2014 Hyundai Veloster Review

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The Car Connection
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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
August 8, 2014

The 2014 Hyundai Veloster is more sporty coupe than sports car; but with available turbo power and a standout three-door design it isn't short on excitement and flair.

The 2014 Hyundai Veloster carries multiple identities; it's at once a sporty coupe, a stylish three-door hatchback with innovative packaging, and a model that can almost provide the driving experience of a sports car, At best it's a superhero of sorts, and at worst it's a car that ends up feeling a little compromised in all those roles. 

For the 2014 model year, the Veloster gets closer to the sports-car label—with the new 2014 Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec, a leaner, stripped-down version of the Veloster Turbo that's configured for those who want a big step up in performance from the base model but could do without all the extra comfort and convenience features.

Relative to the Veloster Turbo, the Turbo R-Spec gets a stiffer suspension, different steering tuning, and a B&M sport shifter. Sportier interior trim and special badging are part of the new model's presentation, and it's offered only in Marathon Blue, Sprint Gray (exclusive to the R-Spec), Elite White and Ultra Black

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The Veloster remains mostly unchanged otherwise; and that's a good thing. As a synthesis of different types of vehicles, it's daring when its competition isn't, and that starts with its grabby, sport-shoe styling and arresting look that erupts from its unconventional four-door layout. There's a hatch in back, a driver-side door, and two smaller front-hinged doors on the passenger side. Only in the most generic way does it mimic some of the shapes of the Accent and Elantra that it borrows parts from. Altogether it's distinctive and energetic, with lots of disruptive lines and surfaces that never seems to run out of ways to entertain owners and onlookers. Inside, the Veloster is nearly as much of a trendsetter; it's put a V-neck on the Veloster's dash and tucked a big LCD locket in the middle—avoiding the clutter, and reconciling sporty and functional.

At the base level, the Veloster's 138-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine has been cribbed from the Veloster. On that model, it's teamed with a six-speed manual or a dual-clutch automatic, and they're both good enough for us to say that you should leave it to personal preference. It's a little short on torque off the line, but its EPA highway fuel economy of 37 mpg highway is excellent, and we saw more than 30 mpg in an extended test. Go for the Veloster Turbo and it's a different story entirely; it packs a twin-scroll turbocharger for 201 hp in all, a 195-lb-ft blast of torque on tap at low engine speeds, and a choice between six-speed manual and paddle-shifted automatic transmissions. good for 0-60 mph times of about 7.0 seconds or less, with just a slight crimp in gas-mileage numbers.

To fit the Turbo's greater power, these models get stronger brakes and stickier tires—which helps improve the Veloster's handling in general. We're not wild about the electric power steering; it's low on feedback, and weighty when it doesn't need to be, but it doesn't disrupt the Veloster's generally flat, crisp cornering, which gets unsettled only if it's pitched over bad sections of pavement.

The Veloster is quite spacious up front for two, even with the available sunroof or panoramic roof. As for the back seat and that catchy side door, they're more playful than practical. Anyone greater than child-size is going to find it tight back there. The Veloster just isn't meant to be a four-person commuter; think of it instead as a versatile two-door hatch, with rear seats that fold down easily to create a very useful cargo area. And there are plenty of bins, cubbies, and nooks for stowing away smaller items.

At a base price of well under $19k, the 2014 Veloster stands out for its generous list of standard features for the money. Audio features on all Velosters include a USB/iPod interface, RCA inputs, Bluetooth hands-free, and GraceNote music display technology that allows you to request music with voice commands. Upgrades on the Turbo model, which starts around $23k, include leather seats, big wheels and tires, a rearview camera, and more. Options include a huge panoramic sunroof, a navigation system, upgraded wheels, and a 115-volt outlet. Automatic climate control is newly optional in the Turbo for 2014, and daytime running lights are a standard feature across the model line. And as part of the Blue Link suite of services, the Hyundai Assurance Connected Care service is included for three years regardless of the level of subscription.

If you opt for the edgy Turbo R-Spec, you'll do without some features. Push-button start and proximity key; the electroluminescent instrument cluster, side-mirror turn signals, and leather heated seats are among the many items deleted in this focused performance model.

9

2014 Hyundai Veloster

Styling

The 2014 Hyundai Veloster breaks convention in many ways—and with a lot of conviction.

The Hyundai Veloster is a genre-buster by design. It dares to be a lot of things all at once. A sporty coupe, a versatile five-door, and a stylish oddity among small cars—it's really all of those, at once.

Since the two doors on its passenger side aren't matched by the single, longer one on the driver side, the Veloster is more than a coupe—a three-door or four-door hatchback, depending on the definition. In any case, it adds up to acres of personality. There's something adventurous and daring—something like a sport bike or a motorcycle—at work in its proportions and laid-back stance that telegraph all sorts of active-lifestyle signals in a way most of today's small cars can't.

The Veloster has such a standout design, the basic Veloster needs very little applique to change itself into Turbo drag--just some piano-black grille gloss, some side kit, some LED trim front and back.

