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2012 Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo review (video)

The 2012 Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo is the Korean carmaker’s first go at taking on the hot hatch segment in Australia. Lucky for Hyundai, it’s a cracking little car that is proving quite the competitor against its more expensive rivals.

2012 HYUNDAI VELOSTER SR TURBO – PROS AND CONS

PROS:

  • Feisty 1.6-litre turbo engine
  • Funky coupe/hatch design
  • Hyundai’s five-year unlimited kilometre warranty
  • Handling and ride comfort
  • Decent amount of technology and interior gadgets

CONS:

  • Not a lot of headroom or legroom in the back
  • No amount of electronics can replicate having a proper limited-slip diff
  • Steering and gear shift lacks quality feel

2012 HYUNDAI VELOSTER SR TURBO – OVERVIEW

The first bunch of Velosters – Veloster and Veloster Plus – were launched back in February 2012. Whilst at the launch of both cars, PerformanceDrive was given a live glimpse (video here) reassuring all motoring fans that the Turbo hatch-meets-coupe variant was on its way to Australia.

Well, it’s been on our shores for the best part of six months now, and it only takes one look at a busy road to spot one. And for good reason too. Let us explain.

First impressions of the Veloster Turbo are the engine is certainly feisty, the handling is agile, and it’s laden with gizmos and more creature comforts than a day spa.

Under the bonnet sits Hyundai’s GDi 1.6-litre engine, albeit with a nifty twin-scroll turbo bolted up. Power results in 150kW and 265Nm; a 46 per cent jump in power and a 60 per cent jump in torque over the naturally-aspirated variants.

Prices for the SR Turbo start at $31,990 for the manual, and $33,990 for the six-speed self-shifter. Unlike the Veloster and Veloster Plus’ dual-clutch auto, the SR Turbo auto is a conventional hydraulic unit.

2012 HYUNDAI VELOSTER SR TURBO – ENGINE SOUND AND 0-100KM/H VIDEO

2012 HYUNDAI VELOSTER SR TURBO – ACCOMMODATION AND EQUIPMENT

As soon as you open the driver’s door you’re greeted with two chunky sports seats with ‘Turbo’ insignia stitched into the seatbacks. Sit down and you’ll see they are certainly as comfortable as they look.

Entry into the rear is via the passenger side only. Head and leg room in the back isn’t as generous as most four-door hatches, but it’s something (if you’re not overly tall) your passengers can live with.

Both front and rear seats are nicely wrapped with leather that’s soft to touch, but certainly isn’t the most luxurious of hides.

The centre piece of the dash is a seven-inch LCD touchscreen that controls the four-speaker stereo and the satellite navigation system. Sound quality from the audio unit certainly packs a punch, thanks to a centrally-mounted front speaker, two tweeters, and a subwoofer. You can connect all of your audio needs via USB, aux-in, or stream via Bluetooth.

You might have heard us mention the Veloster is laden with loads of standard kit. The Turbo hatch-meets-coupe boasts features such as a reverse camera, keyless entry, rear park assist, day/night rear-view mirror, push button start, a tyre pressure monitoring system, and heated external mirrors.

Also standard on every SR Turbo is the very funky-looking panoramic glass roof with a motorised sunblind.

2012 HYUNDAI VELOSTER SR TURBO – DESIGN AND SAFETY

The Veloster is unique in that it offers coupe styling on one side (driver’s), and a convenient two-door design on the other. Hyundai calls this design ‘cool coupe meets smart hatch’. From the outside, it’s not something you notice about the car right away, not at least until people hop in/out.

Overall styling of the Veloster is quite aggressive, with flared guards all round, a low roofline, and a large open-mouth grille; it almost looks like a rolling clenched fist.

The rear diffuser, bespoke chunky five-spoke alloy wheels, and large centre-exit chrome exhaust tips also add to the masculine look of the Turbo model.

The SR Turbo is equipped with six airbags, including driver and passenger, thorax and full-length curtain airbags. For those with children in mind, there’s two child restraint anchor points in the rear. Like the regular Vesloter, ANCAP has awarded a full five-star safety rating.

2012 HYUNDAI VELOSTER SR TURBO – ON THE ROAD

The Veloster’s driving position makes you feel right at home. The low-slung seating position and supportive sports seats are excellent for tackling corner after corner.

