You can say a lot about the Hyundai Veloster, but you have to admit that it has character. The Veloster’s unique shooting brake design, torquey 1.6L T-GDi Gamma engine, and low pricetag make it a solid sportscar option for those not looking to sacrifice any reliability or practicality.
The first generation Hyundai Veloster was released to markets around the world in 2011 to great acclaim. The Veloster was Hyundai’s replacement for the Tiburon, which set the wheels in motion for Hyundai’s foray into sports coupes. The Veloster Turbo was released in 2012 and quickly became the most sought-after model in the lineup. 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque from a 1.6L inline-4 is certainly nothing to scoff at.
While the Veloster Turbo unquestionably provides solid performance from the factory, it can be dialed up even further with the right modifications. As with most turbocharged vehicles, there is quite a bit of power potential available from the 1.6L gamma turbo engine that can be unlocked with some simple and inexpensive mods. In this guide, we’ll cover some of the most common bolt-on modifications for the first-gen Hyundai Veloster Turbo.
1) Hyundai Veloster Turbo: Intercooler Resonator Delete
We’ll start with one of the easiest and least expensive modifications that you can do to your Veloster turbo. The Veloster Turbo faces somewhat of a unique issue when it comes to its intercooler design. It features a small extruded section of piping within the factory intercooler piping that acts as a sound resonator. While the factory resonator does a good job at keeping turbo noise levels at a minimum, it is also a source of lost power.
The stock Veloster Turbo intercooler resonator isn’t a uniform tube. Because of that, it interrupts airflow going into the turbo. It is also a common source of heat soak, meaning that it absorbs a large amount of heat from the surrounding engine components. Those factors in combination zap overall horsepower from the 1.6L gamma engine as a whole.
The remedy to this issue is replacing the restrictive and non-uniform factory intercooler resonator with one that is uniform. There are multiple tuning companies out there that provide effective intercooler resonator delete kits for the Hyundai Veloster Turbo. Most intercooler resonator delete kits feature a replacement 5” piece of piping with rolled ends. They are also typically made out of an effective heat-dissipating material like aluminum. By making the piping uniform instead of ridged, airflow isn’t disrupted as much. Their aluminum construction also makes heat soak a non-issue. In combination, a Veloster Turbo intercooler resonator delete kit eliminates key issues with the factory design.
One of the best things about deleting your Veloster’s factory intercooler resonator is the fact that it is cheap and easy to install. At the end of the day, the kit is just a 5” piece of aluminum and bolts up using factory clips.
Hyundai Veloster Turbo Intercooler Resonator Delete Performance Benefits
- Increased airflow to the turbo
- Increased turbo sound
- 6-13 horsepower increase
- Stronger power delivery, especially in the mid-upper RPM range
- Reduced heat soak
Best Veloster Turbo Intercooler Resonator Delete Kit: TurboSocks Resonator Delete
Well, to be honest, there aren’t a ton of differences between Veloster resonator delete kits. They all follow the same formula for the most part. With that being said, the Turbosocks resonator delete kit is the most popular option on the market and does everything that it needs to do.
In terms of its overall construction, it is made from a 5” long aluminum pipe that is 2” in diameter and 2mm thick. It replaces the stock resonator with stock hardware, including the factory upper and lower hose clamps. That is actually the most difficult part of the installation, the hose clamps. Generally speaking, you’ll be fine if you have a few sets of pliers and a flathead screwdriver laying around. And that’s pretty much all you need.
The Veloster Turbo’s intercooler resonator is located on the underside of the engine towards the front of the car. All you really need to do is jack it up using the front differential jacking point and use some jack stands to secure it. Then it’s a plug-and-play job. When all is said and done, you’ll have spent $30 for a modification that you’ll be able to install in 20 minutes and feel immediately.
2) Hyundai Veloster Turbo: Upgraded Downpipe
The Veloster’s factory downpipe is the most restrictive component of its entire exhaust system. Since the downpipe houses the catalytic converter it creates a lot of exhaust backpressure. Since the downpipe bolts directly to the turbo, the backpressure negatively impacts turbo spool. It acts as a negative force against the turbine wheel, preventing its ability to spool and build boost quickly.
Backpressure is especially prevalent with Veloster due to how the factory turbo piping is designed. The factory Veloster Turbo design has an angled elbow coming off of the turbo. Most performance downpipe options for the Veloster Turbo eliminate the sharp angle and smooth out the piping to increase airflow.
There are two general options in terms of performance downpipes for the Veloster Turbo, catless and high-flow downpipes. Each has its own advantage. Catless downpipes remove the restrictive downpipe-mounted catalytic converter which decreases backpressure significantly while also making your car louder. A high-flow Hyundai Veloster Turbo downpipe will retain a catalytic converter, but with a better flowing design than the factory one.
