When Juliet asked Romeo, "What's in a name?", I doubt she was thinking about the 2016 Hyundai Veloster Street Turbo. And while this limited edition model may not smell 'as sweet as a rose', it does bring a little more 'cred' to the now ageing Korean sports car.
Okay, terrible Romeo and Juliet references aside, it’s still a fair point: What is in a name and does a specific badge on a car really influence buyers?
Old mate Bill Shakespeare may never have used the word ‘Street’ to describe a car, but Hyundai isn’t the first manufacturer to attach an ‘inspired’ word to a model in an effort to attract punters. ‘Active’, ‘Black Edition’, ‘Blackline’, ‘Bathurst’, ‘Concorde’, ‘International’, ‘Nurburgring’, ‘Shades’, ‘Sport’, they’ve all been seen before. Even letters alone seem to add weight – think ‘GT’, ‘GTS’, ‘GTS-R’, ‘R’, ‘RS’, ‘ST’, ‘TX’, etc.
In the case of the 2016 Hyundai Veloster Street Turbo though, it means more gear… mostly.
Based on the outgoing $34,750 Veloster SR Turbo +, the Hyundai Veloster Street Turbo is priced from $35,750 (before on-road costs) for the six-speed manual and $38,250 (before on-road costs) for the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Boosting equipment above and beyond the newly announced $30,650 flagship Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo, the Veloster Street Turbo comes standard with keyless entry and push-button start, automatic HID xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and LED tail-lights, cruise control, a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, semi-electric driver’s seat with electric lumbar support, rear-view camera and rear parking sensors, a panoramic glass sunroof, six airbags, and tyre pressure monitoring.
Further, it uniquely gains leather-appointed front sports seats with blue side bolsters and blue stitching, along with a raft of other blue interior highlights comprising blue front seatbelts, blue door grips and centre stack garnishes, and a blue-stitched steering wheel, gear lever boot, centre console lid, front door pads, and ‘Street’-branded floor mats.
Semi-gloss black 18-inch Rays Gram Lights alloy wheels – pinched from the 2014 Veloster-Raptor concept – are also thrown into the mix, as well as Phantom Black exterior touches and black and chrome ‘Street’ front fender badging.
What the limited-to-200-units special edition doesn’t get however, are the latest updates to grace the revised Veloster Series II line-up – namely Apple CarPlay and Google Now compatibility.
On the plus side, this means the Street retains the satellite navigation, heated and ventilated front seats, eight-speaker premium audio system with CD player, Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming, steering wheel-mounted phone controls, and three-mode adjustable ‘Flex Steer’ steering weight system that were all standard on the recently-axed SR Turbo +.
Under the skin, the important bits remain unchanged.
There’s a 150kW/265Nm turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine and, in our Dazzling Blue Mica test car, a six-speed manual transmission.
Suspension is again a locally-tuned affair, with MacPherson struts teaming with 300mm ventilated brake discs up front and a torsion beam axle out back pairing with 262mm solid discs.
Like the look of the quirky South Korean ‘four-door’ hatchback or not, there’s a lot of design crammed into its 4250mm – 10mm longer than its long-standing sports car segment rival, the Toyota 86.
A scalloped bonnet and tailgate, flared guards, stylised headlights and tail-lights, round front fog lights mirrored by round lower rear bumper reflectors, a glass-heavy rear hatch and mid-level rear spoiler, central twin exhausts and, of course, that trapezoidal front grille.
Crack open the single, large, driver-side door, nestle yourself into the decently bolstered and bucketed front seats and you’ll find they’re reasonably comfortable, if a touch unsupportive for longer stints behind the wheel.
The ‘premium’ trim on the steering wheel and gear knob ensures key touchpoints feel nice in the hands, though, the Veloster’s plastic manual handbrake lever is a reminder of the model’s age as much as its build cost.
Up front there’s clear stereo and climate controls, as well as two cup holders, a storage cubby at the base of the centre stack, slender door pockets, and a decently-sized split-topped centre console bin.
Getting into the back seats requires all but the shortest of folk to duck their head in order to negotiate the Veloster’s heavily raked rear roofline. And once in either of the two rear seats, toe-room is all but non-existent. Headroom and leg-room will vary depending on the height of not only the rear passengers, but those in the front too – and their chosen seating position.
That said, the taller you are, the more you’ll have to slide your bum forward in the seat to fit. This then becomes a game of choosing headroom over leg-room or vice versa – not great either way.
A lack of rear air vents, and the inclusion of only one netted map pocket and two cup holders, also hint that putting people in the back of the Veloster should be more of an occasional occurrence than a frequent one.
The 60:40 split-fold rear seats can be dropped forward to expand boot capacity beyond 320 litres, however, in this position the seat backs sit far from flat, and owners still have to contend with the Veloster’s high load lip. A space-saver spare tucked under the boot floor, though, is a good bonus to have in emergencies.
Rolling on 225mm-wide, 40-aspect Hankook Ventus tyres, the 2016 Hyundai Veloster Street Turbo straddles the line between ‘sporty’ fun and urban runabout. Unfortunately, this means the Street is no all-out performance weapon, nor a hugely comfortable or compliant daily driver.
The ride can be reasonably compliant over smooth roads, however, come across rougher, pockmarked blacktop, and things turn busy and borderline choppy.
The Veloster’s motor-driven power steering – while adjustable between ‘Comfort’, ‘Normal’ and ‘Sport’ – is never particularly engaging either. And, teamed with a light clutch devoid of much feedback, the notchy but accurate six-speed manual transmission is more focussed on getting the job done, than putting a smile of your face.
Although the Street’s turbocharged 1.6-litre ‘Gamma’ engine provides enough around-town grunt to get you from A to B without the need to fire the tachometer needle around to the north-of-6500rpm redline, the direct-injection unit is no firecracker.
Peak power coming in at 6000rpm tells some of the story, however, equally, peak torque being maintained from 1750-4500rpm sheds more light on the engine’s adequate flexibility. In terms of fuel consumption, on test we averaged 9.1 litres per 100km – 2.2L/100km off the car’s claimed 6.9L/100km figure.
In the end, despite the Hyundai Veloster out-selling the all-new Mazda MX-5 year to date (1087 versus 1040), it remains an alternative to many more conventional – and possibly logical – propositions out there.
And, if you are considering spending around $35-38k on a Veloster Street Turbo, note that for similar or less money, you could easily get yourself into a Holden Astra GTC Sport ($29,990), Mazda MX-5 ($31,990), Mini Cooper S ($37,750), Renault Clio RS200 ($30,000), or Volkswagen Polo GTI ($27,490). Or, of course, a Toyota 86 ($29,990) or Subaru BRZ ($37,150).
The Hyundai does come with a respectable five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, 12 months roadside assist, and a complimentary first service at 1500km. There’s also a lifetime service plan with scheduled services due every six months or 7500km, with prices ranging from $159 to $259 for the first three years or 45,000km.
Since first launching locally in 2012 (with prices starting at $31,990), the Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo has been ‘interesting’ enough to win over buyers. Will a specced up special edition Veloster Turbo – sporting a brand new ‘Street’ badge – attract fresh eyeballs to the brand? Perhaps. And at time of publishing, Hyundai Australia says it’s sold 57 of the 200 units available since late June. But given the core model’s intrinsic idiosyncrasies, and an Australian new-car market that continues to grow ever more competitive, we can't say the 2016 Hyundai Veloster Street Turbo would be on our current 'must-have' list.
Click on the Photos tab for more 2016 Hyundai Veloster Street Turbo images by Tom Fraser.