America’s hot hatch game got a little hotter when Hyundai unveiled the newest addition to the Veloster family, the Turbo R-Spec. Following in the tracks of the Genesis Coupe 2.0T and 3.8 R-Spec and Genesis 5.0 R-Spec, Hyundai has created a car worthy of the R-Spec mocker. But the important question is whether or not it offers the best bang for the buck against the likes of Mini and VW.
For its $22,110 sticker price (destination included), Hyundai takes the Veloster Turbo back to basics a bit and makes this the most affordable Turbo in the lineup. In doing so, some comforts which don’t enhance the driving experience were deleted such as side-repeater mirrors, auto-up driver’s window, high-gloss interior trim, heated leather seats, proximity-key entry with push-button start, and premium gauges.
Changes are largely internal and cosmetic. The Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec keeps the Turbo’s 1.6-liter motor which produces 201 hp and 195 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated with uniquely tuned suspension and steering, and a short-throw B&M Racing Sport Shifter which allows you to control the 6-speed manual transmission. Red’s the accent color of choice with red side blades and front splitter outside and red leatherette bolsters with black/red cloth insert seats inside. Of course, you’ll have R-Spec embroidered-logo floor mats and badges.
Hyundai’s kept it simple with colors, too, offering only four: Elite White, Ultra Black, Marathon Blue, and Sprint Gray. They’re all aggressive and appropriate colors that help accentuate the R-Spec’s red accents.
When it comes to pricing alone, Hyundai has a clear advantage over both VW and Mini. VW’s Beetle R-Line packs 210 hp and starts at $25,615 with destination. While pricing for the new 2014 Cooper S hasn’t yet been announced, it’s likely to stay around the destination-included $24,095 price. If you want to go with a high-performance Mini, you could always look at the John Cooper Works Hardtop, but with current prices north of 30 grand, that’s not likely to change with its redesign.
From behind the wheel, there won’t be a wrong choice. All of these cars are bound to a smile on the driver’s face. Not all drivers care about the heated seats or side mirrors with integrated turn signals as offered by VW, having a proximity key, or being able to personalize a ride down to the door handles. That’s all nice, but sometimes they come at the expense of what makes driving fun: speed and handling.
For the people this car is aimed at, Hyundai want you to know they’ve listened to the calls for a more performance-oriented Veloster. It’s arrived in the form of the Veloster Turbo R-Spec.