Giving the throttle a lashing results in lag-free acceleration, making light work of zipping through traffic, or driving actively. The twin-scroll turbo boosts up almost instantly, providing a meaty mid-range that lets you pull from very low in the rev range – meaning you don’t have to constantly shift down gears to find power.

The Veloster feels surefooted and fails to present any significant torque steer, even under hard acceleration. There’s no fancy limited-slip diff, rather, Hyundai has tuned the stability control to detect and deter any slip.

While the gearshift is smooth and notch free, it does lack that rewarding mechanical feel purists will look for.

Rather than import the SR Turbo and sell it as is, Hyundai Australia has covered thousands of kilometres tuning its Sachs dampers and making sure the spring rates suit local conditions. The result is a ride that’s composed, and hard to upset. It’s certainly a good compromise of grip and spinal satisfaction.

2012 HYUNDAI VELOSTER SR TURBO – VERDICT

Given the SR Turbo is Hyundai’s first punt at the hot hatch market, the company had to ensure it was good. And it is. It’s a great little hatch/coupe that loves having its rev needle wound out and its nose pointed at a series of bends, all while you sit in a creatively-styled cabin that’s certainly not short of standard and desirable features.

Considering pricing starts from just $31,990, you get a lot of car for the money. While it’s not a hardcore hot hatch with proper front diff trickery or a snarling 2.0-litre turbo powerhouse (think Megane RS and Ford Focus ST), it doesn’t have the high price-tag cars like that command.

If your new car priority checklist looks a little like this: fun to drive; easy to drive; loads of standard equipment; sporty interior; funky styling; trendy; reasonably fuel-efficient; needs to be versatile, then the Veloster Turbo won’t disappoint.

2012 HYUNDAI VELOSTER SR TURBO – THE COMPETITORS

Volkswagen Golf GTI MK6 – 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder, 155kW/280Nm – 1360kg (three-door) – $38,990
The Golf GTI has a very long history of being a fun-to-drive hot hatch. It’s well built, and oozes trendiness and efficiency. The new Mk7 is due later this year.

MINI Cooper S – 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder, 135kW/240Nm – 1150kg (three-door) – $40,700
Whether you love the modern interpretation for nostalgic reasons, or simply because they’re cute to look at, there’s no denying the Cooper S is a cracking little hot hatch.

Citroen DS3 – 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder, 115kW/240Nm – 1165kg (three-door) – $29,990
Citroen know a thing or two about building fast hatches. The DS3 is possibly the closest thing you can get in Australia to Sebastien Loeb’s WRC weapon.

Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ – 2.0-litre boxer four-cylinder, 147kW/205Nm – 1257kg (86), 1256kg (BRZ) – $29,990 (86), $37,150 (BRZ)
Released in 2012, the little coupe has gone on to become a bestseller in its segment. And for good reason; it’s a damn good drive, and made for those who love tail-out action.

2012 HYUNDAI VELOSTER SR TURBO – SPECIFICATIONS

MODEL
2012 Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo

ENGINE
1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with GDI direct injection

ENGINE SIZE / COMPRESSION RATIO
1591cc / 9.5:1

BORE X STROKE
77mm x 85.44mm

POWER
150kW@6000rpm, 265Nm@1750-4500rpm

POWER TO WEIGHT RATIO
8.4: 1 (kg:kW)

KERB WEIGHT
1265kg

HEIGHT / WIDTH / LENGTH
1409mm / 1805mm / 4250mm

DRIVETRAIN
Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive

BRAKES
F: 300mm ventilated discs
R: 262mm solid discs

WHEELS / TYRES
F and R: 18- x 7.5-inch alloy, 215/40 R18

FUEL TANK CAPACITY
50 litres

FUEL TYPE
91 RON

FUEL CONSUMPTION
Tested average: 8.6L/100km
Official average: 6.8L/100km

PERFORMANCE
0-100km/h: 7.1 seconds

PRICED FROM
$31,990

WARRANTY
Five-year/Unlimited kilometre

Josh was one of the original co-founders of PerformanceDrive. His expertise is car culture and aftermarket performance. He was the editor at Hot4s Magazine for a few years, and has since worked at Fast Fours, Zoom, and as a journalist for The Project Group.