2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Rally Edition Review
Don’t overlook Hyundai’s sporty hatchback.
In the four years since the Hyundai Veloster hit showrooms, the car hasn't managed to attract much of an enthusiast following. Even the optional punchy turbocharged engine couldn't draw our attention away from similarly priced cars like the Fiat 500 Abarth, Ford Fiesta ST, and Honda Civic Si. But when Hyundai recently dropped off a Veloster at the AUTOMOBILE office, we wondered if we might be ready to change our tune. The car wore matte blue paint, imitation carbon-fiber trim, and lightweight 18-inch Rays wheels, and it came equipped with an upgraded suspension. Perhaps the Hyundai Veloster Turbo has more performance hidden beneath its unusual bodywork than we thought.
This particular 2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo features the racy new Rally Edition package, which is limited to just 1,200 units. The car's springs and shock absorbers are retuned, its front anti-roll bar is 0.16 inch thicker, and its six-speed manual transmission has a short-throw linkage from B&M Racing. We headed in search of twisty roads to see if those ingredients make for a truly sporty car.
The 1.6-liter turbo-four engine immediately answers in the affirmative. Lag- and surge-free, the punchy mill hustles the 2,877-pound 2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo with enough verve that even we jaded speed-freaks crack a smile. The transmission's ultra-short throws and positive engagements bring to mind the gearboxes on cars like the Subaru WRX, although we wish the clutch take-up weren't so light and vague. We wouldn't try to beat, say, a Volkswagen Golf GTI away from a light, but the Veloster Turbo is quick in everyday driving.
Unfortunately, all-season tires limit the Veloster's sportiness. Just as the upgraded suspension digs in to a corner, the Kumho Solus TA31 tires squeal, squirm, and slide. The Veloster is plenty fun to drive on curving pavement, but it's no apex hunter.
Performance aside, the 2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo is a wholly useful and practical car. Its unusual three-door design means the car can keep its cool coupe-like looks on the driver's side, while still allowing passengers to access the back seat easily from the other side. Once seated in back, passengers have plenty of legroom (only 1.4 inches less than in Hyundai's Elantra sedan), although headroom is tight. The wide, deep trunk is more spacious than in the Elantra and easily accommodates a bicycle if you fold the 60/40 split rear seats. However, the extremely high liftover height means we'd be loath to move heavy objects in and out of the trunk on a regular basis.
If "late-apex" and "heel-toe" are in your vocabulary, you're probably better served by a car like the Ford Fiesta ST. For most people who want a practical daily-driver with a dollop of sportiness and style, the 2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo is a fun compact car that shouldn't be overlooked. Its unusual design stands out from the crowd and its energetic driving demeanor will keep drivers engaged behind the wheel, yet its affordability and practicality make it a car any buyer can live with.
2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Rally Edition Specifications
- On Sale: Now
- Price: $24,775
- Engine: 1.6L turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4/201 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 195 lb-ft @ 1,750 rpm
- Transmission: 6-speed manual
- Layout: 3-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD hatchback
- EPA Mileage: 25/33 mpg (city/hwy)
- Suspension F/R: Multilink, coil springs/torsion beam, coil springs
- Tires: 225/40R-18 Kumho Solus TA31
- L x W x H: 167.3 x 71.1 x 55.1 in
- Wheelbase: 104.3 in
- Headroom F/R: 104.3 in
- Legroom F/R: 43.9/31.7 in
- Shoulder Room F/R: 55.6/54.0 in
- Cargo Room: 15.5 cu ft
- Weight: 2,877 lb
- Weight Dist. F/R: N/A
- 1/4-Mile: N/A
- Top Speed: N/A