Instead, Hyundai wisely leaves the suspension starching to the aftermarket. So, for once, you can opt for the high-horsepower model without being forced onto the bone-crusher suspension. Hyundai did speed up the Turbo’s steering ratio, from 14.2:1 to 13.9, which sends the Turbo veering into corners with more vehemence. We are informed that Hyundai is launching a major campaign to improve the generally mediocre dynamics of its vehicles, up to and possibly including building a new test track. Until then, the Veloster Turbo makes the best of the current situation.
It has plenty of grip for semi-enthusiastic corner chasing, and the wide stance and the relatively modest curb weight mean the roll isn’t excessive anyway. Hyundai’s automatic isn’t crafty about rev matching like some other autoboxes, and if the Turbo’s steering is more kinetic, it is no more communicative. Step up a few grand into the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ or even a Honda Civic Si or VW Golf GTI if you demand better controls.
Hyundai dresses the Turbo in street-punk clothes. The grille loses the base Veloster’s color band to become one big King Kong scream. Projector headlamps with LED eyeliner sit above pinpoint fog lamps. Rocker extensions and 18-inch razor-blade wheels flash the “Turbo” motif from the sides.
Things look best from the back, where two large, flush-fit exhaust chutes poke from the center of a faux undertray and below a body-color spoiler. However, the full reprobate look isn’t realized until you opt for the $1000 matte-gray finish, the company’s first ever glossless-paint option.
It’s expensive because the matte-finish cars must take an extra trip through the paint booth at Hyundai’s plant in Ulsan, South Korea, thus displacing another car on an assembly line that is already running flat-out, says Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik. In effect, you are paying to paint two cars, and availability will be tight, Krafcik warns.
Inside, heated leather seats with gray or blue accents and an embroidered “Turbo” logo join pushbutton start and a 450-watt stereo as standard. So are other items off the base Veloster’s options sheet, making the Turbo decently equipped at its $22,725 starting price. The fully frosted Turbo Ultimate with navigation—you can’t get nav without the $2500 sunroof, for some reason—will be $25,225. The automatic transmission adds $1000.
With the Turbo, Hyundai recognizes and celebrates the Veloster as a sporty car, not a sports car. If that sounds like damnation with faint praise, it’s not