In 2012, Hyundai officially entered the hot-hatch segment in the U.S. with the release of the Veloster. Unfortunately, its performance was lackluster to say the least, but the release of the Turbo model in 2014 made up for some of that. The Turbo got a lighter, cheaper, and more track-tuned sibling in the form of the Turbo R-Spec. For the 2016 model year, the entire Veloster lineup receives a light refresh, including the R-Spec model.

This refresh is by no means one that I would call comprehensive, but it does give the R-Spec a little more character. What the public is really craving from the Veloster lineup is a sub-seven-second model that can compete with the likes of the Fiesta ST and Volkswagen GTI. But you can keep on dreaming though, as the 2016 Veloster R-Spec continues on with all the same greasy bits.

That said, does the Hyundai hot-hatch have a place in the market?

Click past the jump to read my full review and find out.
Updated 02/13/2015: We’ve added a series of images taken during the R-Spec’s official debut at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. Check the new images in the "Pictures" tab.

  • 2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    6-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    201 @ 6000
  • MPG(Cty):
    25
  • MPG(Hwy):
    33
  • Torque @ RPM:
    195 @ 1750
  • Displacement:
    1.6 L
  • 0-60 time:
    7.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    22500 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 617110

On the outside, the 2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec features many of the same modifications as the rest of the Veloster line, including a larger and bolder hexagonal grille up front. Also included in the updates are new ground effects, an updated rear bumper, and new diffuser vents. Additionally, giving the model a striking look at nighttime is an LED signature that includes eight individual diodes.

Setting the Turbo R-Spec apart from other Velosters is R-Spec badging on the rear hatch. Sure, it’s not much, but it’s something. It also gets a sharp red underline for good measure.

As for available colors, Hyundai has kept things very simple. The 2016 Veloster Turbo R-Spec is available in just three colors: Elite White, Ultra Black and Pacific Blue.

While I still think the Turbo R-Spec is an awesome little hatch, I think there could be a lot more done to set the R-Spec apart. I guess Hyundai decided to go the low-key route. I can respect that. Well, not really.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase 104.3 Inches
Overall length 167.3 Inches
Overall width 71.1 Inches
Overall height 55.1 Inches
Tread width 18-inch 60.9 / 61.4 Inches
Overhang 33.5/29.5
Minimum Ground Clearance 5.9
Coefficient of Drag 0.33

Interior

2014 Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec Interior
- image 533354

Inside the cabin, the Turbo R-Spec gets only one modification for the new model year: red seat belts. Otherwise, the cabin carries over with its red leatherette bolsters and red-and-black cloth seat inserts, and R-Spec-embroidered floor mats. There are also red accents on the armrests

Other than those few bits of R-Spec goodness, this model is sorely lacking any flair on the inside. While I understand the “sleeper” look on the outside, I don’t understand why the interior is so timid.

Interior Dimensions

Headroom (front/rear) 37.2 in. / 35.3 in.
Legroom (front/rear) 43.9 in. / 31.7 in.
Shoulder room (front/rear) 55.6 in. / 54.0 in.
Hip room (front/rear) 53.2 in. / 52.6 in.

Drivetrain

2014 Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 533348

Under the Veloster Turbo R-Spec’s hood is the 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder that produces a decent 201 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 195 pound-feet of torque from 1,750 rpm. This engine mates exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission with a short-throw B&M Racing shifter. Unfortunately, the Turbo model’s dual-clutch goodness isn’t an option on the R-Spec.

