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Veloster Turbo adds performance, lacks passion
By Colum Wood
If there is a single complaint to be made about the Hyundai Veloster, itís that it simply doesnít have enough power. The solution, it seems, would be to strap a turbocharger to the small 4-cylinder and increase engine output by roughly 50 percent. With Hyundai having done just that in the all-new 2013 Veloster Turbo, itís now apparent that thatís not all it needs.
Thereís nothing inherently wrong with the Veloster Turbo. In fact, itís quite impressive Ė or at least it is with a stick shift. The issue is that itís a calculated take on building an enthusiasts car.
So whatís missing? Lots actually. Thereís no limited slip differential, no upgraded suspension components, no high performance summer tires and no exhaust note. In short, thereís no passion.
Thereís an absence of those finishing touches, the bits you know wound up on a car because someone at the company desperately wanted it to be the fastest, the coolest or the most fun.
TURBO ENGINE DELIVERS THE GOODS
And yet the Veloster Turbo is still fast, fun and good looking. Powering the car is a twin-scroll turbocharger thatís been mated to the brandís 1.6-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder making 201 hp at 6000 rpm and 195 lb-ft of torque at 1750 rpm. Combined with a curb weight of 2,800 lbs, it hustles Ė although again that depends upon the transmission. Unlike the standard Veloster there is no dual-clutch automatic, and in its place is a conventional torque converter auto-box. That unit just seems to zap power from the engine making it feel like the power rating is closer to 160 hp.
Thatís hardly the worst feature of the automatic, however. No, its biggest transgression towards performance is how the typical delay in power delivery associated with an automatic seems to upset the carís balance when cornering. As mentioned, no changes have been made to the Velosterís suspension components and it is perhaps that, as well as the added 88 lbs of weight the automatic adds over the front axle, that results in a tipping point when the power engages mid-corner, inducing understeer and resulting in an unnerving sensation.
STICK-SHIFT HELPS BRING THE CAR TO LIFE
Swapping for the stick-shift and itís hard to believe this is even the same car. Along with being lighter up front, with a manual youíre always in the right gear and the car sets nicely in corners and tracks true.
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