The Hyundai Veloster Turbo takes one of the strangest looking vehicles on the market and tries to turn it into a performance coupe. By turbocharging the 1.6-litre petrol engine from the regular car, Hyundai has created a 184bhp rival to the likes of the Vauxhall Astra GTC and VW Scirocco.
The Veloster is not an ordinary coupe, though. It has one door on the driver’s side and two on the passenger side – a unique offering in the current market, and one that’s likely to put off as many buyers as it attracts.
Still, you could argue that coupes should be 'Marmite' vehicles that polarize opinion, and the Veloster certainly does that. The question is, can it deliver a thrilling drive to support its extra performance potential?
What’s the 2012 Hyundai Veloster Turbo like to drive?
Hyundai’ 1.6-litre turbo has 184bhp and, perhaps more importantly, 195lb ft of torque that’s delivered low down in the rev range. There’s decent punch at around 1500rpm and while you can push the engine right round to 6000rpm, you can maintain reasonably rapid progress by shifting up at 3500rpm.
The level of performance isn’t about to tear holes in the asphalt (Hyundai claims 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds), yet the Veloster Turbo’s strong torque does help it to feel a little more rapid than the 1.6-litre turbo version of the Vauxhall Astra GTC. It doesn’t sound any more sporty, though; the motor is a bit thrashy when pushed hard, and while Hyundai has tuned the exhaust, its note is still disappointingly tame.
The Turbo edition gets lowered, stiffened suspension, remapped steering and 18-inch alloys in place of the regular car’ 17-inchers. Body control is noticeably improved and the ride quality, bizarrely, appears to have been made more sophisticated by the more focused approach to the suspension. It still doesn’t like to settle on poor surfaces, but the thuds that are allowed through to the cabin on the regular model are much reduced on the Turbo.
The steering is also a little more meaty and linear, but we’d like more directness around the straight ahead. It still doesn’t communicate much of what’s happening at the front wheels, either.
At a motorway cruise, the engine fades down to a background drone at 2500rpm; you’re more likely to be bothered by wind noise or, most likely, the road roar from the 18in Hankook tyres that come as standard.
What’s the 2012 Hyundai Veloster Turbo like inside?
The dashboard will look pretty familiar to anyone who’s tried a regular Veloster - and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Granted, you’ll be sitting in some natty sports seats, but apart from that, there’s little to suggest you’re in a performance variant. You won’t feel so short-changed on the standard equipment front, mind you, because Hyundai has piled on the kit. You get leather seats, electric driver’s seat adjustment, a seven-inch touch-screen infotainment system, a rear parking camera, heated seats and dual-zone climate control. The options list is pretty much restricted to a full-length panoramic glass roof and an impressive matt metal paint finish.
Elsewhere, the Turbo’s cabin is the same oddball offering as the regular car’, which means you get a pair of doors on the nearside – ideal for letting the kids out onto a pavement. However, while access to the back seats is easier, they're not any more roomy than a regular coupe’s, so anyone taller than about 5ft 6in is going to complain about headroom. The boot is reasonably large, at 320 litres, although there’s a large, high lip that can make it hard to load heavy, bulky items.
Should I buy one?
The Veloster Turbo might be quicker and a little more composed than its stablemates, but it’s every bit as odd. Fact is, you’ll either want one of these cars based on its looks or simply turn and walk away from it.
For those who find appeal in the curious door layout, the Veloster Turbo is probably the pick of the range, with stronger performance, a better suspension set-up and a more generous kit list than the more modest versions. It’s still not involving enough to be considered a genuine performance coupe, and can’t match the quality finish of a VW Scirocco, but if you’re looking beyond VW then the Veloster is worth considering as a left-field alternative to the Astra GTC.
Our reviews are based on hard data and thorough testing in the real world.
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