There’s a trade-off for each type of Veloster Turbo downpipe. While a catless downpipe will certainly increase overall horsepower and allow your Veloster’s exhaust system to flow better, you aren’t likely to pass emissions with a catless downpipe. The opposite is the case for a high-flow Veloster downpipe. While you’ll be able to pass emissions with a high-flow downpipe, you’ll sacrifice performance that you would get with a catless one.
A freer-flowing downpipe will provide 10-15whp and 15-20wtq, the second-best gains of any mod behind a tune. A downpipe with a high-flow cat isn’t likely to boost horsepower quite that much, but you’ll still see a healthy increase of around 7-10whp. However, one of the biggest benefits is turbo spool.
Hyundai Veloster Downpipe Upgrade Benefits
- 10-15whp and 15-20wtq gains (about 5 less for high-flow)
- Big benefit to low-end torque
- Faster turbo spool and better throttle response
- Significant exhaust backpressure reduction (less stress on turbo)
- Slightly louder exhaust note
Recommended Hyundai Veloster Turbo Downpipe: 845 Motorsports 3” Veloster Turbo Downpipe
845 Motorsports is a performance parts manufacturer and supplier that has been providing parts to the Hyundai community since 2013. They have gained the reputation of providing quality parts at reasonable prices, and that can certainly be said for their Veloster Turbo downpipes as well.
The 845 Motorsports downpipe is made entirely of mandrel bent 304 stainless steel, meaning that it has extreme rigidity and strength. 845 gives you the option of ordering one of their Veloster Turbo downpipes with either a high-flow catalytic converter or catless. Both provide impressive performance gains. The 845 Veloster Turbo downpipe eliminates the restrictions that the factory turbo elbow presents, giving the air a more direct path out of the turbo.
One of the most annoying aspects of upgrading a downpipe is the check engine light that accompanies it. That is in most cases at least. However, the 845 downpipe features an angled O2 chamber that allows you to run a standard Veloster O2 sensor. That means that you won’t trigger a CEL, even catless!
3) Hyundai Veloster Turbo: Cold Air Intake
The effect of an upgraded 1.6T Veloster cold air intake can vary a significant amount based on the style of intake that you choose to run and the other mods that accompany it. You’ll typically see a more significant power increase from an upgraded 1.6L Turbo intake if you already have some engine mods and a tune. Adding a tune will increase boost levels.
More boost and more power require more air. The factory intake is fine on a stock Veloster Turbo, but once you increase boost it begins to become restrictive. Upgrading the intake will allow for more airflow which will increase the efficiency of the turbo and reduce the stress on it while also providing solid power gains.
There are a few types of cold air intakes available for the 1.6L Veloster turbo, including short ram intakes and closed intakes. It is a frequent debate in Veloster forums about which form of intake is best. There are typically two leading options, a cold air intake or short ram intake. The main differences between the two include piping shape and air filter location. Cold air intakes relocate the air filter away from the engine to decrease air temperature and increase density. Short ram intakes prioritize providing the least restrictive path for air to enter the engine.
Both have their own benefits, but it is generally concluded that short ram intakes are the best option for the 1.6L gamma engine. Veloster Turbos tend to have extremely pronounced induction noise when equipped with an aftermarket intake. If that isn’t something that you like, it might be best to keep the stock intake.
1.6L Turbo Veloster Intake Upgrade Benefits:
- Increased airflow
- Less turbulent airflow within the intake
- Slightly improved power and torque figures (5-10hp and 5-10lb-ft)
- Very loud induction noise
Recommended Hyundai 1.6L Turbo Cold Air Intake: SXTH Element 2G Carbon Fiber Intake
By general consensus in the Turbo Veloster community, short ram intakes are the way to go on the 1.6L Gamma engine. SXTH Element provides one of the best intakes on the market for the Veloster Turbo. Their 2G Carbon Intake is a fan favorite in the Veloster community for good reason. It is made entirely of 3K twill carbon fiber and is designed to direct air in the most efficient way to the turbo.
The SXTH Element Intake features the largest tube available, with a diameter of 3.75 inches. The tube needs to be as big as possible to minimize pressure losses in the intake system for turbocharger performance. The intake features perfect OEM fitment, with the filter residing in front of the battery. They also provide an optional closed box for the filter. Generally speaking, open filters tend to perform better, but closed boxes keep the filter cleaner.
4) Hyundai Veloster: Front Mount Intercooler Upgrade
One of the most common and most talked about modifications in the Veloster Turbo community is the front mount intercooler upgrade. The stock Veloster Turbo intercooler arrangement is okay for low boost loads, but once other engine and performance modifications are thrown into the mix, an upgraded intercooler is a good idea. The factory 1.6L Turbo intercooler arrangement isn’t as efficient as it could be, especially from a heat dissipation standpoint.
