Those who don’t like being stared at should steer clear of buying a Veloster. Reaction from onlookers can vary from the double take to serious jaw dropping: the Veloster just won’t be ignored.
With a starting price of just $23,990 for the six-speed manual, it’s no wonder the little Hyundai is selling so well in its early days. An upmarket Veloster + costs an extra $2000, while six-speed double-clutch automatic versions adds a further $2000.
The well-specced standard Veloster’s price includes premium audio featuring AUX/USB input; seven-inch LCD touch screen with integrated rear-view camera, tyre pressure monitoring, daytime running lights, automatic headlamps, cruise control and rear park assist.
It also has hill-start assist on DCT equipped models – which doesn’t make sense, it’s the manual model that needs assistance for clumsy drivers, not the automatic.
The topline Hyundai Veloster + adds a panoramic glass sunroof, projector beam headlamps, smart key with push button start, heated door mirrors, leather/leatherette seats, power driver’s seat and upgraded instrument cluster.
Under the bonnet is an all-new Hyundai Gamma 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, the smallest Hyundai powerplant to use Petrol (Gasoline) Direct Injection (GDI), providing greater fuel efficiency and durability with reduced noise, vibration and harshness.
The engine puts out peak power of 103 kW at 6300 rpm and maximum torque of 166 Nm at 4850 revs with an estimated combined fuel economy of just 6.4 litres per 100 kilometres. On a trip of predominantly highway driving the Veloster + test car recorded a low 5.4 litres per 100 kilometres, while on city commutes the best it came up with was the seven-plus mark.
Hyundai Veloster is something cleverly different in its design. Kerbside, there are two doors as in any five-door hatch; but on the right-hand side there’s a single door in the manner of a two-door coupe. Talk about a talking point – everyone who saw the car wanted to enthuse over the doors.
The front has a touch of aggression thanks to the use of the Hyundai corporate radiator grille. In profile the driver’s side is pure coupe with its single door and arching roof; kerbside the rear passenger door is fitted with a concealed handle to try and hide the fact that the car has a rear door.
The look from the rear is complex, with a range of geometric shapes including triangles and trapeziums all coming to a focus on low-set centrally situated twin chrome-tipped exhausts.
We sampled a Veloster + manual and found it to be an adequate performer without it serving up the enjoyment of that extra edge found with a genuine sporty coupe. Vision behind from the driver’s seat is good considering the steeply raked rear window. This is helped by the absence of a centre back seat and its head rest.
The standard reversing camera is a great guide to what’s behind the vehicle when going in that direction. The deep set rear seats are separated by dual drinkholders and offer limited views through small side windows. Kids may not be able to see much to the side if they are still on the short side.
On the other hand, the two-piece panoramic glass roof directly overhead gives them a view of the sky, tree tops, tall buildings and the like. Inside, the extensive range of instruments and controls is simply set out and, together with the multi-function sports-style steering wheel, makes driving easy. The short-throw gearshift only adds to the stress-free atmosphere.
The centre console is meant to continue the motorcycle theme with a layout aping a sports bike fuel tank, with air vents like tailpipes and a base mirroring the seat of a bike. Acceleration of the Veloster + is average rather than adventurous. A turbocharged model is getting close to joining this standard model in Australia and should make all the difference.
There is no arguing with the sporty Hyundai’s ability to stick to the road. Its suspension has been specially calibrated for Australian conditions and drivers’ likes. The feeling through the steering is nicely balanced with good turn in and understeer not rearing its head until the car is going pretty hard.
Whichever way you look at it this attention grabbing Hyundai is a competent, cool coupe-cum-hatchback.
Hyundai Veloster +
Warranty: 5 year/unlimited km
Service interval: 15,000km/12 months
Safety rating: 5 star
Spare: temporary steel
Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder, 103kW/166Nm
Transmission: 6-speed man; FWD
Body: 4.2m (L); 1.8m (w); 1.4m (h)
Thirst: 6.4/100km; 153g/km CO2