In the 2015 model, this drivetrain combination netted the Veloster Turbo a 0-to-60 time in the high-seven-second range, so I would expect the R-Spec to do about the same. That’s pretty subpar performance for what’s classified as a hot-hatch, but I think Hyundai is still trying to figure out this segment, so I’ll wait. For a while.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type Twin-scroll Turbocharger, Gamma DOHC D-CVVT (Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing) GDI (Gasoline Direct Engine)
Materials Aluminum block and head
Displacement 1.6L / 1,591 cc
Horsepower (est.) 201 HP @ 6,000 RPM
Torque (est.) 195 LB-FT @ 1,750 - 4,500 RPM
Valves per cylinder 4
Bore & stroke 77.0 X 85.4 (mm)
Compression Ratio 9.5:1
Transmission 6-speed manual
Fuel economy 25 mpg/33 mpg/28 mpg

Prices

Since the Turbo R-Spec isn’t close to hitting dealers yet, pricing is still a wildcard. Given there were no real cost-increasing updates, I assume that we’ll only see a mild inflationary price increase. In 2015, the Veloster R-Spec based at $21,600, and I wouldn’t expect to see the 2016 model to start any higher than $22,100.

Competition

Volkswagen Golf GTI

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI High Resolution Exterior
- image 548996

The Golf GTI is a special piece of hot-hatch goodness, perhaps even more so than its wicked brother, the R. The GTI rolls into this competition boasting German build quality and Autobahn testing, so the Veloster R-Spec can do nothing but sit back and take notes as to how the GTI does what it does so damn well.

Thanks to its 2.0-liter TSI engine that pushes out 210 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, the Golf GTI can hit 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. On top of that, it has the option of going with the traditional manual or the DSG dual-clutch gearbox.

Where the Golf GTI loses a little steam is in the pricing department, as it starts out at a significantly higher $24,785. While that is still a great bargain, it is a hefty hike over the Veloster R-Spec.

Ford Fiesta ST

2014 - 2015 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 518719

The Fiesta ST is a new addition to this ever-growing realm, and it delivers one serious wallop for such a tiny car. Its 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine produces 197 horsepower and 202 pound-feet of torque through a six-cog manual gearbox.

If you can keep the steering wheel pointed straight, you can eclipse 60 mph in the low-seven-second range.

On top of being quicker than the Veloster, the Fiesta ST is a good bit cheaper, at $20,945. So if you were shopping for the Veloster, you could snag up the Fiesta ST, then use the leftover cash to bump up the power even more.

Conclusion

I love that Hyundai is starting to make its way into the hot-hatch segment, but the Veloster and its Turbo R-Spec are just not there quite yet. Sure, the R-Spec is quick for your everyday hatchback, but it is priced along with some studs in the segment. In a few years, I can see Hyundai milking about 220 horses from that 1.6-liter and really competing, but until then the Veloster Turbo R-Spec is nothing but a really cool name.

  • Leave it
    • Still sluggish for a hot hatch
    • Not alot separates this from the Turbo
    • The Fiesta ST is cheaper and faster

Press Release

Hyundai unveiled a new Rally Edition, coupled with significant design, dynamic and connectivity enhancements to its Veloster coupe at the Chicago Auto Show today. The Veloster Rally Edition builds upon Veloster Turbo R-Spec enthusiast credentials, with a more performance-focused suspension, RAYS® lightweight wheels with wide 225/40R18 tires, carbon-fiber-look aero accents, unique badging and floor mats. The Rally Edition is a limited production run planned for 1,200 units, all in a stunning Matte Blue paint, guaranteeing exclusivity to its enthusiast owners. 2016 Veloster will be available at dealers in May 2015.

2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo High Resolution Exterior
- image 617108

In addition, the 2016 Veloster Turbo model now offers a performance-oriented 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT), a new machined-finish turbo-exclusive wheel design, a sportier seat design, enhanced electroluminescent gauge cluster and black headliner. The Veloster non-turbo receives a new 17-inch wheel design and available black seats with yellow accents.

Also for 2016, all Veloster models offer a revised hood appearance without vent accents, a dark gray grille surround, 10mm-wider tires fitted to all 18-inch wheels, and new audio/navigation system functions (HD Radio®, Apple Siri®, and next-generation Blue Link®).

