2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: Sport Hatchback

By Frank A. Aukofer, February 5th, 2016

If you hanker after a sports car experience but want to minimize negative consequences, you might want to take a look at the 2016 Hyundai Veloster R-Spec.

Sports cars, for all of their driving enjoyment, have built-in downsides. Some, like various Porsche models, are way expensive. Others, like the Alfa Romeo 4C, are so racetrack-oriented that they're noisy and challenging to enter and exit. The new Mazda MX-5 Miata comes close to sports car perfection but comes with only two seats.

So what's a family person with a kid or two to do? A so-called "Plus Two" with a vestigial cramped back seat doesn't cut it, and even some sports coupes like the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S, which do have small back seats, require a good bit of effort to enter and exit.

Of course, you can always seek what enthusiasts call a "hot hatch" like a Volkswagen GTI or Mazdaspeed3, but for all of their performance, they're a bit boxy looking.

strong>Then there's the Veloster R-Spec: It looks like a sports coupe with racy, flowing lines. And it also delivers a real back seat and a third door on the right side that allows entry with little effort. That back seat can accommodate two medium-sized adults with little discomfort. Head and knee room are okay but not generous, though noggins are in danger on rough roads because they nearly touch the rear window.

Practicality doesn't end with the back seat, because the Veloster also has a hatchback with 60/40-split rear seatbacks so you can have a third passenger cuddle back there with a load of whatever.

Nearly 16 cubic feet of cargo can be stowed behind the rear seat. Flop both rear seatbacks down and the space expands to more than 34 cu.-ft., way more than you'd find in a two-seater with a trunk or hatch.

strong>Four versions are available: the base model with a 138-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and three models boasting a turbocharged 201-hp, 1.6-liter engine. They are the R-Spec, Rally Edition, and Turbo. The last can be ordered with a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission; the R-Spec and Rally Edition come only with a six-speed manual.

Though it has a sporty personality, the Veloster R-Spec qualifies also as an inexpensive economy car. The well-equipped model tested for this review had a sticker price $22,425. That includes an array of equipment, a standard practice with the South Korean manufacturers Hyundai and Kia, which deliver many features that cost extra in other cars. Moreover, like other Hyundai models, the Veloster comes with a five-year, 60,000-mile overall warranty and 10 years or 100,000 miles on the drivetrain.

The R-Spec's equipment list included 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, LED taillights, rearview camera, air conditioning, power windows, remote power locking, SiriusXM satellite and Pandora radio, Bluetooth connectivity, iPod and USB outlets, cruise control, and redundant steering wheel audio controls.

However, the test car lacked automatic climate control or a navigation system. Both are available as part of combined style and tech packages that also include a panoramic glass sunroof, automatic headlights, and backup warning sensors. Together, they cost $4,200, which makes the R-Spec a bit pricier.

The tester's upholstery was vibrant cloth trimmed with red vinyl. Front seats delivered solid support; the back seats also were relatively comfortable, though the tight space might not be suitable for long trips.

On the road, the Veloster R-Spec is mostly delightful. The turbo engine delivers good acceleration, with a 0-to-60 mph time of around 7 seconds and a governed top speed of more than 130 mph. Competent handling is aided by brake-induced torque vectoring.

Outstanding, as in other Hyundai models, is the six-speed manual's slick shift linkage. You can puddle around town like a European cab driver, effortlessly up- and down-shifting at low revs to save fuel. Or you can get your foot in it and slam the shift lever through the gears up to the tachometer's redline. City/highway/combined fuel economy is rated by the government at 25/33/28 mpg.

The Veloster R-Spec may not be the world's greatest sports car, but for the money and practicality, there's little competition.


Base price $22,425 (as tested: $22,425)
Curb weight 2,932 lbs.
Displacement 1.6-liter
Engine type 16-valve turbocharged 4-cyl.
Epa mileage rating 25 mpg city, 33 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 13.2 gal.
Horsepower (net) 201 at 6000 rpm
Overall length 167.3 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 195 at 1750 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Vehicle type 4-passenger FWD compact sports hatch
Audi A5 Coupe: Slick, Swift and Svelte for Refined Tastes


Audi A5 Coupe: Slick, Swift and Svelte for Refined Tastes

The all-new 2018 Audi A5 Coupe presents a degree of finesse and sophistication few other models in its category can match. The fluidity of its exterior styling, the gracious accommodations of its interior features and the quietly competent way it moves, mark the A5 as a singularly desirable coupe.

Ford F-150: Working to Stay the Best Truck in the Biz


Ford F-150: Working to Stay the Best Truck in the Biz

Still amazing after all these years, Ford's venerable F-150 pickup remains America's best-selling automobile -- bar none. In fact, Ford tells me that they sold 245,923 more F-150 pickups than its competitor Chevrolet sold of the Silverado for 2017.

Chevrolet Cruze: Wide Lineup of Sedan, Hatchback Offerings


Chevrolet Cruze: Wide Lineup of Sedan, Hatchback Offerings

The Chevrolet Cruze is praised for its handsome exterior styling and upscale interior touches. Since it was first introduced to buyers back in 2011 the Cruze's demeanor on the road has made it a popular compact car choice.

Off Lease Vehicles

Hundreds of one owner, off-lease cars, trucks & SUVs with low mileage at a great price!

Additional Resources

Most Researched

2018 Honda Accord EX
EX 4dr Sedan
2018 Jeep Cherokee Latitude
Latitude 4dr SUV
2018 Audi A4 2.0T ultra Prestige
2.0T ultra Prestige 4dr Sedan
2018 Toyota RAV4 LE
LE 4dr SUV
2018 Ford F-250 Super Duty XL
4x4 XL 2dr Regular Cab 8 ft. LB Pickup