Relative to the Veloster Turbo, the new Turbo R-Spec gets a stiffer suspension, different steering tuning, and a B&M sport shifter. Sportier interior trim and special badging are part of the new model's presentation, and it's offered only in Marathon Blue, Sprint Gray (exclusive to the R-Spec), Elite White and Ultra Black

Inside, the Veloster is nearly as much of a trendsetter; it's put a V-neck on the Veloster's dash and tucked a big LCD locket in the middle—avoiding the clutter, and reconciling sporty and functional. It looks to sport-bike design—especially in the details of its instrument-panel center stack, which takes cues from motorcycle fuel tanks. A big engine-start button sits at the bottom of the stack’s V—and just ahead of the shift knob—on all except the base model, while there are hints of a bike saddle in the center console, and the air vents are meant to look a bit like the ends of bike tailpipes.

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8

2014 Hyundai Veloster

Performance

Even with the perkier Veloster Turbo powertrain, this is more a sporty car than a sports car.

The Veloster builds on the powertrain of the Hyundai Accent, but it strikes out in its own direction—with an available dual-clutch gearbox in the base model, a perky Turbo model, and a new stripped-down, enthusiast-oriented Turbo R-Spec model.

At the base level, the Veloster's 138-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine has been cribbed from the Veloster. On that model, it's teamed with a six-speed manual or a dual-clutch automatic, and they're both good enough for us to say that you should leave it to personal preference. It's a little short on torque off the line, but its EPA highway fuel economy of 37 mpg highway is excellent, and we saw more than 30 mpg in an extended test.

Go for the Veloster Turbo and it's a different story entirely; it packs a twin-scroll turbocharger for 201 hp in all, a 195-lb-ft blast of torque on tap at low engine speeds, and a choice between six-speed manual and paddle-shifted automatic transmissions. good for 0-60 mph times of about 7.0 seconds or less, with just a slight crimp in gas-mileage numbers.

To fit the Turbo's greater power, these models get stronger brakes and stickier tires—which helps improve the Veloster's handling in general. We're not wild about the electric power steering; it's low on feedback, and weighty when it doesn't need to be, but it doesn't disrupt the Veloster's generally flat, crisp cornering, which gets unsettled only if it's pitched over bad sections of pavement. Brake feel is excellent, though, with confident four-wheel discs with slightly larger front rotors on turbo models.

You can throw the lightweight Veloster around tight corners, yet it stays composed over all but the most broken surfaces. Make a quick transition, and it simply hunkers down evenly, shifting its weight with no snap but an even, predictable attitude. The Veloster rides about as comfortably as those vehicles, or as any short-wheelbase car can, and Turbos don't fare much worse for their bigger 18-inch wheels and Kumho Solus KH25 215/40R18 tires.

All Veloster models this year get torque vectoring control (TVC), which should help improve performance in very tight corners; separately, Turbo models get an active sound enhancement system that should bring sportier engine sounds into the cabin while keeping others out.

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6

2014 Hyundai Veloster

Comfort & Quality

Rear-seat space and access is compromised by the layout, but there's more versatility than a coupe.

With a door at the rear, two on the passenger side, and one on the driver's side, the 2014 Hyundai Veloster has a layout that's anything but conventional. And yet it offers up a surprising level of space and versatility and passenger space—more than most coupes its size, for sure.

The Veloster is quite spacious up front for two, even with the available sunroof or panoramic roof. Tall drivers and passengers will fit just fine in the Veloster, even those over six feet tall, because its seats adjust for a wide range of heights (though the base seat doesn't tilt its bottom cushion) and since there's ample head room. The available sunroof shaves off an inch or so of useful headroom, though. Turbo Velosters have heated leather front seats, and an eight-way-adjustable power driver seat.

As for the back seat and that catchy side door, they're more playful than practical. Anyone greater than child-size is going to find it tight back there. The Veloster just isn't meant to be a four-person commuter; think of it instead as a versatile two-door hatch, with rear seats that fold down easily to create a very useful cargo area (albeit one with a rather high liftover). And there are plenty of bins, cubbies, and nooks for stowing away smaller items.

In an extended six-month stay with us, a 2012 Veloster proved itself a decent vehicle for weekend trips and longer highway hauls; wind noise could become an issue as we neared 80 mph, however. Turbos contribute a little more whine and bluster, but not an objectionable amount of added noise.

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8

2014 Hyundai Veloster

Safety

A standard rearview camera makes up for visibility issues; otherwise actual crash-test results are lacking.

Even though it's a relatively low-volume model, the 2014 Hyundai Veloster has been tested by the federal government, and earned quite respectable scores; with a body structure mostly borrowed from the Hyundai Elantra and a good set of safety features, we're quite confident in its occupant protection.

In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) testing, the 2014 Veloster earned five stars overall, with four stars for frontal impact and five stars for side impact. It hasn't been rated by the insurance-funded IIHS.

Whether you go for the 2014 Veloster or Veloster Turbo, you'll get a long list of safety features, including electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist, and six standard airbags. Non-turbo DCT models get Hillstart Assist Control, to help keep the vehicle from rolling backward on standing starts up steep inclines. And for 2014, a rearview camera system and a driver's blind-spot mirror are now included on all models.

Hyundai's Blue Link telematics platform is also included. BlueLink includes a suite of safety services like Automatic Crash Notification (ACN) and Assistance and SOS Emergency Assistance.

Backup warning sensors and a rearview camera system are available on the base version and standard on the Turbo; they're a big help, since the low-slung Veloster has huge blind spots to its rear three-quarters, a consequence of its wacky, innovative door treatments.

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10

2014 Hyundai Veloster

Features

The 2014 Veloster nails connectivity. From Bluetooth to Blue Link, it's all here.

At a base price of well under $19k, the 2014 Veloster stands out for its generous list of standard features for the money.

Audio features on all Velosters include a USB/iPod interface, RCA inputs, Bluetooth hands-free, and GraceNote music display technology that allows you to request music with voice commands. Upgrades on the Turbo model, which starts around $23k, include leather seats, big wheels and tires, a rearview camera, and more. Options include a huge panoramic sunroof, a navigation system, upgraded wheels, and a 115-volt outlet.

Automatic climate control is newly optional in the Turbo for 2014, and daytime running lights are a standard feature across the model line. And as part of the Blue Link suite of services, the Hyundai Assurance Connected Care service is included for three years regardless of the level of subscription.

Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system is standard on the Veloster, too. Similar in concept to a degree to GM’s OnStar, BlueLink uses existing databases to provide directions and information for drivers via voice requests, as well as safety services like Automatic Crash Notification (ACN) and Assistance, SOS Emergency Assistance, and Enhanced Roadside Assistance. A higher subscription levels it also includes turn-by-turn navigation capability. It's patrolled by live operators that ensure the cloud-hosted information is delivered properly; those operators can help if needed, unlike OnStar, where they handle every customer interaction. And for 2014 it includes Hyundai Assurance Connected Care service for three years regardless of the level of subscription.

Just two option packages, Style and Tech, are offered on the base Veloster. Style models add 18-inch alloy wheels; a panoramic sunroof; leatherette seats; leather trim; alloy pedals; an upgraded Dimension audio system; and fog lamps. The Tech Package adds backup sensors; painted wheel inserts; a navigation system; push-button start; and a 115-volt outlet. Oddly, an auto up/down driver's side window is only included if you order the whole Style package. Otherwise, one of the most significant price choices is the Dual Clutch (DCT) automatic gearbox, which runs $1,250 more than the manual.

The Turbo commands a $4,500 premium over the base car, and in addition to the stronger engine and steering, stopping, and suspension improvements, it gets a host of add-ons. They include heated leather seats, LED headlight accents and LED taillamps, a 450-watt audio system and 18-inch wheels.

The Veloster Turbo also makes some package equipment standard, like the rearview camera and parking sensors. The available navigation system and panoramic sunroof are options in an Ultimate Package. A six-speed automatic is an option too, for $1,000.

Also offered on the Turbo is Hyundai's first matte paint finish, complete with an owner care kit, priced at $1,000--and paired with the suggestion that only those who like hand-washing their cars should take on the maintenance of keeping the street look scratch-free.

If you opt for the edgy Turbo R-Spec, you'll do without some features. Push-button start and proximity key; the electroluminescent instrument cluster, side-mirror turn signals, and leather heated seats are among the many items deleted in this focused performance model.

Review continues below
8

2014 Hyundai Veloster

Fuel Economy

The Veloster gets up to 37 mpg on the highway, with Turbo versions scoring up to 35 mpg.

The 2014 Hyundai Veloster skirts the boundary between sporty, rakish hatchback and urban runabout, and provided you see it as that, it's one of the most fuel-efficient models you could get that packs in so much excitement.

The non-turbo Veloster is primed for good gas mileage, with either shift mode. It's rated at 27/37 mpg for the manual, or 27/35 mpg with the dual-clutch automatic.

Veloster Turbo models are less efficient, but manuals aren't as far off the mark as versions with a six-speed automatic. They're now rated by the EPA at 24/35 mpg (down from 26/38 mpg) with the manual shifter, and drop to 24/31 mpg (formerly 25/34 mpg) with the automatic. Because of the Turbo's high torque, Hyundai doesn't offer its efficient dual-clutch automatic on the more powerful Veloster.

We saw around 30 mpg over a six-month period with a base Veloster.

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November 14, 2015
2014 Hyundai Veloster 3-Door Coupe Automatic Turbo w/Black Int

Fantastic "little" car

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I managed to purchase a NEW 2014 Veloster Turbo in November of 2015. I got a fantastic deal due to the fact that it had been sitting on the lot so long, but it is a pretty good deal even at full retail. The... + More »
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