Used Vehicle Review: Hyundai Veloster, 2012-2016

Vehicle Type

Many owners gravitated towards the Veloster for its funky looks and generous equipment levels

Subcompact three-door hatchback

History/Description

The Hyundai Veloster was built as a compelling sports car buy for the shopper after performance, style, individuality, and utility on a relative budget. With a unique shape, generous cargo-carrying capacity, a hidden third-door, and a lengthy list of standard features at all price points, this efficient and fun-to-drive sports model gained plenty of traction in the marketplace with a worthy blend of in-demand attributes.

Many owners gravitated towards the Veloster for its funky looks and generous equipment levels. Fully loaded models come with nothing less than a full array of must-have features, including a panoramic roof, heated leather, premium audio, a household power outlet, push-button start, a backup camera, Bluetooth, and plenty more.

Engines / Trim

Standard units got a slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission, standard Bluetooth, power accessories, remote entry with panic alarm, tilt steering and 17-inch wheels. A 1.6-litre engine delivers 132 horsepower and excellent mileage. Available packages included both the high-value SE, and nicely loaded Tech packages. A dual-clutch transmission (DCT) was available, which functions like a conventional automatic.

The Veloster Turbo model range bumps horsepower north of 200, with an intercooled turbocharger and sporting upgrades. An available Rally Edition model, as well as unique matte-paint models, can be searched, depending on the year.

What Owners Like

Veloster has impressed many an owner with its features-for-the-dollar quotient, pleasing performance from turbocharged models, highly flexible interior, and relatively generous cargo space. The unique looks and plentiful customization options helped round out the package.

What Owners Dislike

Some owners complain about Veloster’s numb electronic throttle calibration, a soft and mushy feel to the clutch, a dull engine sound, and relatively tame factory-equipment tires.

Here’s a list of Hyundai Veloster owner reviews.

The Test Drive

Used sports car shopper hats on, folks! Approach any used Veloster assuming it needs new tires, brakes and a clutch, until you or your favourite mechanic confirms otherwise. A tire tread depth gauge can be helpful here.

Next up, be aware that the average shopper is best to avoid a model that has been modified with anything more than common intake and exhaust system parts. Finding a non-modified used Veloster may be tricky. Shop very carefully if the model you’re considering has non-factory wheels, suspension parts, brakes, and especially, engine management software – which can ruin the Veloster’s engine or transmission, and void its warranty. Read this twice: if you’re not up on the world of Veloster tuning and customization, your best bet is a factory stock unit, wherever possible.

Finding a used Veloster with plenty of warranty remaining shouldn’t be an issue – but note that a model that’s been modified with non-factory parts or software may have had its warranty voided, possibly without the seller even knowing.

One issue to be aware of on turbocharged Veloster models is a fairly frequently reported engine misfire, evidenced by jittery, sporadic, or lumpy acceleration, inconsistent power delivery, or brief, repeated moments of reduced engine power, even when full throttle is applied. Note that the engine’s ECU can be scanned for a stored “misfire” code, revealing this issue, even if it’s not apparent on your test drive.

Causes are numerous, and the most likely is a faulty fuel line, which can collapse and restrict fuel flow at higher engine speeds. This was addressed by a recall. Faulty, dirty or damaged spark plugs can also cause a misfire, as can faulty ignition coil packs, or dirty valves. Here’s some more reading on this.

On the topic of bad coil packs, this thread suggests that this issue, and others, may be caused by bad grounding points, which form a vital electrical connection for various components in the vehicle. Some owners have reported that cleaning and appropriate lubrication of the Veloster’s grounding points, where an electrical wire is effectively bolted to the body, has fixed niggling electronic issues, including some related to coil packs.

If, during ownership, you notice that your new-to-you Veloster experiences a sporadic idle or drop-off of engine power, particularly shortly after refueling on a hot day, familiarize yourself with this thread, which suggests that rapid expansion of gasoline vapor may temporarily overload an emissions control system within the engine, causing it to run rich, and lose power. There’s no obvious fix for this problem, which is almost always short-lived after refueling, and seems to be a part of Veloster ownership for some drivers.

On any model fitted with the dual-clutch transmission (DCT), be on the lookout for signs of funny business, including a slipping sensation, unwelcome noises, hard shifting, slamming, or clunking. Warning signs or messages in the instrument cluster may also be present if there’s a problem with this transmission. The fix, in many cases, is to have your local dealer install updated software.

Three other notes. First, if you’re considering a Veloster with the factory matte paint finish, be sure to familiarize yourself with the unique procedures and products you’ll need to care for it. Owning a matte-finish car doesn’t add much complication to its care and maintenance, but you’ll need to use specific cleaning and sealing products (never wax) to maintain its appearance. Special washing solutions are required, and taking the car through an automated car wash is strictly not advised. Further, special care is needed for the removal of bird poop from your paint. Do your homework.

Second, note that in your writer’s research, a multitude of problems reported within the Veloster owner’s community seem to be caused by vehicle modification. About half of the problems I encountered in two owners forums could be attributed to vehicles running non-factory parts and software. As mentioned earlier on, the average shopper should likely avoid a modified model for maximum peace of mind.

Third, like many cars, Veloster runs a direct-injected engine, which can be prone to valve gunk buildup over time. As such, be aware that religious use of a high-quality gasoline, and strict adherence to all factory prescribed tune-up and maintenance requirements, and especially those relating to spark plug changes, can indirectly fend off valve gunk buildup.

The Verdict

A newer, factory-original Veloster with plenty of remaining warranty is your safest bet for maximum peace of mind, though any non-modified unit with a clean bill of health after a mechanical pre-purchase inspection can likely be bought confidently. A non-turbocharged model with manual transmission is likely your safest best for long-term, no-nonsense ownership.

Just 3 recalls.

Crash Test Ratings

IIHS: Results here
NHTSA: 5/5 Stars (2014)

Stick to stock for peace of mind when buying a used Hyundai Veloster 3/23/2017 6:28:00 AM