The stock Veloster Turbo intercooler is mounted behind the front grill on the right side of the radiator. It is situated vertically instead of horizontally and is obscured slightly by the front bumper. The factory 1.6T Gamma intercooler has a comparably small core size, meaning that it doesn’t dissipate heat well and tends to heat soak. Overall, its placement and size aren’t ideal for high boost.
The most common intercooler upgrade for the Hyundai Veloster Turbo is a front mount intercooler relocation. Once you reach the 240whp mark, the factory intercooler throttles flow significantly. That is right around the point where a front mount becomes necessary. A front mount intercooler relocates your Veloster’s intercooler to the front of the vehicle, below the radiator. This allows better airflow to the turbo as they have direct access to fresh air and a larger surface area.
Veloster 1.6L Turbo Front Mount Intercooler Benefits
- Larger intercooler core surface area
- Improves heat dissipation characteristics
- Better overall airflow
- Dramatic power and torque increase (up to 30whp and 20lb-ft of torque)
Recommended 1.6L T-GDi Front Mount Intercooler: Tork Motorsports Veloster Turbo Front Mount Intercooler
Tork Motorsports is one of the biggest names in the Hyundai Veloster community and supplies the best front mount intercooler kit for Veloster Turbos. Unlike other front mount solutions for the Veloster, the Tork FMIC kit is mounted using a custom bumper support. This makes it so that the lower intercooler piping doesn’t come in contact with the ground and the intercooler has a more centered appearance.
Most other Veloster Turbo FMIC kits don’t fully utilize all of the surface area available as, without a bumper support, the front bumper cover obscures a few rows of the core. Since the Tork Motorsports Veloster Turbo FMIC uses a bumper support that raises it a bit, that problem is a non-issue. With 95% of the core exposed directly to incoming air, the Tork Motorsport FMIC increases flow and cooling significantly.
Tork Motorsports claims that their Veloster Turbo FMIC kit can increase power by up to 30whp and 20 lb-ft of torque. In terms of horsepower for money, that’s extremely hard to beat. A front mount intercooler will also ensure that all of your other engine-related modifications function properly through proper cooling.
5) Hyundai Veloster Turbo: Tuning
A tune is the best performance modification for a Veloster Turbo, hands down. Tunes usually run around $500 and can add near 100whp and torque with other upgrades. Therefore, a tune alone can push you into the 250whp range easily, offering the best price per hp of any mod on our list.
A tune is going to provide power gains by increasing the amount of boost the turbos are running. Since the stock turbos and internals can handle about 325whp, they can be cranked up a good amount which is what allows for these big power gains. A tune is also a great first mod since it helps optimize power gains from additional mods. A good tune will adjust engine variables like fueling, timing, and so on to maximize power from other mods.
You can run a tune on a Turbo Veloster by itself without any other mods. However, if you plan on running an aggressive map then we do recommend making a few additional upgrades on this list, like an intake and intercooler, to help support the turbo and its additional boost.
1.6L Gamma Turbo Tune Benefits
- Up to approx. 80whp and 100wtq power gains
- Easy install and beginner-friendly
- Multiple maps for various power levels and goals
- Increases gains from subsequent mods
Recommended Veloster Turbo Tuner: JB4 Performance Tuner
Burger Motorsports JB4 is a piggyback tuner, which means it spoofs the ECU rather than completely altering it like a flash tune would do. This means you can uninstall it without leaving any trace that it was there (for warranty purposes and such). Burger is one of the best names in tuning, and we use their JB4 products extensively on a lot of our BMWs. They also have tuners available for the 1.6T.
The JB4 plugs into the ECU and offers a range of different maps and tunes. You can switch between maps on the fly while driving making it super user-friendly. It is compatible with E85 and has bluetooth connectivity for data logging and monitoring as well.
Best Hyundai Veloster Turbo Performance Mods Summary
The Hyundai Veloster Turbo is a capable beast from the factory and even more so with a few choice modifications installed. While there are certainly more modifications that can yield higher power figures from the 1.6L T-GDi Gamma engine, the mods that we listed above are a solid place to start.
A lot of horsepower can be freed from a Veloster Turbo by increasing airflow within the exhaust system and the intercooler. Since the factory downpipe on the Veloster is so poor, a downpipe that promotes better flow can make a huge difference. The same can be said for the intercooler. A front mount intercooler with a resonator delete provides better cooling capabilities. That leads to more power and turbo performance overall. Cold air intakes also fall into this category. With more air flowing into the turbo in a less turbulent way, you’ll see increased turbo performance. Especially with a tune.
Tuning is the key to unlocking more power with any turbocharged car. That goes for the Hyundai Veloster Turbo as well. With factory turbos, a tune can put you very close to the sought-after 300 horsepower mark. That is especially true with the addition of other performance-enhancing bolt-on modifications. The combination of all of the parts above will truly turn your Veloster Turbo into a different animal.