2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Rally Edition
Class: Sporty/Performance Car
Miles Driven: 407
Fuel Used: 12.7 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 22.0 mpg
Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 25/33/28 (city, highway, combined)
Base price: (2015 Turbo) $22,600 (not including $825 destination charge)
Options on test car: Technology Package ($2700), Turbo Rally Edition package (N/A)
|CG Report Card|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Room and Comfort||C+|
|Power and Performance||B-|
|Fit and Finish||C|
Price as tested: (N/A)
The great: Smooth, willing engine, sporty handling
The Good: Large driver-side door aids entry and exit
The not so good: Visibility to rear compromised by rakish roofline
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, they say, but you can teach a new dog old tricks.
Case in point: the 2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Rally Edition. When a manufacturer doesn’t make any fundamental improvements to its car, it can at least dress it up with a special springtime edition. It’s a tactic that has been employed since cars had crank handles, and as the Veloster Rally Edition proves, it’s a practice that’s not going away any time soon.
To the core Veloster Turbo the Rally Edition adds Matte Blue paint, 15-spoke black-finish Rays 18-inch alloy wheels, sportier suspension tuning, B&M Racing-brand shifter, blue interior accents, and “Rally Edition” badging on the floor mats and hatch lid. Just 1200 Rally Edition Velosters were to be built, according to Hyundai. Matte-finish paint is another old trick for the Veloster, having been available since the Turbo model was added to the line for the 2013 model year.
Otherwise, the Rally Edition is a Veloster Turbo through and through. It has the same 201-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed manual transmission as standard equipment. The chassis features Torque Vectoring Control front axles and “sport-tuned” power rack-and-pinion steering, and the body sports a specific “big-mouth” grille and rocker-panel aero extensions. Also included are heated power mirrors with driver’s-side blind-spot detector, rearview camera, remote keyless entry, chrome-tipped central dual-exhaust outlets, fog lights, heated leather seats, proximity key, push-button start, Bluetooth connectivity, Blue Link telematics system, 8-speaker audio with satellite radio, and electroluminescent gauge cluster.
So much for the nuts and bolts. Here’s how the car behaves:
- Turbo Velosters are considerably more eager than their weaker naturally aspirated kin, with nice throttle response and little in the way of turbo lag. The 6-speed shifter in the Rally Edition that Consumer Guide® sampled wasn’t as precise as this driver would have liked, however. His stint of 104.8 miles (75 percent in city-type driving) averaged 22.0 mpg—a bit underwhelming for a car with EPA mileage estimates of 25 mpg city/33 highway/28 combined.
- Handling is aided by nice, precise steering, and body lean is pleasingly restrained in turns. However, ride is pretty stiff and road imperfections, even fairly minor ones, register with a jolt.
- In cars without the optional sunroof (CG’s didn’t have one), head room goes from 39 inches in front to 35.3 inches in back—which is a pretty steep drop in a small car. This not-particularly-tall tester’s noodle came right up to the hatch.
- Front leg and shoulder room are just OK, but the same can’t be said for the rear seat. Aside from the tight head room, there’s limited leg room, and no more than 2 people will ever fit back there—even kids—because the center position is given over to built-in twin cup holders and a shallow tray.
- The Veloster is notable for its 3-door configuration, with rear-seat entry and exit through a right-side door. It may be safe, depositing passengers on the curb side, but ingress/egress is not easy. The sloping roof makes this door opening a scalp massager.
- Visibility is not so great. Rear-quarter windows narrow back towards the thick roof pillars. The straight-back view is hampered by a considerable obstacle: the spoiler that cuts across the car over rear hatch glass.
- Climate and audio controls (the latter displayed on a 7-inch touchscreen) are simple to reach and use. The steering wheel has handy thumb controls for audio, cruise, and several other functions. However, the big square door handles get in the way of power window and door-lock switches.
- Lots of soft-feel material is found on the dash and doors, but doesn’t carry over into rear-compartment sidewalls, which are covered in pretty austere hard plastic. Rally Edition blue accents found on the door handles, bolsters of the grippy front seats, and steering-wheel-wrap stitching break up what is otherwise pretty solid black.
- Interior storage consists of long pockets (with bottle holders) in the front doors, a small console box, a small glove box, and 2 open cup holders in the console. Net pouches on the backs of the front seats are the only substantial storage option for rear occupants.
- With the rear seats up, the cargo hatch holds 15.5 cubic feet of stuff. However, this space sits behind a very high lip, so cargo has to effectively be dropped into the trunk from above. There’s room for a few small incidentals in a compartmentalized tray below the cargo-floor mat. Rear seats fold fairly flat in a 60/40 split to expand cargo capacity.
In terms of ride, size, and perhaps execution, the expressive Veloster Turbo Rally Edition won’t be everyone’s idea of an ideal car. Consider, too, that the matte finish requires some special care to keep it looking like it was intended to be. However, the guess here is that there are probably just enough of them to find willing buyers for these tricked-out hatchbacks.
The Veloster is a little slicker than I recall. It seems to ride smoother, shift more precisely, and deliver power more effectively than did the earliest versions of this budget hot hatch. While the most ardent performance fans will wish for more power, the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine delivers plenty of punch, provided you’re prepared to do a little shifting for your spunk. As a big guy, I appreciate the Veloster’s 3-door arrangement. The big door on the driver’s side suits me well, while my wife and kid were able to easily access the car via the twin portals on the passenger side.
Shoppers looking for a bargain sportster with a practical dose of cargo space may want to add this funky Hyundai to their shopping lists. Note, however, that keeping the turbo in boost takes a serious toll on fuel economy. While our fuel economy wasn’t bad, it did trail the EPA estimates by a substantial margin.