The Hyundai Veloster has always been a great car with a unique look. For 2018, it was heavily revised, but the basic look stayed the same. Hyundai promised many improvements, and since the old car was a lot of fun, we were intrigued.

The basic Veloster premise is that of a sport coupe with the added versatility of an extra rear door. The extra rear door remains only on the passenger side, making the passenger front door shorter than the driver door. For the restyling, the car looks leaner and meaner, with LED headlights and a more aggressive rear end. The roof line has been lowered and the A pillar has been moved back. The result is a more aggressive look that we like.

There are two main versions of the Veloster, the 2.0-liter normally aspirated model and the Turbo. There is also a very special limited-edition N model, but we decided to focus on the mainstream turbo version. The base Veloster comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine using the Atkinson-cycle for better efficiency and lower emissions. The 2.0-liter engine produces 147 horsepower at 6,200 rpm.

The Turbo comes with the same engine as before, a 1.6-liter turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder engine making 201 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 195 pound-feet of torque from 1,500-4,500 rpm. The great thing about this engine is that you can run it on 87-octane fuel and still make full power. Many other manufacturers make you run premium fuel if you want full power output. The Turbo’s engine is mated to your choice of a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. Both transmissions were developed in-house by Hyundai.

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All Veloster models offer torque vectoring control. This active cornering feature takes input from the electronic stability control and powertrain control systems to route the power through the front wheels for better handling. TVC uses wheel-speed sensors coupled with ESC algorithms to apply precise braking force to the inside front wheel during spirited cornering. This active braking redirects power to the outside front wheel in turns, reducing wheelspin for enhanced cornering grip and corner-exit acceleration. Overall, this reduces understeer and improves corner exit speed.

Veloster Turbos are fitted with a McPherson strut front suspension, coil springs, gas shock absorbers and a 24 mm front stabilizer bar. The rear suspension is a lightweight independent multi-link design with a 19 mm stabilizer bar and twin-tube gas shocks. The previous generation Veloster did not have independent rear suspension, so this is a big improvement. The new car also uses aluminum front steering knuckles for a total savings of 10.6 lbs. of reduced unsprung mass at the front suspension compared with the previous generation.

The result of all of these improvements is a car that is a blast to drive. With only 201 hp moving a 3,000-pound car, the Veloster is not super quick, but the way that the boost comes in makes the car feel quick and a lot of fun. Our car had the DCT automatic transmission, which produces ultra-quick shifts via the paddle shifters.

With the new rear suspension and the revised tuning, handling is much improved. The Veloster feels lively and planted, and you will now start looking for corners to attack. It will still understeer at the limit, but it is very manageable and the rear end can be rotated on demand.

The engine’s power output may not sound like much, but it is enough to keep a smile on your face. You will be really smiling at the gas pump, too, because the Turbo is amazingly fuel efficient for such a fun car. We easily averaged 35 mpg on the freeway without trying. With a gentle right foot, you can hit 40 mpg on the freeway, which is a number mostly hit by boring cars.

The other part of the Veloster that is attractive is the price. The Turbo starts out at $22,900, in the R-spec trim with a manual transmission. The top of the line Turbo Ultimate with the DCT transmission will cost you $28,150. Our advice is to get the R-spec, which is the cheapest and most fun version. It has everything you need and nothing more, and it is a blast to drive. There are not too many cars that will produce so much enjoyment for less than $23,000.

Specifications

Engine: 1.6-liter DOHC GDI Turbo Inline Four
Horsepower: 201 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 195 @ 1,500 – 4,500 rpm
Front suspension: Independent McPherson strut
Rear suspension: Multilink with twin-tube gas-filled shocks
Transmission: Seven-speed DCT
Axle ratio: 4.47:1 limited slip
Curb Weight: 2,833 to 2,921 lbs.
Base MSRP: $22,900

 

Image courtesy of Courtesy of Hyundai