All Veloster and Veloster Turbo models feature cutting-edge powertrain technologies like direct injection, optimizing their appeal to youthful customers by combining excellent fuel economy, spirited performance and low emissions without compromise.

SPORT BIKE TUNER INSPIRATION
In profile, the Veloster features “Fluidic Sculpture” character lines, muscular wheel arches, bodycolor door handles and mirrors, and wraparound headlights and taillights. Veloster’s dynamic rear design has a distinctive glass hatch and dual center-fascia chrome exhaust tips that complement the assertive front fascia.

2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo High Resolution Exterior
- image 617107

On the Turbo, the Veloster offers two distinctive, free-flowing round exhaust tips. Further, all Turbo models feature Active Sound Design, providing richer in-cabin powertrain sound character for an even more involving driving experience, especially during spirited driving.

From the bigger, bolder hexagonal front grille, ground effects, rear bumper fascia, and prominent diffuser vents, Veloster Turbo’s design adds aggression and aerodynamic stability compared with the base model. A new set of machined-finish 18-inch alloy wheels with argent spoke bevels add sophistication and sportiness to the side profile. From the front, Veloster Turbo reveals eight individual headlight LED accents, a feature typical on more expensive models.

Inside Veloster Turbo, leather seating surfaces with Turbo embroidering on the side bolsters help deliver a distinctive appearance while providing higher levels of comfort and support. For 2016, orange-accented seat bolsters are available with Ultra Black and Vitamin C exterior colors on the turbo model, and the turbo-exclusive electroluminescent gauge cluster has been enhanced, offering the driver information in a larger, clearer and more interactive format, with a larger TFT screen located between the tachometer and speedometer. Heated front seats are also standard on the Turbo version.

GAMMA 1.6-LITER DIRECT-INJECTED ENGINE
The Gamma 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine is the smallest Hyundai engine to use direct injection. This technology helps deliver more power, superior efficiency, lower emissions and higher reliability.

2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo High Resolution Exterior
- image 617106

With direct-injection, the Gamma 1.6-liter engine with manual transmission delivers a peak output of 138 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and maximum torque of 123 lb.-ft. at 4,850 rpm. The Gamma engine with dual-clutch transmission delivers 132 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 120 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,850 rpm. The Gamma also features Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing, an electronic throttle control, a roller timing chain, variable induction and innovative anti-friction coatings.

VELOSTER TRANSMISSIONS
Hyundai’s commitment to making the Gamma engine extremely fuel efficient continues by pairing it with a standard six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed EcoShift dual-clutch transmission (DCT) developed by Hyundai.

Hyundai’s EcoShift DCT takes the benefits of a manual transmission, including low fuel consumption, and blends them with automatic transmission benefits, such as high comfort levels and smooth shift quality. In addition, the EcoShift DCT enables direct connection for high efficiency and uninterrupted torque transfer during shifts.

This powertrain also has an Active ECO mode which modifies engine and transmission control for improved fuel economy. The EcoShift DCT also incorporates Hyundai’s Hillstart Assist Control (HAC). HAC is designed to minimize rolling backwards on steep ascents.

Veloster Turbo is paired with a standard six-speed manual transmission or a new for 2016 seven-speed dual clutch (DCT) automatic transmission. Both transmissions were developed in-house by Hyundai. The new Veloster Turbo seven-speed automatic transmission features steering wheel-mounted paddle-shifters and SHIFTRONIC® transmission gear control, and is more performance-tuned in comparison with the non-turbo model’s DCT. This transmission was specifically engineered to handle the increased torque output from the turbocharged engine. The non-turbo Veloster’s EcoShift DCT was tuned especially for fuel efficiency rather than the higher torque and performance calibration of the Veloster Turbo seven-speed DCT.

