Hyundai Veloster Turbo: What a change!

By JAY WONG | 5 August 2015

The Hyundai Veloster wasn’t very well accepted in Malaysia following its official introduction in early 2012, and sadly it’s Gamma 1.6-litre MPI did little to entice – until the more potent turbocharged 1.6-litre GDI broke cover in Malaysia recently.

Our test vehicle was the Veloster Turbo, which slides in just under the range-topping Veloster Turbo Sport without the sporty decals, the orange “Turbo” side trim on the front seats and costing RM3,738 less at RM152,476.

The Veloster is simply and readily identifiable with its unique design that cannot be related to any other make or model and currently out-powers anything with a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine.

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For now, let’s forget about the rear door and all the emotions that come with it, focusing on the exterior in its entirety and how its sheet metal simply possesses a nice play of curves and creases on its sleek coupe-like body.

However, even with its aggressive 18-inch wheels, the wheel arches seem to continuously overwhelm them – almost as though they were screaming for a larger set of 20s to be fitted.

Under the hood lies a detuned engine for the European market, which means the 1.6-litre turbocharged mill dishes out 183bhp and 265Nm of torque, rather than 200bhp and 270Nm of torque found in South Korea.

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Nonetheless, the car’s power rates the highest in the 1.6-litre turbocharged category and brings about a new level of attraction to those who overlooked it when the car initially arrived in its naturally aspirated form.

But like all the other cars from South Korea, budding owners can rest assured that it’s going to be feature-packed for the money.

And it was, with its leather upholstery, panoramic retractable sunroof, keyless entry and push-start button, Mobis sound system, seven-inch touch screen reverse camera and Bluetooth connectivity.

Suddenly, the Veloster seemed rather enticing.

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Just like all other Korean cars, getting in and out of the car means there’s a melody that welcomes and another to bid the owner a fond farewell.

As cute as it may seem, the cuteness level was a little too overwhelming.

The accelerator pedal mounted on the floor and the signal stalk on the left gave an undeniably European feel to the car.

The seats were nicely bolstered on the sides, but the backrest lacked that ‘cushy’ feel, leaving me with a stiff back.

Everything on the centre console is well laid out, easily legible and within relative reach, especially the Push-Start button that’s literally a poke away from the gear knob.

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If for some reason, the cabin seem a tad overly dark for preferences, at least there’s an option to allow more skylight or starlight in, thanks to the panoramic roof.

Starting up the 1.6-litre turbo mill is smooth and there’s a nice subtle drone emanating from the rear.

While we can’t vouch for the seven-speed Dual Clutch Transmission’s (DCT) smoothness, gear changes are at least quick during spirited drives with the engine willing to provide when pushed.

It’s quick and zippy around the bends, which is commendable for the coupe hatch with a torsion beam for its rear suspension, and once you’ve reached the car’s grip levels, the electronics will intrude quite pronouncedly.

It is during such spirited drives that the car tends to shine the brightest and with the availability of paddle-shifters, it simply compounds the level of fun that’s afforded by the combination of a stiff chassis and suspension.

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Although the car comes off as a fun ride and quite capable as an everyday commuter, those with a lead foot will need to keep a wary eye on the fuel gauge to make sure its fuel economy isn’t too adversely affected.

Furthermore, the driver’s seat height was found to be on the high side and eats considerably into headroom space – even for someone of my height at 175cm, giving taller occupants a hard time to find a good driving position.

Although arguably comfortable at the rear, passengers should be mindful when the boot is being closed to prevent the rear glass panel from hitting their heads.

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As a whole, the Veloster Turbo is ultimately a fun coupe hatch to own, rather than something that tends to demonise its driver when behind the wheel.

But for something that’s got the bells and whistles of most luxury cars and more power than the competition, the Veloster still remains something that’s ultimately unique and rare among its 1.6-litre turbocharged peers.

And when considering what it has to offer versus its price-point, the Veloster almost seems like a bargain.




CarSifu's Rating: 7.4