[Review] Hyundai Veloster Turbo

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The recent news by LTA on the re-categorization of COE has sent many dealers scrambling to empty their existing stocks, and similarly, pushed buyers to snap up many of the current “CAT A to be converted to CAT B” cars. One such car is the Hyundai Veloster Turbo (or even the Hyundai Veloster 1.6 GDI). At 186 horsepower, it clearly breaches the 130 horsepower limit capped by LTA to CAT A cars.

When the Veloster was first launched, everybody was talking about it’s third hidden door and it’s unique design in the market, which puts it slightly below but on comparable terms with the Volkswagen Scirocco. Now, with the Turbo on the road, the twin-scroll blower adds to the hype and excitement of anyone who gets behind the wheel of this 186 bhp car.

Design

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Compared to the Veloster, one of the few changes that the Turbo has is the twin round-piped exhaust at the rear, a more sportier touch compared to the rectangular ones on the naturally aspirated version. Design aside, I must say this adds to the roar of the engine, which produces a significantly louder and aggressive growl compared to the non-turbo.

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The Turbo can also be recognized easily on the roads by it’s gaping front grill, which in my opinion, is a tad too much. It does look like someone who lost his ability to close his mouth, rather than the sleeker but less aggressive one found on the lower end 1.6.

The rims of the 1.6 GDI non-turbo Veloster has a strip of colour matching the body of the car, but this has been taken out of the Turbo – something which I feel is quite a waste. The strips on the rims are part of what I considered to be standing out compared to the rest of it’s class – it’s really a pity that you don’t get that on the Turbo now.

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The third door’s handle still proves difficult for some to find, but Hyundai maintain’s its stand on safety that passengers should enter/exit the vehicle on the side of the kerb.

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Comfort wise, the Turbo still rides as hard as it’s non-turbo sibling, and the rear isΒ still very inconvenient to get in. As I’ve mentioned before in my previous review of the 1.6 GDI NA, at slightly short of 1.7 metres, I never fail to bump my head even if I bend low enough to get into the back. So for those who are above 1.7, I would say you need to bend really low.

Features

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The Turbo packs as much features as its naturally aspirated brother, and I’d say it’s still one of the better equipped sports coupe in it’s class and for it’s price range. No optional equipments – what you see in the showroom is what you get – Bluetooth, reverse camera, touch-screen LCD screen, sunroof, LED daytime running lights, keyless-entry…the works!)

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This is the more interactive screen found on the 1.6 GDI. The Turbo no longer has these options.

This is the more interactive screen found on the 1.6 GDI. The Turbo no longer has these options.

The difference between the Turbo and the normal version, a minor one though, would be the system of the 7 inch LCD screen. The naturally aspirated Veloster had much more informative and engaging features and options, and even had a “fuel economy” game for you to beat your own high score. For the Turbo, all that was integrated was the radio station selection screen and the climate control. Period. Boring, in my words. And Hyundai still refuses to add in a GPS module.

Performance

This is the part where if you’re deciding between the normal and the Turbo, you should read carefully. Hyundai first brought in an MPI D-CVVT Veloster, which, at 130 horses, felt like the worst coupe on the road. Boy, if you ever considered that if it was on sale, I’d say you need to wake up. They then launched the naturally aspirated GDI version, which I felt was 140 horses put to good use. Now, with 186 horses at the bay, you have so much power to play with, but unfortunately in Singapore, nowhere to go.

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Evident from traffic light take offs, the Turbo pulls away from other vehicles effortlessly and seamlessly, leaving them behind unless you’re talking about a supercar you’re pitting yourself against. Power, like the NA version, is instantaneous at the blip of the accelerator or a flick of the paddle shifter conveniently located behind the wheel.

However, they always say that there’s a price to pay for the power you get. And with the Turbo, this is evident in the amount of fuel this monster guzzles. While records show the Turbo faring at close to 12 km per litre (we all know that such official records cannot be trusted), my calculations based on my day of travelling in this Turbo averages 10. It is extremely thirsty, compared to it’s rivals and others in it’s class, and will not fail to drain the money in your wallet as fast as it burns gasoline.

Conclusion

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No thanks to COE, this Turbo now costs a whopping $167,999, which honestly in my opinion, isn’t worth it at all at currently COE prices (well technically, any first hand car now isn’t worth it unless you have too much money to spare). However, compared to a continental RCZ or equivalent, this may not win in terms of insulation and quality but I guess it will win in the power-to-dollar ratio, design and features that the Turbo will offer.

Similar to what I have concluded for the naturally aspirated GDI version, this Turbo may not live up to your expectations as the best sports coupe, but it is certainly a notch above what we all expected for and from Hyundai. If you need the speed and the power for a car this unique, the Turbo would suit you. But if you’re more conservative on fuel and don’t wish to stuff so much money into the tanks, the 1.6 GDI would do just fine for $4,000 less.

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