2013 Hyundai Veloster; 2013 Hyundai Elantra
2013 Hyundai Veloster Review:
In Milwaukee and Atlanta, Henry Aaron’s nickname was Hammerin’ Hank, for his ability to hit baseballs out of the park.
Now we’re witnessing a rough equivalent in the automobile industry, Hammerin’ Hyundai, for its ability to advance base runners into scoring positions.
There are two at the moment: The Veloster three-door sports hatchback and the Elantra compact. When the South Korean manufacturer introduced the innovative 2012 Veloster, it was well received, but with a caveat: some critics, including this one, said it was short on power.The all-new 2011 Elantra captivated automotive journalists, whose judges crowned it as the North American Car of the Year last January. Even so, the critics noted that it only came as a four-door sedan.
Now Hyundai has advanced both cars. The 2013 Veloster now is available with a 201-horsepower turbocharged engine. And the popular Elantra sedan has new garage mates: a two-door coupe and a four-door hatchback, called the GT.
The new turbo gives the Veloster an additional 63 horsepower, which is transformative. It places the new car in the company of such youth-oriented sports machines as the Volkswagen GTI and Beetle Turbo, Mazdaspeed 3, Honda Civic Si, Fiat 500 Abarth and the Mini Cooper S.
Hyundai engineers say it was done without major alterations to the Veloster chassis. The original, non-turbo model has a modified rear stabilizer bar that minimizes the tendency of a front-wheel drive car to understeer—that is, push ahead in corners. Carried over into the new turbo model, the setup contributes to chassis stiffness and control in hard cornering.
No surprise, the turbo is way quicker off the line than its less powerful sibling. Hyundai doesn’t publish acceleration times, but the estimate here is that the zero-to-60 time is in the sub-seven second range for both the six-speed manual gearbox and the six-speed automatic transmission, which features a manual-shift mode and paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
On the road, the turbo delivers a smooth surge of power without any of that lag-punch feel of some turbochargers. The engineers have tightened the steering somewhat, although the Veloster turbo still has a bit of a rubbery feel in straight-line driving, where it occasionally tends to follow highway grooves. In cornering, however, it reacts precisely and can even be steered somewhat with throttle inputs.
From a fuel economy standpoint, the turbo’s additional cost is modest. Where the standard Veloster boasts city/highway fuel economy of 28/40 miles to the gallon, the turbo checks in at 26/38.
However, the turbo’s sticker price is $4,665 higher than the naturally aspirated model. With a so-called ultimate package of options, the tested Veloster checked in at $26,320. The package included a panoramic sunroof, navigation with a rearview camera and backup warning sensors.
The three-door design, with a back-seat door on the right side and none on the left, makes the Veloster more useful than a coupe or two-door. But it exacts a penalty on the driver, who must flip the front seatback forward in order to toss something in the back seat.
2013 Elantra GT and Coupe Review:
The Hyundai Elantra sedan remains as a top-tier choice in the increasingly competitive compact class, which has gotten more extensive since the Elantra’s introduction. With the addition of the new coupe and GT—a four-door hatchback—it has way more muscle in the marketplace.
Of the two, the coupe, which is oriented toward the young so-called tuner crowd, is the least expensive—and least remarkable. Still, with a $20,615 price tag, the SE with the six-speed manual gearbox delivers decent performance and handling with a long list of standard equipment that includes full safety equipment, a motorized glass sunroof, air conditioning, XM satellite radio, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, remote locking, power windows and mirrors, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
The GT, however, is a different kettle of components. It is oriented more toward European buyers, who prefer hatchbacks to sedans, and also has suspension modifications—similar to those on the Veloster—to provide tighter handling. Of course, that necessarily results in a stiffer ride.An unusual wrinkle is electric power steering that adjusts for effort, from comfort to normal to sport. It doesn’t change the handling but progressively requires more muscle, especially in sport mode on curving roads.
John Krafcik, Hyundai’s president and CEO, said that the GT effectively was a four-door Veloster, although its 148-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine falls way short of the Veloster turbo’s 201 horsepower. Given Krafcik’s comment, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine a forthcoming Elantra turbo, although auto executives usually demur when questioned about future products.
The GT is nine inches shorter than the Elantra sedan but boasts interior space in the top reaches of the mid-size class. Passenger volume is 96 cubic feet, with 23 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back seat, which expands to 51 cubic feet by folding the rear seatbacks.
Like the Elantra sedan, the GT has one of the slickest manual shift linkages anywhere, and the six-speed automatic is similarly smooth. The tested GT with the automatic had a base price of $20,170. With options that included navigation, leather upholstery and automatic climate control, it had a bottom-line sticker of $25,365.
Model: 2013 Hyundai Veloster three-door hatchback.
Engine: 1.6-liter four-cylinder, turbocharged, 201 horsepower.
Transmission: Six-speed manual.
Overall length: 13 feet 11 inches.
EPA passenger/cargo volume: 90/16 cubic feet.
Weight: 2,917 pounds.
EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 26/38/30 miles to the gallon.
Base price, including destination charge: $22,725.
Price as tested: $25,320.
Model: 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT four-door hatchback.
Engine: 1.8-liter four-cylinder, 148 horsepower.
Transmission: Six-speed automatic.
Overall length: 14 feet 1 inch.
EPA passenger/cargo volume: 96/23 cubic feet.
Weight: 2,959 pounds.a
EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 29/40/33 miles to the gallon.
Base price, including destination charge: $19,170.
Price as tested: $22,015.