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North Korea may get all the headlines for putting the world on the brink of nuclear annihilation, but it’s south Korea that’s hinting at world domination with cars like the Hyundai Veloster turbo.
The Veloster infiltrated hatchback territory last year with hot new looks and a weird, wonderful door configuration that had never been done before: one on the driver’s side, two on the right.
The stock Veloster gets by with a 138-horsepower four and tallies performance by its best-in-class 40-mpg gas mileage. The Turbo slingshots to 60 mph in less than seven seconds, rivaling the VW GTI and Honda Civic Si, both with the VW-like manual shifter or the six-speed, paddle-shifted automatic.
The electric steering’s tighter on the Turbo, too. The short- wheelbase Veloster under- steers heavily, but it eventually powers out of corners with a scream of the tires.
Every Veloster Turbo comes with sport leather seats, 18- inch wheels, LED tail lamps, and Blue Link, which streams music through apps like Pan- dora and connects to the cloud for directions and destinations. A $2,500 Ultimate package adds a panoramic sunroof, navigation, and a rearview camera. If you’re truly fly, trade an- other $1,000 for a matte-gray paint finish: It comes with its own Dr. Beasley’s car-care kit—and a suggestion for hand washing every time, so you don’t scratch the soft finish to a high shine.
The Civic and GTI don’t go there, and neither do the Mini Cooper, the Fiat 500, or even the upcoming 252-hp Ford Focus ST. Those cars act more like grown-ups, but none of ’em has the Veloster Turbo’s flat matte paint, its offbeat fourth door—or its arresting sense of timing.
0-60 MPH in 7.0 seconds
Est. Top Speed 120 MPH
$23k and Up
201 Horsepower, Six Speed Manual or Automatic; Front Wheel Drive
1.6 Liter Turbocharged In-line four-cylinder
All the Extras:
The Veloster turbo spools up for 201 hp in all—one more than the GTI, same as the Si.
Blue Link is Hyundai’s promise you’ll never get lost; it taps the computing cloud for directions.
The Veloster’s twisted door setup is for the U.S. only; other countries get two doors on each side.