2014 Hyundai Veloster Turbo (Photo courtesy of Hyundai)
We have watched Hyundai with great interest since the Korean company started selling cars in the U.S. in 1986, but we’ve been especially fascinated the last few years as it went from being the butt of jokes to being an industry leader.
One of the things that seemed to set Hyundai apart from the crowd is how it has addressed some of what we believe are important building blocks in the industry.
For example, quality, performance, design and innovation were each developed with unique ideas that have helped advance the brand in the market, giving consumers the things they are looking for in a new car.
We recently renewed our acquaintance with the spunky little Hyundai Veloster and could easily see how it fit with those building blocks.
From the time the Veloster was first introduced, the only significant criticism we’ve had was that we thought it needed more power.
For most shoppers, it had enough power, but for driving enthusiasts, it was weak.
That is where the Hyundai Veloster Turbo comes into the mix.
The Veloster Turbo looks different, thanks to a few features like a unique front fascia and grille, turn signal indicators in the side-view mirrors and the 18-inch wheels with chrome accents.
However, the big difference is under the hood. It has same 1.6-liter direct injection engine, only with the addition of a twin-scroll turbocharger that pressurizes the input with 18 pounds per square inch of turbo boost.
The result is a 46 percent increase in horsepower to 201 and 195-pound foot of torque.
The original naturally aspirated engine made the 0 to 60 miles per hour run in a respectable 8.8 seconds, and turbo drops that time to 6.8 seconds. The turbo engine is rated at 24 miles per gallon in the city and 35 mpg on the highway with the six-speed manual transmission. The automatic drops the numbers to 24 and 31 mpg, respectively.
It is also nicely balanced with driving enjoyment that compares favorably with cars like the Volkswagen GTI, Mini Cooper S and Fiat 500 Abarth. Thanks to the extensive use of high-strength steel and other weight-saving technologies, the Turbo also has the lowest weight to power ratio of cars in this class. Also, we didn’t experience any torque steer during our time behind the wheel.
The Veloster Turbo has one of the largest interiors in the category and the cargo space is a class leading 15.5 cubic feet or 34.7 cubic feet when the rear seat backs are folded.
With its unique four-door hatchback configuration, access to the rear seat is very easy, and there is room for two average size adults in the rear.
The 2014 Veloster Turbo, which is priced at $23,075, including the destination charge, has two available options, a six-speed automatic transmission with wheel-mounted shift paddles and the ultimate package that adds navigation with rear-view camera, a panoramic sunroof, backup warning sensors, automatic headlights and a 115-volt outlet.
For 2014, all Veloster models get a standard rearview camera, driver’s blind-spot mirror and daytime running lights. The Turbo adds standard torque vectoring. This active cornering feature, utilizing capabilities from the electronic stability control and powertrain control systems, allows it to improve dynamic cornering during more enthusiastic driving.
Another significant new feature for 2014 is Blue Link Assurance package, Hyundai’s telematics services program that is standard on all 2014 Velosters equipped with Blue Link.
The program provides Hyundai owners with proactive safety and car care services via the Blue Link system. These services include automatic collision notification, enhanced roadside assistance, automatic diagnostic trouble code notification, monthly vehicle health report and in-vehicle car care maintenance scheduling.
Last year, when Bill was at the Turbo introductions he asked Hyundai officials how they could put so many features in the Veloster Turbo and still keep the price point so low.
They explained they were able to do it mostly by keeping the build process simple. By making nearly all features standard, they didn’t have to build each car differently, therefore saving money and time.
Of course, that also means all the customers get a fully loaded car – that’s a big plus.
The Veloster Turbo is a good example of Hyundai building a quality car with competitive performance and distinctive design that is loaded with innovations.