2012 Hyundai Veloster: A Funky Gateway Halo

2012 Hyundai Veloster

When it comes to appealing new products Korean automaker Hyundai is on a roll! Their latest vehicle is the 2012 Veloster, a funky a three-door asymmetrical coupe with a rear hatch. It is intended to be a “gateway halo” or entry vehicle for the brand and is as unique in styling as it is in functional attributes. The Veloster, a name with no meaning, features a host of advanced technologies included within its value-laden packaging. To go along with a 40-mpg capability, the BlueLink communications system with over thirty features in three available packages — Assurance, Essentials and Guidance — is at your disposal.

The Veloster is odd at most, but cool with its three-door design. A single door is positioned on the driver’s side; two conventionally-opening doors are on the passenger side, and the rear hatch is actually hidden. In right-hand drive markets, the passenger door will move from the right side to the left. Veloster comes with Hyundai’s bold signature hexagonal grille, a hood scoop, LED headlight accents and black A-pillars that tend to simulate a motorcycle visor. Fluidic sculptured lines join athletic, pronounced wheel arches, body-color door handles and mirrors, as well as wraparound headlights and available 5-spoke, 18-inch alloy wheels that feature unique painted inserts all add to the unusual coupe’s sporty, bug-like exterior. Piano black accents complement the front-end. Special graphics packages are optionally available for a custom personal effect.

A rear glass hatch with an integrated rear spoiler is set inboard of the wraparound tail lamps. The rear also features a blacked-out diffuser with dual, centered chrome exhaust tips. A backup camera and backup warning sensors are optionally available.

Moving to the inside, the interior design drew its inspiration from sport motorcycles, with the dynamic center fascia taken from the tank, the air vent design drawn from mechanically styled, wide mufflers, while the floor console delivers a sporty and sleek profile. Additionally, there’s a 7-inch Multimedia touchscreen, a technical, non-reflective grain on the IP, and stylish, silver-colored grab handles and other trim accents. A proximity key with push-button start is available as are red and black combination seating. In terms of seating volume, Veloster offers best-in-class interior volume in the compact sporty car market segment, beating out the likes of the Scion tC, Honda CR-Z, MINI Hardtop and Clubman and the latest VW Beetle. Innovative storage abounds with front map pockets with bottle holders, overhead sunglass storage, front and rear cupholders with storage consoles, a dual-tiered armrest storage box, front seatback storage pockets and front and rear armrest storage pockets. There are also two levels of audio systems featuring Hyundai’s first application of Gracenote technology and Pandora. Additionally, Hyundai is offering Bluetooth with voice recognition, cruise control and steering wheel audio controls.

Power for the Veloster is delivered by a Gamma 1.6-liter, inline four-cylinder engine that generates 138 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 123 pound feet of torque at 4,850 rpm. The diminutive four-banger is mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox with an EcoShift indicator, or a six-speed EcoShift Dual Clutch transmission (Hyundai’s first), with standard wheel-mounted paddle shifters and a SHIFTRONIC manual shift mode, transferring reasonable force to the front wheels.

The Veloster provides an impressive array of safety features including six airbags; Vehicle Stability Management; Electronic Stability Control with integrated Traction Control; Hillstart Assist Control (DCT only); ABS with EBD, and Brake Assist.

Our test vehicle in Portland, Oregon came with the EcoShift DCT transmission. It sported a Century White exterior with a Black interior and had a base sticker of $18,550. Adding the Style ad Tech Packages, carpeted floor mats and Inland Freight and Handling charges bumped the final amount to $23,405. This may seem like a lot for a compact vehicle, but the two packages are loaded with special features and equipment.

The ride quality is compliant, even with the optional 18-inch wheels and tires, and the handling characteristics are sporty indeed. The power that’s put out by the four-cylinder is decidedly adequate to satisfy the car’s mission statement, but the addition of turbocharging would definitely up the ante in the performance department. In other words, it could absolutely use more power in certain driving scenarios such as uphill passing. Though Hyundai representatives were unable to verify that a turbo version was in the works, it seems almost certain that such a model can’t be far from fruition.

The 2012 Hyundai Veloster is an incredible compact vehicle that is not only innovative, but extremely attractive in its appearance, especially from the rear and side views. It comes with an almost unbelievable inventory of standard features and technology and impressive option packaging that provides enhancements for personalization desires and requirements.

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