REVIEW: 2016 Hyundai Veloster Rally Edition – Sports Car Fun, Economy Car Price

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The 2016 Hyundai Veloster is an unexpected car. Hyundai brings to mind affordable sedans, not hot little hatchbacks, but that’s exactly what you get with the Veloster. You also get a price tag that’s surprisingly affordable.

What is it?

The Veloster offers a quirky four-door design with one driver’s side door, two passenger side doors, and a hatchback. It’s a performance oriented compact for people who don’t need a lot of space for cargo or passengers and want an engaging driving experience on a budget.


Pricing and trims

There are four different models available depending on how focused you are on getting a sports car vibe from your Veloster. The base Veloster has a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine with 132 horsepower. Opt for the Turbo R-Spec, Rally Edition, or Turbo for a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder with 201 horsepower.

Looking for a new or used car? Check out BestRide’s listing search here.

Every trim is available with a 6-speed manual transmission while only the base Veloster and the Turbo provide optional automatics. The sportier editions get appearance upgrades and sport-tuned suspension systems.


Our test model was the 2016 Hyundai Veloster Rally Edition, which is an all new trim this year. It comes in an eye-catching Matte Blue paint that fits with its performance aesthetic. Upgraded shocks and springs, an upgraded stabilizer bar, and Rays 18-inch alloy wheels with all-season performance tires help deliver on the promise of those looks.


There’s a long list of standard safety features on the Veloster. Rearview camera, vehicle stability management, traction control, electronic brake-force distribution, and brake assist come on every Veloster no matter the trim. The only optional safety feature is rear parking sensors and they’re only an option on the Veloster and Veloster Turbo.


Those rear parking sensors come only in the Technology Package so they’ll cost you big. The package runs $2,100 in the Veloster and $2,700 in the Veloster Turbo.

2016 Hyundai Veloster IIHS

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2016 Hyundai Veloster mixed reviews in crash testing. It received a top score of Good for Moderate Overlap Front, Roof Strength, and Head Restraints and Seats. The rating dropped down to Acceptable for Side crash testing and dropped one step further for Small Overlap Front to Moderate. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Veloster its top overall rating of 5 stars.


The Rally Edition features the more powerful 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. That’s a lot for a small car and it makes the Veloster really move. It will press you back in your seat when you hit the gas and is wonderfully engaging, especially if you let the revs creep up with that manual transmission.


The Veloster is responsive at all speeds providing ample power from a dead stop and when you need an extra boost on the highway. It does this smoothly and quietly with enough engine noise to enjoy the sound without becoming deafening. It’s a surprinsgly well-mannered compact that delivers plenty of performance without becoming rough.


This is the kind of car you really want to drive with a manual. Yes, you can get the base Veloster with a 6-speed automatic or the Turbo with a seven-speed automatic, but don’t do that.

The six-speed manual in this car is fantastic with a nice short throw and a soft clutch that won’t have your leg aching in stop and go traffic. It lets you eke out every last bit of performance from the engine, which is half the fun of having a hot hatch in the first place.

Looking for a new or used car? Check out BestRide’s listing search here.

Ride and handling

Compacts aren’t known for being comfortable rides and neither are sports cars. Somehow, the Veloster manages to be small, sporty, and fun without being jarring or rough. It’s comfortable even on less perfect roads and handles well, although a bit more steering feedback would be nice. You’ll happily tear through corners in the Veloster without feeling like you’re out of control.



Front seating is very comfortable with heavily bolstered leather sports seats that aren’t too narrow for larger drivers. They’re low but not so low that you feel like you’re climbing awkwardly up out of the car to exit.


There are 39 inches of headroom and 43.9 inches of legroom, which compares with 39.4 and 41.3 in the Volkswagen Beetle or 40.3 and 41.4 in the Mini Cooper Hardtop. That extra legroom makes the Veloster better suited for tall drivers.


This is a small hatchback so the rear seats are not great for adults. A couple of kids, two very small adults, or two large adults you don’t like and want to punish are about the only people who should ride in back. There are 35.3 inches of headroom and 31.7 inches of legroom. The Beetle has 37.1 and 31.4 while the Mini Cooper Hardtop has 36.9 and 30.8.


Cargo is not your priority with a car like the Veloster, but you may still want to shove a suitcase or some groceries in back. There are 15.5 cubic feet with the seats up or 34.7 cubic feet with the 60/40 split rear seats down. That bests the Beetle with 15.4 and 29.9 and the Mini Cooper Hardtop with just 8.7 with the seats up or 34 with those seats folded flat.


Infotainment and controls

The Veloster features a seven-inch high-resolution LCD touchscreen with a rearview camera across the lineup. The Rally Edition has the upgraded 450-watt Dimension premium audio system with AM/FM/SiriusXM/CD/MP3 along with 8 speakers, external amplifier, and a subwoofer. In such a small space it easily fill the air with fantastic sound quality. There is a single USB port, but no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.



The Hyundai Veloster is exactly the hot little hatchback you wanted when you first got out of school. It looks good, is fun to drive, and has a price that won’t require selling your soul.


The drawbacks are a limited number of features and the lack of a truly upscale interior. It’s beautiful and comfortable, but it isn’t plush. There’s also not much room to bring your friends along for the ride or for carrying cargo.

2016 Hyundai Veloster Rally Edition

Base price: $23,950

Price as tested: $24,775, including $825 destination charge


  • Unique Color
  • Sporty Handling
  • Smooth Manual Transmission


  • Tight Rear Seat
  • No Other Color Choices
  • Lack of Newer Safety Features
Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin