There are two ways of seeing this car. You could say it is a sporty coupé, or argue that it’s a smart hatchback. Both statements are correct. That’s because the quirky Hyundai Veloster has asymmetrical doors. On the driver’s side, it looks like a coupé with a single, elongated door. While on the kerb side, it has two doors, a la hatchback.
The Veloster’s rivals could potentially include anything from the Honda CR-Z to the Citroen DS3. On looks alone, this reviewer admits it’s a winner. However, success in this class is sometimes more than good looks. Does Hyundai have what it takes behind the wheels to see off the competition?
There is only one way to find out…..
Design & Comfort
Hyundai’s design is on a roll. The Veloster has taken the company’s ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language to a whole new level. It is an attention grabber, endowed with sexy muscular lines and athletic proportions.
Its squat stance, accentuated by flared wheel arches and a high haunch, screams ‘I am fast’, but that’s about as fast as you’d get – and I’ll get to that later.
The body is complimented by beautifully designed alloy wheels with matching colour inserts, blacked out A-pillars and a pair of centrally exiting exhausts. On the bonnet, a pair decorative air-vent adds further to the sporty theme.
The extra rear door, which is cleverly concealed with a pillar mounted door handle, is surprisingly useful, allowing easy access to the rear seats. The opening is still relatively small compared to a conventional hatchback. Anyone over 5’8” will struggle for headroom at the back, especially with the sunroof equipped Veloster+. Otherwise, the pair of rear seats is quite comfortable with sufficient amount of leg room for the average person, for short distances.
The sculpted dashboard looks classy, while the unusual door grabs lifts the interior decor with an element of surprise. The panoramic glass sunroof which forms almost the entire length of the roof, also serves to lighten up the cabin.
The Veloster’s sporty leather wrapped front seats are comfortable, with a good amount of lateral and thigh support. Together with the tilt and telescopically adjustable steering wheel and electric height adjustable driver’s seat, the driving position is excellent.
The instruments are white on black with white needles. At night, Hyundai’s trademark blue lighting is easy on the eyes.
Handling & Performance
The Veloster is probably the best handling car from Hyundai so far. In the city the chassis is well sorted and composed. It rides well even on the standard 18” wheels shot in 215/40 tyres, especially on Australia’s infamous pimply roads.
The cabin is surprisingly refined too, with very little intrusion from the engine and road noise around town nicely suppressed. This trait is carried onto freeway speeds, where the Veloster ticks over at just above 2,600rpm in 6th gear. The steering has just the right amount of weighting, making it a breeze to manoeuvre.
Out in the country. when presented with challenging roads, the car exhibited slight body roll as the suspension that did so well in absorbing road imperfections isn’t tight enough to cope with corners. Nevertheless, this is not enough to unsettle the Hyundai.
What may surprise most though is the size of the Veloster’s engine. It is powered by a small 1.6-litre 4-cylinder, direct injected engine shared with the Kia Rio, producing just 103kW of power at 6,300 rpm and 166Nm at 4,850 rpm.
While we could not fault the engine, it lacks the power to match the Veloster’s looks. I find myself constantly rowing between the gears just to get the car going. This is exaggerated further when joy riders are on board, in which there will be many due to the car’s appealing looks.
The Veloster’s effective sound deadening is put to good use in this regard, as the engine needs revs to motivate the car.
The Veloster is impressively put together. All apertures open and shut with a solid feel. This continues into the cabin where fit and finish is on par with the Japanese, if not better.
High quality plastics adorn the dash board and door trims, while the switch gear all have a quality feel to them. The gear shift lever looks and feels expensive too.
In the centre of the dash lives a 7” touch screen with brilliant graphical interface.
The only slight let down is the aforementioned door grabs which feels a little plasticky.
Hyundai claims the Veloster will return 6.4l/100km combined fuel consumption from its 50 litres fuel tank. However, due to the constant need to push the engine far into the higher rev range, we managed a miserly 7.9l/100km combined.
This is achieved with over 80% city and spirited driving. On a brighter note, the Veloster will happily accept regular unleaded fuel.
The Veloster+ tested comes with all the fruits. On top of the Veloster’s automatic headlights with LED daytime running lights and coming/leaving home functions, Bluetooth phone and audio, a cracking 7-speakers premium sound system, two 12V power outlets in the centre console, tyre pressure monitoring system, cruise control and trip computer, the + adds driver’s electric lumbar support and seat base slide and tilt, panoramic glass sunroof with electric sunblind, heated and electric folding exterior mirrors and climate control air-conditioning.
There are also rear park assist and a rear view camera (for both models), a must due to the Veloster’s chunky C-pillars that hide anything other than Mount Everest.
The 7″ touch screen displays a myriad of information, including image from the reverse camera. Drivers can even play a game called Blue Max where they are rewarded with points for driving ‘green’.
Storage also abounds in the car. There are cup holders front and rear to keep all occupants happy. Deceivingly, the Veloster comes with a decently sized booth that is easy to access.
The Veloster is a head turner that drives and handles well. It is loaded with amazing value and comes with great built quality. The sexy coupé is easy to live with on a daily basis, yet provide a little bit of fun on the weekend if desired.
However, the visual excitement is let down slightly by a lack of punch, that is until the Veloster Turbo arrives later this year. Be sure to check back for the review.
|Price (Excl. On-roads):||From $23,990 – $27,990. As tested: $27,990|
|Metallic Paint: $595.00|
|Warranty:||5 years/unlimited kilometres|
|Engine:||1.6-litres, 4-cylinder, direct injection, 103kW/166Nm|
|Transmission:||6-speed manual (as tested)/6-speed Double Clutch Transmission|
|Body:||2 + 1 Door Sports Coupé|
|Dimensions:||Length: 4220mm, Width: 1790mm, Height: 1399mm,Wheelbase: 2650mm|
|Kerb Weight:||1180kg – 1265kg|
Car reviewed is based on Australian Specified model and may differ to that available in your country of residence