TURBO R-SPEC MODEL
The heart of the Turbo R-Spec is the responsive, 1.6-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged engine, along with unique design cues and enhanced chassis tuning. Sport suspension and steering settings have been retuned for optimum responsiveness, with higher spring rates and a more rigid transmission mount. The Turbo R-Spec offers a 6-speed manual transmission with short-throw B&M Racing® Sport Shifter for a tighter, more direct shift feel.

New for 2016, the seat belts for the Turbo R-Spec are now red, reflecting the model’s performance intent. Inside, red leatherette bolsters with red/black cloth insert sport seats complement special embroidered-logo R-Spec floor mats for a sporty ambience. On the exterior, R-Spec badging adorns the rear hatch. Veloster Turbo R-Spec is available in three exterior colors: Elite White, Ultra Black and Pacific Blue.

2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo High Resolution Exterior
- image 617106

VELOSTER TURBO PERFORMANCE
The 1.6-liter turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder engine produces 201 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 195 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,750 rpm. Veloster Turbo models feature Active Sound Design, which enhances intake and exhaust powertrain sound character inside the cabin for an even more involving driving experience. Turbo models generate 201 horsepower on regular fuel, which represents a best-in-class specific output of 125.6 horsepower per liter.

TURBO MODEL EXCLUSIVE: TORQUE VECTORING CONTROL
All Veloster Turbo models offer Torque Vectoring Control (TVC). This active cornering feature, utilizing capabilities from the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and powertrain control systems, allows Veloster Turbo to improve dynamic cornering during more enthusiastic driving. TVC uses wheel speed sensors coupled with ESC algorithms to apply precise braking force to the inside front wheel during spirited cornering. This active braking redirects power to the outside front wheel in the turn, reducing wheelspin for enhanced cornering grip and corner-exit acceleration. Overall, this provides Veloster Turbo drivers with an incremental margin of cornering precision during enthusiastic driving.

Veloster Turbo also features a quicker-ratio steering rack and a revised steering calibration to match, which gives drivers precise cornering, feedback and control. For 2016, the 18-inch alloy wheel tire width has been increased by 10mm, fitted with Kumho Solus 225/40R18 tires, designed to extract maximum performance without compromising ride.

Veloster’s compelling combination of performance with efficiency is a formula many industry competitors are seeking to duplicate. Hyundai’s development focus on all the factors of efficient performance, such as direct-injection, small-displacement turbocharged engines, six-speed and dual-clutch transmissions, comprehensive light-weighting, efficient aerodynamics, and reduction of parasitic engine losses through electric-powered ancillaries, have combined to yield simultaneous benefits in performance and efficiency to the consumer.

SPORT-TUNED DYNAMICS
Veloster and Veloster Turbo are fitted with a McPherson strut front suspension, coil springs, gas shock absorbers and a 23-mm diameter front stabilizer bar. The rear suspension is a light-weight V-torsion beam, with an integrated 24-mm stabilizer bar to allow bracing of the arms for greater rigidity and to further control body roll. The rear suspension also uses monotube shock absorbers for ride comfort with control.

2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 617105

Veloster features electric power steering that adjusts assistance to changing driving conditions while improving fuel economy over a conventional steering system. Veloster’s turning diameter of 34.1 feet is better than Mini’s 35.4 feet, Civic Si’s 37.1 feet, VW GTI’s 35.8 feet, VW Beetle Turbo’s 35.4 feet, and Fiat Abarth’s 37.6 feet.

OVERALL DIMENSIONS
The Veloster rides on a 104.3-inch wheelbase, with an overall length of 166.1 inches and width of 70.5 inches. The Veloster Turbo has the same a 104.3-inch wheelbase, but is 1.2 inches longer (167.3 inches) and 0.6 inches wider (71.1 inches).

