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2015 Hyundai Veloster

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2/18/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 Hyundai Veloster adds a new RE:FLEX special-edition model available exclusively with Ice Pearl exterior paint. Packages have also been revised with the Style Package now including 18-inch wheels while the Technology Package adds automatic temperature control. The R-Spec is a new trim level and is only available in the Turbo model. It adds a revised suspension, a short-throw B&M sport shifter, optional red exterior accents, red/black cloth two-tone interior upholstery, R-spec badging and R-spec floor mats.

Research

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Hyundai Veloster is an asymmetrically designed hatchback with a three-door layout instead of the more common two- or four-door configurations. It is positioned as a sporty compact car and slots under the more powerful Genesis Coupe.

Overview

Most Veloster hatchbacks will come with a 1.6-liter I-4 producing 138 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque (132 hp and 120 lb-ft with the automatic) paired to a six-speed manual or a six-speed "Ecoshift" dual clutch automatic transmission. This engine prioritizes fuel economy with automatic-equipped cars achieving 27/36 mpg city/highway while manual models are rated 26/35 mpg. As a result, the Veloster doesn't perform well with sluggish acceleration due to an engine with very little power across the powerband.

For those looking more power, a turbocharged 1.6-liter I-4 with 201hp and 195 lb-ft of torque is available and is paired to a six-speed manual or a conventional six-speed automatic. This engine gives the car better acceleration, making it easier to merge and pass at high speeds. Fuel economy remains decent at 24/33 mpg with the manual and 24/31 mpg with the automatic.

Driving dynamics are a weak point in the Veloster, which doesn't deliver the sportiness that its aggressive, unconventional design exudes. Non-turbo models in particular have sloppy handling compared to its competitors while. Variants equipped with the turbocharged I-4 are slightly better due to a quicker steering system. Both models share the same suspension, which is decent for aggressive driving through winding roads; however, the tires Hyundai has specified for the car holds it back due to its "grip deficiency" and proved "woefully incompatible with the satisfactory chassis tune."

Interior space is decent with a large trunk and good front seat space. While the third door on the passenger side makes entry/exit easy into the back, rear seating is cramped and suitable only for people 5'10" and under or children due to the car's sloping roofline cutting into head room. Features such as a navigation system, panoramic sunroof, and an upgraded audio system are available but are bundled into expensive packages. Like other Hyundai products, the center stack controls are user-friendly, and arranged logically.

The 2015 Hyundai Veloster has a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars).

What We Think

The 2015 Veloster offers decent fuel economy and performance with the turbocharged I-4 wrapped in an unconventional package. In a 2013 First Test, we said that the Turbo drives well but isn't up to par with sport compacts like the Volkswagen Golf GTI. Its long list of standard and available features makes it a good value because it keeps it a lower price point than European competitors like the Mini Cooper S Hardtop. The quirky looks are also a selling point since it gives buyers a chance to own a car that looks like nothing else on the road. However, the gadgets and funky style come at the cost of driving dynamics since the Veloster's handling in base and Turbo guise come up short against the majority of its competitors.

You'll Like

  • Large cargo area
  • Strong turbocharged engine
  • Easy to use infotainment system

You Won't Like

  • Weak base engine
  • Tires lack grip
  • Cramped rear seats

Key Competitors

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

Rating

2 star

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