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2014 Hyundai Veloster

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 12/9/2014 Austin Lott

New for 2014

For the 2014 model year Hyundai introduced the Veloster Turbo R-Spec, which comes exclusively with a six-speed manual and gets chassis and suspension upgrades and a short shifter. The R-Spec loses some luxury features and is marketed as an enthusiast-oriented model. In addition to the R-Spec, the RE:FLEX replaces the RE:MIX from 2013 as the latest special-edition model that gets a unique body kit and exclusive exterior color options.

Vehicle Overview

The Veloster is Hyundai's controversially styled three-door front-wheel-drive hatchback that fits between the Accent and Elantra in the automaker's lineup. It offers a number of different trim levels with a 1.6-liter I-4 engine in naturally aspirated and turbocharged forms.

Summary

The 2014 Hyundai Veloster comes with a 1.6-liter I-4 mated to a six-speed transmission, which is available in automatic/paddle shift or row-your-own manual variants. The 1.6-liter I-4 makes 138 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. Buyers desiring more power can choose a turbocharged version of the same 1.6-liter I-4 that makes a healthy 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. Power is put to the pavement through the front wheels, and the EPA estimated the base engine to get 26-28/35-36 mpg city/highway, depending on transmission choice. The turbocharged I-4 is rated at 24/31-33 mpg, and the manual transmission is slightly more efficient on the highway. A 7-inch infotainment screen, sourced from LG, brings a nice touch to the uniquely styled hatchback.

The 2014 Hyundai Veloster received a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars), and in IIHS testing it received three ratings of good, one of acceptable for the side impact test, and one of marginal for the new, more difficult small front overlap test (the highest possible rating is good).

What We Think

In a First Test of a 2012 Hyundai Veloster, we commented on the lack of headroom in the back for people over 6 feet tall but noted the decent legroom. We pined for a turbo model, as the base engine feels underpowered, and we didn't have to wait long. "We drove the Veloster Turbo for several hundred miles, on challenging Southern California canyon roads and traffic-choked highways, and for a couple of spins around an autocross track. When we were done with that, we took it out and gave it a good ol' fashioned MT test flogging. So how hot is this hatch? Warm to the touch, but not scalding," we said in a First Test of a 2013 Veloster Turbo. "Surprisingly, beyond the turbocharger, Hyundai engineers didn't exactly pile on the performance-themed updates. There were zero upgrades to the base car's suspension." In a six-way comparison among "oddball" segment-defying cars, we lined the Veloster up against the Mini Cooper, Scion tC, Honda CR-Z, Volkswagen Beetle, and Fiat 500, and the Hyundai finished fourth, ahead of the Fiat and Scion. We said, "Wins on quirkiness hands-down, and is practical to boot, but the body makes promises the chassis can't keep." To top it off, it was the only car in the test whose observed fuel economy was lower than its EPA city rating.

You'll Like

  • Bold styling
  • Turbo model
  • Hatchback is versatile

You Won't Like

  • Controversial styling
  • Performance trims don't deliver what their names suggest
  • Poor observed fuel economy

Key Competitors

  • Mini Hardtop
  • Honda CR-Z
  • Scion tC
  • Fiat 500

Rating

2 star

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