WORLD-CLASS WEIGHT EFFICIENCY
World-class weight efficiency is a program target for all Hyundai models. This strategy delivers outstanding fuel economy and performance simultaneously. At just 2,679 pounds, the Veloster base model is 403 pounds lighter than the Scion tC. Further, at just 2,877 pounds, Veloster Turbo is 125 pounds lighter than the Honda Civic Si Coupe and 95 pounds lighter than the Volkswagen GTI. This priority on weight efficiency allows the Veloster Turbo to deliver a great combination of agility, performance, and fuel efficiency.

ADVANCED STANDARD SAFETY
All Velosters feature a rearview camera fitted to all models for superior parking visibility. Velosters have an exceptional level of standard safety features for the sporty coupe segment highlighted by a Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) system, which optimally manages ESC (Electronic Stability Control) and the Motor-Driven Power Steering (MDPS).

VSM works to control two effects. The first is when a driver accelerates or brakes on a split-mu surface (slippery on one side, dry pavement on the other) and the vehicle wants to pull in one direction. VSM detects this condition and sends a signal to the MDPS to apply steering assist to counter this force. VSM counters the pull and automatically provides counter steering. VSM reacts the same way during sudden lane changes or fast cornering

All Velosters feature six airbags—including dual front, front seat-mounted side-impact, and front and rear side curtain airbags. Velosters also features a state-of-the-art braking package. The package includes four-wheel disc brakes and an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) including Brake Assist, which provides maximum braking force when a panic stop is detected, and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), to automatically adjust the braking force to front and rear axles based on vehicle loading conditions.

2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo High Resolution Exterior
- image 617104

ENHANCED AUDIO/NAVIGATION SYSTEM CONNECTIVITY
Customers expect to be connected to their electronics at all times, so Veloster comes standard with a multifunction seven-inch touchscreen display. At engine start-up, the screen comes to life with a Veloster image and a unique sound. There are even three interface layouts users can choose from to suit their personal taste.

For 2016, Veloster audio/navigation systems have also been enhanced with the following capabilities and improvements:

Multi-touch screen with menu swipe function
HD Radio® capability
“Eyes Free” Apple Siri® integration for iPhone
Advanced SiriusXM® functions, including Travel Link (90-day trial)
On-board music and app storage (Jukebox 6GB and Apps 4GB)
Navigation map and music split-screen display function
Navigation map with enhanced junction-view lane guidance

A Bluetooth® hands-free phone system with voice recognition, address book download and audio streaming is standard and onboard navigation is optional. The system also integrates a rearview camera.

Pandora® internet radio is integrated into all Velosters. The display screen has a Pandora icon to stream internet radio from an iPhone® or Android®. Pandora can also be viewed on the display screen and songs can be given the familiar Pandora thumbs up or thumbs down.

With video games being an important element of entertainment, Hyundai integrated an RCA cable and an available 115-volt power outlet in Veloster to support gaming consoles for ultimate gaming sessions or to watch videos on the seven-inch multimedia touchscreen when the vehicle is parked.

Veloster Turbo features a standard 450-watt Dimension Premium Audio system with eight speakers including an eight-inch subwoofer, external amplifier and iPod®/USB/auxiliary input jacks. A SiriusXM® Satellite Radio interface is also integrated into the head unit and features channel logos and Data services, such as NavWeather®, Stock Ticker and Sports Ticker. For 2016, SiriusXM Travel Link® has been added, with a 90-day trial period.

2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo High Resolution Exterior
- image 617103

CONNECTED CARE AND HYUNDAI BLUE LINK®
The 2016 Veloster offers the next-generation of Hyundai Blue Link®, with enhanced safety, service and infotainment telematics. Blue Link brings seamless connectivity directly into the car with technology like remote start, destination search powered by Google®, remote door lock/unlock and stolen vehicle recovery. In addition to these features and services, Veloster models equipped with Blue Link come standard with one year of complimentary Blue Link Connected Care. Connected Care is a suite of safety and car care features providing Hyundai owners with free proactive services including automatic collision notification, SOS emergency assistance, enhanced roadside assistance, monthly vehicle health reporting and maintenance alerts.

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