Hyundai will always have a special place in my heart, seeing as the 2002 Elantra GT was the first car I bought. And even though a collision with a deer in Scotrun, PA in May of 2005 ended our three year relationship, I’ve always kept an eye on what Hyundai’s been up to. There’s been some great things (the new Genesis, Fluidic Sculpture design, Equus, Sonata, Elantra, Accent, well, you get the point) and some not-so great things (the fourth generation 2006-2010 Elantra’s body was about as shapely as mine). So when they released the Veloster in 2012, I put it in the “great” file. Why? Because even though the Accent and Elantra are wonderful vehicles, there wasn’t a “cool, hip, sexy and still practical” option in the 20K range. True, the Veloster was more “show than go” initially but then again, Rome, nor the Veloster brand, was built in a day.
Which brings us to Hyundai’s latest incarnation of the Veloster; the Rally Edition.
All new for 2016, the Rally Edition is Hyundai’s performance offering of the funky Veloster.
The massive RAYS lightweight 18” alloy wheels offers a sporty look and the carbon fiber accents are a nice touch. The matte blue paint offers a unique look since nearly every other car on the road is bathed in glossy paint. My inner Henry Ford would’ve offered it in a high-gloss black but I still found the matte blue appealing.
Hyundai has given this limited edition run high performance springs, stabilizer bars, dampers and high response steering and handling capabilities.
The 1.6 litre, four cylinder, 201 horsepower 195 lb-ft of torque engine (the same as in the Veloster Turbo) moves through a six-speed manual transmission, with a beautiful B&M Racing sport shifter providing short, accurate throws as you dance on alloy pedals.
The car moves quickly given the power to weight ratio (1,330 kg) but since this is a limited edition run, I would’ve liked Hyundai to jam a bit more power beneath the hood. Nothing outlandish, mind you. But something in the mid-200’s would be favourable, at least to me.
Moving through the DIY gearbox offers a light and sporty feel. After a long day of golf at Dragon’s Fire and far too many swings and putts, I was happy to have the light shifting, easy on the arms and legs Rally Edition opposed to the much heavier Genesis Coupe R-Spec. No shade thrown towards the R-Spec, not at all; the Veloster is just a different and lighter vehicle. If Hyundai would donate one of each to me, I’d have all of my driving needs covered.
Interestingly, the Rally Edition ($26,999) and base Genesis Coupe ($29,499) are priced only a few grand away from each other but still very different vehicles under the Hyundai umbrella.
Having said that, the Rally Edition offers a great on-road and sporty feel. Cornering, twisting and turning feel stable and secure and the straightaways are exciting, even on boring city roads. The short, peppy blue machine isn’t going to break any speed records but know that it’ll get you up to speed quickly without much effort and keep the fun factor high.
Inside, there’s blue trim on the leather sport bucket seats with “Turbo” badging on the sides that are very comfortable and secure. In fact, there’s blue accents on the door handles as well. The 7.0 inch multimedia screen is easy to operate and controls the 450-watt, 8-speaker Dimension audio system complete with an external amplifier. The one notable absence is a navigation system. While it’s available on the Tech and Turbo models, it’s not an option on the Rally, unfortunately. However, with the Bluetooth audio you can program your smartphone’s map feature and have your instructions read out to you. Or as your trusty shotgun mate to handle navigation duties.
Also, the huge panoramic sunroof isn’t available either as is on other models. Yes, it reduces head space and adds a bit of weight but I’m a huge fan of natural light as it opens up the feel of any car tremendously.
The fit and finish looks good and gives the interior a sporty feel and look…the blue accents are a great touch.
The third door combines the cool factor with a practical side. I’m a so-so guitar player so whenever I have to bring my guitar somewhere and I have a two door car, there’s a bit of extra effort required. Not so much with the Vesloter, thankfully. The 2+2 seating improves comfort levels for rear passengers.
One other thing that I’d change is to get rid of the traditional key on the Rally and replace it with a push button start. It’s really more of a lazy request than anything.
Overall, Hyundai’s given fans of the Veloster something to fawn over. They’ve taken the already attractive offering and subtly added exterior and interior beauty, strengthened the feel of the car and the whole package is enticing. There’s only 1,200 of these matte blue Rally’s available and there bound to be snapped up.
The car is very well equipped as is and combines looks, power, sportiness and the ever-important practical side.
If I were in my early 20’s again and had to pick something off the Hyundai lot, I’d probably lean heavily towards this version of the Veloster. Or the Elantra. Or the Sonata. Or Santa Fe. Or Accent. Or Genesis.
But probably the Veloster Rally Edition
Yay: Styling, interior finish, refined tuning, light and sturdy steering feel, 450-watt audio
Nay: No navigation available, matte paint can be hard to keep clean in winter, no push button start option