Thursday, July 18, 2013

2013 Veloster Turbo Review at 4900 Miles / 7900 km

I'll try to keep this review short since I was so extravagant in my last post with telling you all my life story and everything, as Holden Caulfield might say, instead of reviewing the damn car.

Long story short, I'm extremely pleased with my purchase decision. The handling is great, the 6-speed manual is great, the leather seats and controls feel great, the hatchback and the third side door are both convenient, the radio sounds great, and so in terms of enjoyment, it's exactly the mix of performance and practicality that I wanted.

The downsides of the Veloster are that the rear visibility is pretty bad, and you don't get the rear view backup camera unless you spring for the luxury package which included a bunch of things I definitely didn't want, like the all-glass sunroof (I'd rather have the extra structural integrity and simplicity of a regular top than an all-glass one) and a nav system that's not as good as on my phone(s). So it's definitely not a luxury car in the sense of a BMW or Audi, but in terms of raw performance, I'm quite satisfied with the turbo version that I bought.

What's interesting to me is that I'm starting to see more and more Velosters on the road, in a variety of colors, but so far I've not seen a single other turbo version. What's funny is the parking lot at Google where I park is filled with Teslas, Nissan Leafs, BMWs, Audis, and so on, but I've got the only Veloster, much less Turbo.

I did see one Veloster while I was visiting my family in LA, that someone had customized with three round exhaust tips where the two trapezoidal ones should have been. I thought that looked pretty damn janky (see my previous post on bad tuner car style choices), but thought it was worth mentioning. Three exhaust tips on a four cylinder car? That totally makes sense.

Another minor downside is that I managed to scuff three of the four 18" alloy wheels on curbs while I was getting used to the dimensions of the car. So be forewarned that the wheels stick out farther than you might think. On the plus side, I haven't scratched any of the paint yet, and the tiny windshield crack that I unfortunately got from a pebble kicked up by a truck shortly after buying it, was repaired for free by Geico and is scarcely visible (and hasn't grown). Fortunately the crack is on the passenger side or else I might be more annoyed.

The A/V system is nice, and one of the main factors in my purchase decision. The Turbo version comes with the premium story that has an 8" subwoofer and does a fairly nice job with all sorts of music. I really appreciate the Pandora integration, since I'm a Pandora addict (see my previous blog post on that topic) and it works great with my Android phones. On the downside, I'm not able to use any of the advanced music controls for A2DP music streaming (I should be able to do more than play/pause, and should be able to get the song info, but none of that is working on the Hyundai side).

The Hyundai BlueLink feature is kind of interesting, and is worth the subscription price (or at least the mid-tier subscription price without all the Bing-powered nav stuff) for the web and phone integration. I can unlock/lock the doors, turn the lights on/off, find the car on a map if I'm lost in a big parking lot, stuff like that. The voice recognition interface in the car itself is pretty terrible, though, so I never use it. BlueLink is only available in the U.S.

I wanted to wait until after the first oil change just to give a proper impression of the car after it's been broken in. I had the oil changed at the Hyundai dealer at 3000 miles, as they recommend for the turbo Veloster, and filled it with synthetic oil. The dealer had Kendall synthetic oil which seemed like a respectable old-timey brand (it's owned by Phillips 66, another old-timey oil company brand). I think it was an extra $30 for that, or $45 to get Mobil 1 synthetic. I asked the mechanic what the difference was, and he said, well, it costs more because it's "Mobil 1" and he made air-quotes with his fingers, so I figured the Kendall would be just fine. And it's been running really smoothly since the oil change, even in 102+ degree weather driving from LA to Mountain View nonstop. The A/C is perfectly capable of handling those temps with no problems.

I should also mention that the electric-assist power steering is excellent, and even better than the Prius. It didn't seem to have a lot of road feel when I first got it, but now that the suspension's been properly broken in, I'm really impressed with the handling, and how nicely it centers itself when you're driving straight. Very impressive handling, somewhat like I'd imagine a front-wheel drive BMW of its size would behave. Except that it retails for $23000 and takes regular 87 octane gasoline.

So that's my quick-and-dirty car review. I'll try to post more computer stories when I have time. I have a lot of stuff I'd like to cover in this blog related to everything from Amiga to VAX, and from NetBSD to FreeBSD to OpenVMS, not to mention my collection of Commodore and Apple II 8-bit stuff, but I'm not sure what I should talk about first. So if there's anything in particular you'd like me to write about, or make some YouTube videos about, please let me know in the comments.
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