The turbocharged version of the Hyundai Veloster, tagged the SR, has only been in Australia a few months but is already generating plenty of sales.
When launched in non-turbo format in February 2012 the Hyundai that looked like a coupe on one side and a five-door hatch on the other created a huge number of stares and comments during our entire test period.
Some felt it needed more power, though others said it had the sort of engine performance that pleased drivers who enjoyed the decision making necessary to keep their Veloster in the correct gear to get the best out of the 103 kilowatts of power on offer.
They also appreciated the low price tag of the non-turbo - it began at an appealing $23,990 in six-speed manual format.
Veloster SR Turbo 1.6-litre four-door hatch starts at $31,990 (manual) and $33,990 (automatic). Our test cars over the last two weeks had each type of transmission. Standard features include USB and Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, steering wheel controls, reversing camera and rear parking sensor. And there’s a five year unlimited km warranty.
There’s now a choice in Veloster engine power thanks to the introduction of a high(ish) performance SR model that began just six months later. With a 46 per cent increase in power (to 150 kW) and an even more impressive 60 per cent more torque (265 Nm) has a lot more poke.
The engineers at Hyundai have worked on a car with linear power delivery with top torque of only 1750 rpm – then continues at its peak until the engine reaches 4500 revs. That’s not so much a torque peak as a torque plateau.
On the road this means the Veloster SR has minimal turbo lag and a smooth push in the back that keeps on keeping on. But, if you’re looking for a drag racer in the manner of a Subaru WRX the Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo may not be your best bet.
Veloster SR Turbo is offered with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, the latter being a conventional torque convertor unit that can be manually controlled by paddles behind the steering wheel.
Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo is even more striking in appearance than the standard Veloster as it’s even more radical in its shape. The front grille is bigger and bolder, the fog lights have futuristic shaping to their surrounds, side skirts give the lowered look and the dark glass sunroof gives adds to the overall effect - especially if the black glass contrasts strongly with one of the bolder paint shades.
This is a four-seat coupe, not a cramped two-plus-two. Those with long legs and short bodies will be reasonably comfortable in the back seat. But back seat passengers of normal body height will suffer from the usual coupe complaint of lack of headroom.
Kids will be comfortable as far as space is concerned but won’t be able to see much to the side of the car due to the small, high-set rear-side windows. Then again, they have that giant sunroof to peer through.
The rear windscreen glass is directly above the back seats and created discomfort during the day in our home area of the Gold Coast. We strongly suggest looking at this aspect of the car if your plan is to regularly cart kids back there.
Crash prevention and/or minimisation devices include ABS brakes and the type of sophisticated electronic stability systems normally only found in expensive European cars.
If all still goes wrong you will be pleased to know the Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo gained a five-star safety rating in the ANCAP crash testing laboratory thanks to the use of six airbags and a body that’s strengthened in all the right crash protection areas.
As lovers of sporty driving we really appreciated being able to do our own gear changing with the manual. While the box isn’t as slick as we like it’s better than average for a front-drive car.
The automatic is slick and easy in its changes and was generally in the right gear at the correct time. However, as is the way of modern autos that are chasing minimum fuel consumption it was all too ready to head for a higher gear for our liking.
As this isn’t a full-blown sports coupe Hyundai has kept the price of the Veloster SR down by restricting engine torque to the front wheels to prevent wheelspin and understeer. The use of a fancy (expensive) differential would make for sportier handling at extremes. We did manage a chirp or two out of the front tyres under brutal acceleration, there’s still some element of fun built into the traction control system.
Handling is good as the Veloster SR has been tuned for Australian conditions, with Aussie and Korean engineers spending quite a bit of time in this country to sort it out during early stages of design.
Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo
Price: from $31,990
Warranty: 5 years/unlimited km
Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder, 150 kW/265 Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual or auto, FWD
Thirst: 6.8L/100km, CO2 163g/km