Delivering appealing new product to the consumer is the name of the game with Hyundai. The Korean automaker continues to roll out innovative vehicles, and introduced their unique Veloster for the 2012 model year. Veloster is a three-door asymmetrical coupe that features a rear hatch with a single door on the driver’s side and two conventionally opening doors on the passenger side with the rear door actually hidden. It was designed to be a “gateway halo” or entry level vehicle for the brand. Not only was it unique in its styling and functional attributes, there were a host of advanced technologies on board, all included in a value laden package. Value seems to be a key word in Hyundai’s vehicle portfolio. The Veloster features Hyundai’s BlueLink communications system with more than thirty features in three available packages: Assurance, Essentials and Guidance, along with a 40-mpg capability. Info is provided on a 7-inch screen.
While it is a three-door hatch coupe 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 fore and aft, 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 combine, adding to the unusual coupe’s sporty exterior image. Piano black accents complement the front-end look.
A unique 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 centered dual chrome tip rectangular exhaust outlets. 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 touch screen, 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 cup holders with storage consoles, a dual-tiered armrest storage box, front seatback storage pockets and front and rear armrest storage pockets. There are two levels of audio systems as well, featuring Hyundai’s first application of Gracenote technology and Pandora. There’s also Bluetooth with voice recognition, cruise control and steering wheel audio controls.
Power for this year’s Veloster model is delivered by a Gamma 1.6-liter, Direct Gas injected, DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine with dual continuously variable valve timing 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 motive energy 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.
That was then, this is now. For the 2013 model year, the Veloster gains much appreciated additional power in the form of a Turbo version – a 201 horsepower 1.6-liter Gamma, DOHC D-CVVT (Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing) GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) four-cylinder with a twin-scroll, intercooled turbocharger to be more precise.
I tested both a manual transmisson and automatic transmission-equipped Veloster Turbo. The 6-speed manual transmission came with an EcoShift indicator, while the automatic version featured steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The automatic model wore an Ultra Black exterior finish and came with a Black and Blue interior treatment. The automatic’s base sticker was $22,950. Exras included: the Ultimate Package with a Panoramic sunroof, backup warning sensors, automatic headlights, a Nav system with rearview camera and a 115V outlet; carpeted floormats and Inland Freight and Handling charges, which elevated the final tally came to $26,320. My manual gearbox equipped Veloster Turbo was done in Hyundais’ new Matte Gray finished exterior with a Black and Blue interior as well with the same options. The base price was set at $21,950 and the final tab amounted to $25,320.
The 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo represents an incredible value in a 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, while offering an impressive array of option packaging that provides enhancements for personalization desires and requirements.
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 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbocharged motor is decidedly more than adequate, now and should satisfy those with the need for more speed. The non-turbo was fun to drive, but the Turbo is superior.
In the final analysis, the Veloster is a most impressive compact vehicle that’s sure to fill the bill for those consumers shopping for a sporty, yet economic, compact and technologically innovative vehicle, and its price is quite reasonable considering the almost unbelievable level of content. The Turbo model definitely ups the ante in the performance department with sport-tuned steering and suspension. It features the same wheelbase as the regular Veloster but is 1.2-inches longer and .6-inches wider. The Grille and front fascia are Turbo specific. The base non-Turbo Veloster starts at $17,450 with a manual gearbox and begins at $18,700 for the 6-speed EcoShift dual clutch transmission.