The Hyundai Veloster is unique. It’s an adventurous and daring design, an interesting combination of hatchback with smart packaging, sport coupe with appealing quirks, and activity vehicle. If you want different, the Veloster is for you. Many vehicles have tried like this to be a combination of things, but we can’t think of any that have succeeded like the Veloster.
However, if it’s a jack of three trades, it’s master of none, and sometimes even feels like a coupe that makes no compromises, good mostly for young singles or couples. It’s definitely not a four-person commuter. It has one door on the driver’s side and a short rear door on the passenger side. Call it a three-door coupe or a four-door (not five-door) hatchback.
The standard engine is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder making 138 horsepower, with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a dual-clutch automatic, both good. Being based on the subcompact Accent, it gets a penny-pinching 27/35 miles per gallon City/Highway rating from the EPA. If you want more torque, and you might, there is Veloster twin-scroll Turbo that makes 201 hp and 195 pound-feet of torque, with a 6-speed manual or paddle-shifting automatic, which can handle the torque better than the twin-clutch. It can spurt to 60 mph in about seven seconds, with better brakes and grippier tires, and gets about three mpg less.
There’s also the Veloster Turbo R-Spec model with a firmer suspension, tighter electric power steering, B&M sport shifter and sporty interior trim. Meanwhile some things are stripped, such as the pushbutton starter, electroluminescent gauges, mirror turn signals, and leather heated seats.
New for 2016 are the standard 17-inch and optional 18-inch alloy wheels, black seats with yellow inserts, and a seven-inch touch screen with navigation, HD Radio, Apple Siri, SiriusXM Travel Link, and the latest Blue Link telematics.
In government NHTSA crash testing, the Veloster gets five stars overall with four stars in frontal impact and rollover. The IIHS rates it Marginal in the small frontal overlap test (telephone pole), Acceptable in side impact, and the top Good rating all other categories.