Hyundai Veloster is filled with value but low on power
Throw in some $95 floor mats (is undercoating next?) and this loaded, manual-transmission Veloster went out the door for $22,155.

All this value comes into context when you get the Veloster on the road.

In city and canyon driving, the car moves about with agility. The suspension is nicely balanced, though on the firm side, and body roll is minimal.

The manual shifter has a light feel to it and the clutch pedal is plenty forgiving; this would be an excellent transmission to learn how to drive a manual, if anyone is doing that these days.

But get the car on the open road or in the passing lane and the engine just looks at you and shrugs. I don't think I've spent this much time with my foot flat on the floor since my last middle school dance.

Peak power comes at a lofty 6,300 rpm, mighty close to the Veloster's redline. Count on at least two downshifts when passing to get anything usable.

The Veloster's zero-to-60 time is in the neighborhood of 8.8 seconds, according to Motor Trend. That's 1.2 seconds slower than it takes a manual-equipped Scion tC, the Veloster's closest competitor, to hit the same speed. You can thank the tC's extra 42 horsepower and 50 pound-feet of torque.

Aside from the dearth of power, the only other oversight on the Veloster is the over-boosted electric-power steering system. Hyundai says it's "sport-tuned," but in reality it just fights driver input with too much synthetic resistance.

For some Veloster shoppers, the lack of might won't be an issue. If horsepower rates on your list of priorities just below a rear-seat mounted toaster, you'll find little fault with the Veloster as is. It's unique, practical and a well-made bargain.

But for those who want their car's bite to back up its bark, you're going to be disappointed. Fuel-efficient, economical and powerful; you can only have two of the three. Hyundai went with the first two.

Maybe that will change next summer, when Hyundai says it will drop a turbocharged engine in the Veloster. Wait — a little bit longer.

Which, incidentally, is the name of a Jonas Brothers album.

david.undercoffler@latimes.com