The 4-door hatchback idea is a pretty nifty one from Hyundai.  Think of the Veloster like the mullet of the car world, passenger car on the left, and coupe on the right.  Throw in a muscular body kit, twin mortar-pipe central exhaust tips, and a dab of turbo badging to match the forced induction 1.6-litre mill, and you should have the makings of a stylish – semi-practical hot hatch.


Power figures are nearly there too – 150kW @ 6000rpm and 265Nm between 1750 and 4500 rpm are plated up by the turbocharged four, an engine shared with the Kia Cerato Koup, with fuel consumption figures at 8.7l/100km in the real world.  In tandem with the dual-clutch transmission equipped on our test unit, the Veloster Turbo is capable of a 0-100km/h shunt in a claimed 7.3 seconds before topping out at 225km/h – 7.8s and 224km/h for the manual.  Not quite Golf GTI or Ford Focus ST figures, now, are they?


It’s not hard to see why it fails to keep company with the established pack of hot hatches though – the engine’s lack of displacement takes a toll on the torque output and the effects are felt, or rather not felt.  The speed gathers rapidly and there’s decent mid range punch, but there’s never any real shove into the back of the sports seats that greets you when you shove your right foot through the firewall.  Couple that with discernable amounts of turbo-lag and it’s clear the Veloster’s 1.6-litre engine is not really the making of an out and out hot hatch.   The turbocharged unit also sounds flat – a dull, hollow drone emits from the large tailpipes, but one notably lacking substance and devoid of aural pleasure.


Then there’s the transmission.  It’s Hyundai’s first go at a dual-clutch setup – in this case a 7-speed unit driving the front wheels – and as far as first efforts go, it’s not half bad.  But it’s a first effort about 7 years too late unfortunately, and as such it’s dogged by problems other manufacturers solved half a decade ago if not longer.  On the timid daily grind it’s a rather decent auto ‘box – shifts are quick and seamless, and torque is managed appropriately.  But it’s when the Veloster Turbo gets driven with some gusto that the whole setup reveals some rather ghastly flaws.


Precision and decision are both lacking – gear-shifts delayed while the computer adjudges what it is you’re asking for, only to hand you the wrong gear before humming and harring and again selecting the wrong ratio.  By the time the DCT composes itself, all the ‘get up and go’ on offer has long since got up and gone.  Manual shifts via the paddles yield better results, but the time it takes to actually grab and engage a gear is still alarmingly slow for a ‘box of this nature.  It’s a hit and miss game, dealing with dual-clutch gearboxes; and in this case it seems Hyundai have sorely missed.


Contrastingly, Hyundai seem to have done a rather great job of the electric steering setup equipped to the Veloster Turbo.  Traditionally, Hyundai’s Flex Steer electronic system feels overly false, and none of the three modes (Comfort, Normal and Sport) feel adequately weighted.  In this instance, though, Normal is weighted rather well – suited to almost all driving scenarios perfectly.  Sport is a touch heavy, and comfort too light, and unfortunately all three modes are rather lacking in the feedback stakes.


The steering, albeit well weighted, is a touch less appealing as far as responsiveness goes.  There’s a dead feeling just off centre, succeeded by slightly sluggish responses thereafter.  A quicker rack wouldn’t have gone amiss in this attempt at a hot hatch, as would keener response from the front suspension.


It’s the suspension that really lets the package down from a handling point of view, more so than the steering.  Under-damped and harshly sprung, the ride quality is jarring at times and firm always.  The well-weighted steering is met with suspension that allows for understeer initially, requiring mid-corner correction, as opposed to just responding accurately and instantly.  As such, cornering also suffers somewhat – not just due to the understeer, but due to the torquesteer present when the former isn’t.


It’s a pity the Veloster falls short in all these areas of particular athleticism.  In many ways, they could be slightly overlooked if it weren’t for the Veloster Turbo’s aspirations to target the hot hatch market.  The Kia Koup suffers a few of the same ailments, but is decidedly less performance orientated, and focuses rather on being a coupe with a bit of pace.  Not so with the Veloster.


From the outside, in, the Hyundai aims to be performance biased.  The electronically adjustable sports seats seem to be designed for maximum cornering support, but fall short in the department.  They don’t quite sit right within the car either, sitting too high up for driver involvement.  If it weren’t for the sun-roof, my head would be crunched against the roof even with the seat in its lowest position.


There are several other foibles inside the Veloster, too.  A dash dominated by hard plastic is bearable, but the oddly designed door handle hoops don’t provide additional practicality over typical ones, and the hard plastic tends to squeak and rattle even on fairly smooth roads.  Then there are the features, or rather lack of the simplest ones.  Items like one-touch lane change indicators don’t exist in the Veloster Turbo, and front PDC sensors are optional rather than standard.  What is included though is rear PDC, and a reverse camera, auto headlights, auto-wipers, and automatic climate control, along with a sun roof, and keyless entry and start.


It all feels rather low-rent though, and the touch screen infotainment system is frustrating to use.  Sure it features mobile connectivity for Bluetooth media streaming and telephony, but it’s a slow touch screen, and it appears to run a Microsoft Windows-based operating system that frequently brings up error windows that would look at home on your old Pentium 1 back in 1998.


But of course the biggest problem of all is the price.  Here we have a mildly-spicy hatchback with sub-par for the segment performance, questionable build quality, dated materials, and a dull dual-clutch transmission, and Hyundai are charging R403 900 for the thing.  If it had been R50 000 less and not targeted as a performance hatchback, it would’ve kept the Kia Koup some wonderful company; but this is Golf GTI territory, and in all honesty the Veloster Turbo can’t even match up to the all round package offered by even a Ford Focus ST1 at R381 900, R20k shy of the Hyundai’s asking price.


It’s ludicrous to ask that sort of money for this kind of car, and those that do buy one will be sorry they didn’t cast their gaze at the numerous other options in this segment.  If, by some lunacy you do have your heart set on a Veloster Turbo, at least have the decency to get the manual transmission.


The Specs:


Engine Capacity:


No. of Cylinders:


Max. Power:

150kW @ 6000RPM

Max. Torque:

265Nm @ 1750-4500RPM


7-speed dual-clutch automated manual

0-100 time:

7.3 seconds

Top Speed:


Dry Weight:


Fuel Tank Capacity:

50 litres

Fuel Consumption (Regular driving, combined cycle):



Front-wheel Drive

Price (as tested):

R403 900,00


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