What is it?
The best value sports car on the market.

What’s in it?
A 150 kilowatt turbocharged 1.6-litre with a six-speed manual.

Is it thirsty?
I used 11 litres per100 km in the city, 6.7 in the country. The official combined figure is 6.8.

Thumbs up
Value, spirited performance and the clever passenger-side rear door.

Thumbs down
A space-saver spare, limited rear vision.

Hyundai Veloster Turbo aYour kind indulgence please, I wish to rail against car designers. Specifically those who design doors. They’ve been doing this for a century and yet every time you get out the door slowly sinks back against your shins. When do we get a car door that doesn’t bounce back?

And how come the hand grips they provide to pull the door shut are always out of reach?

These people should study Hyundai’s Veloster. Okay, the door stays are no better than average but the hand grip is big, good looking and in exactly the right spot for doing its job. In this subject one out of two rates a distinction.

The Veloster is a most impressive thing when turbocharged. The value it presents is truly compelling, and when turbocharged it goes as aggressively as it looks.

It costs around $3000 more than a similarly specified non-turbo model (prices start at $27,108 for the base non-turbo model) but you’re getting a 45 per cent increase in power and a lift of more than 50 per cent in torque. This makes a car that’s already good looking into something genuinely interesting to drive.

In the non-turbo model I recorded acceleration figures that could be beaten by a Corolla, but this one brought an improvement of close to four seconds, marking it as a genuine proposition against practically anything south of $50,000.

And the really good thing is that it has handling and braking to match its performance. You may find it a little lumpy when chucking it into demanding corners but its ability to hang on all the way around is good. A Mini will show it a clean pair of heels but it will hold its own against anything else within 15 grand.

And while the ride is certainly firm, it’s entirely liveable.

The motor is a nicely flexible 1.6 that winds up quickly once on turbo boost, and it’s connected to a six-speed manual that, while it can get a little notchy, is appropriately fast. A six-speed auto is $2000 more.

The Veloster has a nicely sporty interior and the turbo gets leather treatment and a powered driver’s seat as well as a full-length sunroof. It also gets an extra door on the passenger’s side, giving far easier access to the rear seat.

At first having two doors on one side and just one of the other seems weird. In practice it works very well indeed.

Published May 2013



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