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Hyundai Veloster

Lots of style, lots of fun, not much money.

Like the Nissan Cube, Hyundai’s sporty little Veloster hatchback casts aside design symmetry in favor of practicality. Whereas the Cube’s asymmetrical rear corners assist outward visibility, the Veloster’s asymmetrical side doors (one on the left, two on the right) assist entry into the back seats while allowing the car to have a coupelike side profile. Based on a combination of Accent and Elantra architecture, the Veloster stands out from the rest of Hyundai’s lineup — and the rest of the new-car market — thanks to its bold styling and clever packaging. It’s more than a fresh face, however. The Veloster offers features that will appeal to its youthful target market: Bluetooth, Blue Link (basically, Hyundai’s version of GM’s OnStar system), and compatibility with Pandora internet radio. Enthusiasts will appreciate how the relatively light Veloster handles corners, although it’s not quite as playful as a Mini Cooper. A turbo engine is new for 2013, and it should better satisfy speed freaks who were disappointed by the 138-hp base unit; the Turbo also adds fancy fittings such as leather upholstery and LED head- and taillamps. A dual-clutch automatic is a $1250 stand-alone option, but it unfortunately feels as sluggish as a conventional automatic. The solution is simple: buy a Veloster with a manual and enjoy the heck out of your cool new car.

COMPETITORS

Honda CR-Z

Mini Cooper

Scion tC

Volkswagen Beetle

new for 2013

The feisty new Turbo model makes the Veloster much more of a serious performer. It looks more distinctive, too, with LED lighting and available (high maintenance) matte gray paint. The nonturbo Veloster stands pat.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, front side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; traction and stability control, the Blue Link telematics system, brake assist, and tire-pressure monitors are standard.

High Mileage

MPG

CITY 25–29

HWY 34–40

PRO

Sporty character

Eye-catching styling

New Turbo model quickens the pulse

CON

Reluctant to dance

Dual-clutch automatic transmission shifts slowly

Base Price Range: $18,225–$23,725

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Front-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: Veloster, Veloster Turbo

BODY STYLE: Hatchback, 4-passenger

ENGINES: 1.6L I-4, 138 hp, 132 lb-ft

1.6L turbo I-4, 201 hp, 195 lb-ft

TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: 89.8 cu ft

CARGO SPACE: (rear seats up/down) 15.5/34.7 cu ft

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