2014 Hyundai Veloster R-Spec Road Test

The 2014 Hyundai Veloster R-Spec is an everyday rally car.

What It Is
A compact, sporty hatchback.
Best Thing
Great engine noise and strong performance.
Worst Thing
Steering should be tighter for a sports car.
Snap Judgment
The 2014 Hyundai Veloster R-Spec delivers fun and functionality.

The Hyundai Veloster entered the hot hatch segment back in 2011, and while it had a good fan base, hype for this model has gone down over the years. You don't see too many on the roads today, but the Rally Car circuit takes full advantage of its offerings.

But for everyday use, is a turbocharged hot hatch with a six-speed manual transmission really viable? From the dreaded morning commute to the weekend roads, we put the Veloster R-Spec through the paces to find out. This stripped-down version may not be for everyone, but it has plenty to offer. Read on to learn what we thought of our time behind the wheel of the 2014 Hyundai Veloster R-Spec

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What We Drove

Our 2014 Hyundai Veloster R-Spec comes powered by a 1.6-liter turbo GDI four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission that delivers 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. As this model is a stripped down version, there are no added features, bringing the total price for our model to $22,110, after the $810 destination charge.

While there aren't any options, our test model benefits from a standard Ground Effects body kit and body color rear spoiler, Hyundai Blue Link, rearview camera, 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, leatherette bolster seats and door inserts, leather-wrapped steering wheel, R-Spec badges and floor mats, and more. Safety features include standard airbags, ABS with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, torque vectoring control, and front seatbelt pre-tensioners.

In government crash tests, the 2014 Hyundai Veloster R-Spec earned a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the NHTSA. However, the Veloster failed to earn a Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS, thanks to a marginal score in the difficult small overlap front crash test, as well as an acceptable in the side impact test.

The Commute

During the morning commute, a manual transmission is never the ideal car, thanks to all the stop and go traffic. However, the 2014 Hyundai Veloster R-Spec offers some features to make the drive more bearable.

The clutch is easy to get used to in a matter of minutes, and while the shifter may be a bit stiff when sliding into first gear, the others are smooth and quick. The seats are supportive and rather comfortable, despite the fact that they aren't leather. The red and black interior design scheme provides not only a sporty feel, but enhances the aesthetics, making this car feel more expensive and less stripped down than it actually is.

The infotainment system is easy to use and connect our phone to. However, if you're going to charge your phone up while trying to play Pandora, it's not going to work. Aside from that, we only have one small complaint during our time behind the wheel of the 2014 Hyundai Veloster R-Spec. The steering could definitely have been tighter for such a sporty model.

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The Grocery Run

If you're not feeding a family of four, the 2014 Hyundai Veloster R-Spec is not a bad choice to take to the grocery story to load up on a week's worth of food. The trunk offers 15.5 cubic feet of space, while extra bags can go in the back seat, which is easy to get to thanks to the small rear door on the passenger side. However, the rear seats do fold to provide more room for those larger items.

Because of its small size and good handling, the Veloster can maneuver in and out of parking spaces with ease. The backup camera also provides added help when backing out. But if you don't want to deal with the hassle of the manual transmission, we'd recommend leaving it at home.

The Weekend Fun

Hot hatches have become some of the most enjoyable affordable cars to take out on the open road, and when equipped with a manual transmission, the fun is upped to another level. The 2014 Hyundai Veloster R-Spec immediately delivers strong performance as soon as your foot is off the break. Acceleration is strong, and getting up to highway speeds takes no effort at all.

We wouldn't recommend this as a road trip car as the constant shifting in traffic can tire your legs out, but for the weekend in the canyons, it's perfect. Winding roads are ideal for the Veloster, as it grips the road and goes through corners with ease. Whether you use that to zip through traffic or carve up a mountain, there's no doubt that a smile will be on your face. While this model may not have all the bells and whistles, it has a personality and it more than makes up for any shortcomings.

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The 2014 Hyundai Veloster R-Spec may not be the first on anyone's list who's looking for a hot hatch, as there are others far more notable options like the Ford Fiesta ST, MazdaSpeed3, or a Volkswagen Golf GTI. But the Veloster R-Spec has much to offer, and for a price more competitive than the majority of its competition. However, some may not want the stripped-down model. If that's the case, we'd suggest opting instead for the Veloster Turbo, which is slightly more expensive, but offers more creature comforts.

When it comes to being behind the wheel, the 2014 Hyundai Veloster R-Spec is fun to drive, can weave through traffic with ease while sipping fuel, and can carve up a canyon road thanks to its great handling. We'd definitely recommend this model to any who are looking to have an affordable, fun hot hatch.

Spec Box

Price-as-tested: $22,110
Fuel Economy
EPA City: 24
EPA Highway: 33
EPA Combined: 28
Estimated Combined Range: 370 miles
Cargo Space: 15.5 cubic feet
Child Seat Fitment, Second Row: Fair
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: Average

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