The Hyundai Veloster is not new, and if you've driven one, chances are, you've been underwhelmed. It's a svelte hatch that's been puttering its way through crowds that should have easily parted. For two years, it's lacked the "oomph" factor that such a car would need to succeed.
But it's not like Hyundai doesn't know how to do this. The Tiburon and Genesis are two examples of peppy crowd-pleasers. So clearly, the Veloster needed a turbo. That's the only logical conclusion. And now, here it is. The 2013 Veloster Turbo.
Making a decent car less dowdy requires an external makeover, as well as internal, so it's obvious from the start that this Veloster is different. Its presence is illuminated by front LEDs, aggressive side-skirts, 18-inch alloys and dual exhaust tips. Also, Hyundai gives buyers the option of matte gray paint, which is a nice, and different, touch. (Matte paint jobs are popular on motorcycles and with the aftermarket crowd, especially on imports, but they've never really caught on with car manufacturers.)
Although bolting a twin-scroll turbo to the 1.6-liter 4-cylinder takes the Veloster from a miserly 138 to a more respectable 201-horsepower. The Veloster Turbo also comes with a 6-speed manual (an upgrade over the 5-speed that comes standard on the non-turbo model), but another grand will get the buyer a 6-speed automatic. The extra gear takes advantage of the turbo power, but it also helps the car run more efficiently at highway speeds. Hyundai says that about 30-percent of the Veloster's customers are satisfied with the manual option, compared to the nationwide average of just 7-percent [source: Schultz]. That stat is for both turbo and non-turbo Velosters, but it's as good an indication as any that the Veloster's got a chance to find its niche.