sadly, if you do want the full active safety package on your turbo Veloster, you’ll need to drop the manual and go for an automatic, because of problems at the production line – which is the same issue for the i30 N-Line models too.
Move up to the Turbo Premium, and you gain a leather interior, heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, electric driver’s seat adjustment, heads-up display, rain-sensing wipers, wireless charging, and electrochromatic rear-view mirror, for a cost of $3500 over the “regular” Turbo model we tested here at $35,490 (plus on-road costs).
On the road, with the “Sport Mode” button activated, the Veloster Turbo feels as though it’s been designed to be exploited around quick, twisty mountain roads, with the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres wrapped around the 18-inch Gloss Black wheels offering terrific levels of grip in any weather condition (trust us, we had some pretty torrential rain on one outing, and not once did the Veloster feel like it was coming undone).
The suspension (with revised settings that were developed in Australia) is definitely more focused on being sporty than anything else. It’s not harsh by any means, but it’s not something you would consider “ultra comfortable”. But again, it’s kind of to be expected with the appeal of the whole Veloster package and what it’s aiming for – it is a small, sporty chassis that absolutely relishes in being thrown into some corners. It’s no hardcore weekend track-toy, but it’s certainly fun and guaranteed to put a smile on your face when conditions allow.
Cabin space was a bit of an interesting one, and definitely a highlight whilst using the car for day-to-day run around exercises. As previously mentioned, the Veloster is known for it’s three passenger doors. On the driver’s side you get a single, longer (coupe style) door, while the passenger side gets two shorter doors (like a traditional hatchback). And you’ll find that some may find it very strange (I know I certainly did before actually driving one) but it’s actually quite brilliant. The Veloster’s rear passenger side door provides fairly easy access to the two back seats for young children or short adults (anything under 150cm would be fine), and you can easily access a baby seat if you need to (ISOFIX Anchor Points come standard). Whilst on the drivers side, it’s purely about the aesthetics of looking like a sleek coupe.
The boot is reasonably deep and gives 303 litres worth of storage space, and if more space is required, simply fold down the backrests of the second row to give you a max load space of 1081 litres.
Both The Veloster Turbo (and Turbo Premium) servicing schedule is covered by Hyundai’s capped programme, with service intervals every 10,000 kilometres or 12 months (which occurs first). You can expect to pay $299 for the first three services, with the fourth and fifth visits costing $379 and $299 respectively. As with every Hyundai, the Veloster comes with a five-year, unlimited-km factory warranty, complimentary 1500km service and (when serviced at a Hyundai dealer) 10 years of free roadside assist and sat-nav map updates).
Engine: 1.6-litre turbocharged intercooled four-cylinder petrol
Output: 150kW at 6000rpm / 265Nm between 1500 and 4500rpm
Transmission: Six-speed Manual
Drive Type: Front Wheel Drive
Wheels: 18×7.5, 225/40/R18
Kerb Weight: 1350kg
Official Fuel Economy: 6.9L/100km (Combined)
Fuel Capacity/Type: 50L/Unleaded
Price: $35,490 Plus On-Road Costs
I went into the Veloster Turbo thinking it was not going to phase me, or better yet, it would confirm my prior suspicion of being a bit of a soft, dull, somewhat mediocre attempt at a sporty hatchback. I am so glad to say that it did the exact opposite, and if you’re even considering getting one – I’d highly urge you to, because it’s a great little car, that will leave a smile on your face, even if all you do is look at it from your office window.
There’s a lot to like about the Hyundai Veloster Turbo, from its style, practical cabin and the standard inclusions you get for the money. The Turbo is the definitely the sweet spot of the range, bringing everything you need, while the Turbo Premium adds the things you probably only want.
What we liked:
Great combination of sprightly performance, decent fuel economy and outright road manners.
Warranty and Service Plan.
Practicality and Unique-ness – The fun design tends to marry up well with the fun to drive persona that the car gives off.
What we didn’t like:
When not in sport mode, the drive can feel a bit underwhelming.
The fact that you can’t get the full suite of safety features in the manual.
Whilst the pricing is sensible, some buyers will probably be tempted to look at the i30 N-Line.
Cabin could do with a few little “premium” touches – not be as plasticky.