Hyundai Motor America recently invited me to Austin, TX, to preview a pair of new 2013 models — the Veloster Turbo and the Elantra GT. Both are key elements of in Hyundai’s ambitious 7/11 product initiative, which will see seven new or redesigned models produced in the next 11 months.
When I first drove the Veloster last year, my biggest complaint was that it was underpowered. Now, with the addition of the new 1.6-liter 201 hp Turbocharged-Gasoline Direct Injection (T-GDI) engine mated to either a six-speed automatic or manual transmission, that complaint no longer is valid. The added power makes all the difference in the performance of this little threedoor coupe, transforming it into a powerful, high-tech and fuel-efficient vehicle.
With its precise power-to-weight ratio, unique sport-tuned steering and suspension hardware set, the Veloster Turbo will compete very well with the likes of the Volkswagen GTI, Honda Civic Si and Mini Cooper/Clubman S.
Extras such as unique 18-inch alloy wheels with chrome inserts, projection headlights with LED accents, side mirrors with turn signal indicators, unique LED taillights and leather seating surfaces will help make the Veloster Turbo a big hit with the next generation of young buyers. The Turbo exclusive Graphite Black interior with blue accents and headliner graphics only adds to its attractiveness to the youth market.
ELANTRA GT DEBUTS
I also test drove the all-new 2013 Elantra GT during my visit to Austin. The lineup now includes the Elantra Coupe introduced earlier this year and the popular Elantra Sedan, voted as the 2012 North American Car of the Year.
The Elantra GT is based on Hyundai’s new generation i30 model designed for the European market. With its five-door functionality and European driving dynamics, it is indeed a fun-to-drive compact hatchback.
The 2013 Elantra GT will compete with the Ford Focus, Mazda3 and Volkswagen Golf, but has more interior room and better fuel economy. Powered by an advanced 1.8- liter148 hp four-cylinder engine mated to Hyundai’s six-speed automatic or manual transmission, it delivers 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway.
The new Elantra GT represents even more evolution in Hyundai’s “Fluidic Sculpture” design technology. The Elantra GT has a slippery .30 coefficient of drag and everything about the vehicle is aerodynamic, from the aggressive profile and low overall height, to the sleek side mirrors. Even the tire gaps have been minimized and the rocker panels are streamlined to help lower wind resistance, which translates into better fuel economy and a smoother ride.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com