Car ReviewsFirst Drive

Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo First Drive

With Hyundai’s feet firmly planted in the automotive landscape, the Korean car maker has finally let its hair down. Enter the Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo, says Isaac Bober.

When Sexy met Angry is how Hyundai’s marketing team have described the birth of the Hyundai Veloster Turbo, and it makes proper sense. See, since the death of the Hyundai Tiburon, which looked stunning but was just too heavy for its own good, Hyundai has been without a halo car and the Veloster SR Turbo is that car.

After driving the naturally-aspirated version of the Veloster we were left thinking the chassis could handle more oomph. And that’s precisely what Hyundai’s engineers have given it, and they’ve let the designers loose on it too.

Priced from $31,990 (+ORC) the Veloster SR Turbo gets a long list of standard features other makers normally expect you to pay a lot more for. The list includes a panoramic glass sunroof (which robs rear seat headroom, mind you), seven-inch touch screen with sat-nav (and a three-year NAVTEQ MapCare plan), reversing camera, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity with audio streaming, 18-inch alloys, and electric driver’s seat slide and tilt.

There's not much besides some turbo stitching on the seats to tell you your in something a bit special

The Veloster SR Turbo also has a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating, six airbags, and Hyundai’s Vehicle Stability Management, which combines the Motor Driven Power Steering with stability and traction controls. It also features ABS with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. A reversing camera and alarm are standard.

Power comes from a turbocharged version of the garden-variety Veloster 1.6-litre four-cylinder which in this boosted form produces 150kW at 6000rpm and 265Nm of torque from 1750rpm–4500rpm. That’s a staggering 46 and 60% more power and torque over the normally aspirated engine.

Our test car came with the standard fit six-speed manual transmission (a six-speed auto with paddle shifts is an extra cost option). Lacking precision, it’s a good transmission but not a great one; we found ourselves often inadvertently grabbing third instead of fifth gear. Official fuel consumption is an impressive 6.8L/100km (or 7.6/100km for the auto).

The Veloster SR Turbo adds extra visual appeal via a body kit, 18-inch alloys, matte paint, and twin exhaust pipes mounted in the centre of the rear bumper. Not that the standard Veloster is a shrinking violet, but the Veloster SR Turbo looks hot. Having said that, the inside isn’t as visually aggressive as the exterior. Indeed, there’s only the Turbo stitching on the little-too-large seats suggesting this is something more than a garden-variety Veloster. The plastics are high quality, the dash layout is easy to use, and the fit and finish is on-par with anything from the Volkswagen Group, always a benchmark in quality.

The Veloster SR Turbo is a lot of fun to drive

Despite possessing almost twice the power as its brother, the Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo doesn’t feel, initially at least, all that different to the non-turbo Veloster. But, keep the revs north of 3500rpm and it comes to life with impressive grip and go. The bespoke Veloster SR Turbo suspension has been tuned for our roads and offers a firm ride but there’s just enough give over sharp-edged ruts that it won’t upset the ride. And the Motor Driven Power Steering, while totally feel free, offers decent weight when cornering.

PRACTICAL MOTORING SAYS

There’s no doubt the Veloster SR Turbo represents an impressive step for Hyundai. It’s loaded with kit and while it might not rival some established hot hatches it’s still a lot of fun to drive.

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HYUNDAI VELOSTER SR TURBO

PRICE $31,990 (+ORC) WARRANTY five years, unlimited kilometres SAFETY five-star ANCAP ENGINE 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder POWER/TORQUE 150Kw/265Nm TRANSMISSION six-speed manual (six-speed auto optional) BODY 4.22m (L) 1.79m (W) 1.39m (H) WEIGHT 1265-1347kg THIRST 6.8-7.6L/100km

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober was born in the shadow of Mount Panorama in Bathurst and, so, it was inevitable he’d fall into work as a motoring writer. He began his motoring career in 2000 reviewing commercial vehicles, before becoming editor of Caravan & Motorhome magazine. He then moved to MOTOR Magazine before going freelance and contributing to Overlander 4WD, 4×4 Australia, TopGear Australia, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, The Australian, CARSguide, and many more.