The unbalanced design
It has been half a decade since we last saw an exciting coupe on Hyundai’s price list, so the sporty new Veloster has generatated quite a lot of interest. However, while its predecessor the Tiburon was purely a coupe, the Veloster is something of a mixed bag.
The Veloster appears to be a sleek coupe when viewed from the driver’s side but on the passenger side the car has two doors, looking more like a five-door hatchback.
The engineers successfully incorporated an extra door into the coupe design and attempted to conceal it by positioning the exterior handle into the window frame. The small third door is fitted on the safe side of the road making the task of loading passengers into the rear seats a lot easier. There is seating for two occupants at the rear; preferably not tall ones as the sloping roofline limits the amount of headroom.
Performance model lives up to the expectations
There are two 1.6L direct-injection motors available. The normally aspirated version has 103kW/167Nm and is mated to a new quick shifting six-speed dual clutch transmission (auto). The performance alternative has a twin-scroll turbocharger strapped to it, and an intercooler keeps the intake temperatures down, with the resultant 150kW/265Nm driving the front wheels through a six-speed manual or a conventional auto ‘box.
The standard 1.6L powerplant performs well enough, and the new auto ‘box hurries through gear changes, but it’s the force-induction motor that lives up to the expectations created by the vehicle’s sleek design. It performs briskly and while the stick shifter offers the more engaging drive, auto models have paddle shifters located behind the steering wheel for drivers wishing to shift the cogs up or down manually.
The claimed fuel economy is 6.4L/100km for the standard 1.6L while the turbocharged models are said to use 6.8L/100km for the manual and 7.6L/100km for the auto versions.
The flared wheel arches and bulgy bumpers provide an aggressive stance while the turbo model takes the athletic design a step further with a larger grille, circular dual exhaust outlets as well as fog lamps and a pair of side skirts to give the appearance of being lower to the ground.
All models are fitted with 18-inch alloy wheel rims shod with 215/40 rubber, a reversing camera and a panoramic glass roof. Inside, the cabin’s standard features include leather seats, a seven-inch touch screen audio display, dual-zone climate control air-conditioning and steering wheel mounted audio controls.
Luggage space is limited at 320 litres but the 60/40 split rear seats can fold flat to free up extra room.
Sporty coupes often ride harshly over undulations in the road but the Veloster’s McPherson strut front and rear torsion beam suspension setup is locally tuned to provide ample dampening for a comfy ride. The electrically assisted power steering feels nicely weighted but unlike the recently launched i30 and Santa Fe models the Veloster doesn’t gain the adjustable Flex Steer system.
Active safety features include Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Traction Control System (TCS).
Passive safety is in the form of frontal and side airbags for front row seats as well as two curtain airbags. The Veloster is awarded a five-star ANCAP crash test rating.
Three models are currently on offer; the non-turbo 1.6L Elite stickered at $44,990 while the turbocharged versions have a $5,000 premium, priced at $49,990 with either a manual or auto transmission.