2012 Hyundai Veloster
Date Posted: November 1, 2011
By Zack Spencer
Based on the Hyundai Accent platform, the Veloster is like todays take on the CR-X
Hyundai and sister company Kia recently dominated the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada's (AJAC) Car of the Year Awards with a combined five wins out of eleven categories. They include the Hyundai Accent, Elantra, Sonata Hybrid, Kia Optima and this car, the Hyundai Veloster. The Veloster won in the Sports/Performance category under $50,000 against some heavy hitters like the Mercedes C-Class Coupe. The Veloster is one of the most unique looking car on the road and one they hope will bring young, sporty buyers into their showrooms. Based on the Accent platform, even using the same engine, this car is all about style with a bit of functionality thrown in for good measure. It could be said that this Veloster is this generation's version of the CR-X.
The wedge shape is very aggressive with lots of accent lines and details. The front has a large opening and the front bumper is sculpted under the front headlights. The windshield is steeply raked and the back window is almost horizontal. The rear of the Veloster is just as dramatic, featuring centre exhaust tips and a molded, futuristic rear bumper and hatch. The styling is different but in person this car pulls it off. On the driver's side is a large, heavy door but on the passenger side the front door has been shortened to make room for a rear door. When the rear door is closed it is very hard to tell that there is a door at all because the door hinges forward and the handle is tucked up high into the trim of the car. The front door is still large enough to enter easily. A few things I want to point out. The starting price for all this style is just under $19,000 and this top model with manual transmission is $22,500. The base wheel is 17-inches but the wheel featured on this car are tasty18-inches units with colour-matched spokes inserts.
Be warned, when getting into the back door, it has a nasty surprise. If you try to sit in the rear seat (butt first) and then swing your legs in, you will crack your head on the roof-- trust me on this! So to get into the back seat, the passenger has to go in headfirst. Once in the headroom is pathetic but this car really only has rear seats for very occasional use or additional storage It should be said that the legroom in the back is surprisingly good. Headroom is also an issue for the front seat. If you are over six feet, your head might touch the roof liner. Other than that the front is a showcase in just how far Hyundai has come. The dash is covered in soft touch materials, the layout is sporty and classy plus the seats are covered in cloth and leatherette for an added visual punch. Overall the fit and finish is as good as it gets and the layout is easy and fairly intuitive. Standard equipment includes a centre 7-inch screen with rich colour and it comes with a backup camera. Other standard touches include a USB port, auxiliary jack and Bluetooth. The optional navigation featured in this tech package also gets you a better stereo.
There is no question that this little Veloster has a sporty appeal inside and out but does it have the chops to appeal to real enthusiasts? Not really, this car is about a sporty feel rather than all-out performance, basically a fun and stylish commuter car. The engine is the same unit found in the Accent subcompact. It is a 1.6L direct injection 4-cylinder with 138hp. No real flat out performance but it will get the job done. Hyundai has just announced that they will have a 204hp turbo version that will debut in January at the Detroit Auto Show. The six-speed manual found in my test car was very good, with clean, short throws and it gets the most out of the engine. The automatic is Hyundai's first duel-clutch 6-speed with available paddle shifters. Since this is a small, low and light car, the Veloster is a fun to toss around and it feels sporty, making up for the small engine. Surprisingly, this car isn't just fun around town it is very good on the highway-- it just zips along.
The Veloster is a great little car, the perfect runabout for a stylish city commuter. The compact hatch is a head turner, the interior is very well equipped and full of technology plus the car feels fun to drive at a very good price. The back seat has limited headroom and the engine is adequate but the upcoming turbo really will be a fantastic package. With Honda, Toyota and Mazda sales all down this year, the excuse of natural disasters in Japan only goes so far. The Korean makers are offering a lot more for your hard earned money and now they are doing it with stylish gusto. Now with five wins at the AJAC Car of the Year awards, they gas pedal has been firmly planted for even more sales growth
The Good, The Bad
The Veloster is rated at 7.2L/100km in the city and only 4.9L on the highway.
The steering isn't very precise but this is the case with most Korean cars.
Power: 1.6L with 138hp
Fill-up: 7.2L/4.9L/100km (city/highway )
Sticker price: $18,999-$23,899