Hyundai Veloster Has the Style, Performance

2012 Hyundai Veloster Review

Veloster exterior

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2012 Hyundai Veloster Review:

Hyundai has created another styling home run.

This time it’s the diminutive 2012 Hyundai Veloster, a sporty coupe/hatch with a bonus back door on the passenger’s side.

Veloster is a fun drive. It combines the swoopy appeal of Honda’s CR-Z hybrid coupe, with the light feel of former Toyota Celicas. Youngsters will dig this economical coupe/hatch.

Beyond its stellar looks is a solid sporty car, one that is relatively inexpensive to buy and run.

Veloster3Door

For $17,300 you get is a well-built, three-door sports coupe with a hatch in back for maximum storage space and fastback styling.

The car starts at $17,300 (including delivery) with a manual six-speed transmission. This is the only trim level, but a six-speed automatic is available for $1,250.

Gas mileage is 28 mpg rating city and 40 mpg highway. I got 32.4 mpg in a week’s drive about evenly split between city and highway. The trip computer was only slightly optimistic at 33.4 mpg.

What you get is a well-built, three-door sports coupe with a hatch in back for maximum storage space and fastback styling. There’s 16.0 cubic feet of cargo room in back, before you fold down the split rear seat. This is a deep cargo area.

Veloster features a 1.6-liter GDI 4-cylinder engine that creates 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. Since it weighs just 2,584 pounds, the Hyundai is light on its feet and fairly easy to move to highway speeds. For more power, consider waiting until fall when a turbo version is expected.

The six-speed manual transmission with EcoShift is easy to use and fairly fun with moderately short throws. I found second gear a bit notchy at times, but mostly the Veloster shifts smoothly.

Handling is quick with good road feedback. With a thick leather-wrapped steering wheel it was fun to slip Veloster through sweeping turns and tight corners. It held the road well with little lean in the turns. Fatter tires might make it even more exciting.

Ride is smooth and controlled on asphalt, but turns a bit choppy on poor pavement. The car rides on slightly more than a 104-inch wheelbase and 17-inch wheels are standard. The test vehicle upgraded to 18 inchers and alloy wheels.

Veloster exterior

As racy as the exterior looks, Veloster's interior is a styling and functional tour de force.

Braking is fine from four wheel discs, and both traction and stability control are standard.

As racy as the exterior looks, Veloster’s interior is a styling and functional tour de force. The silver test car came with a black and gray interior, including a textured rubberized black dash top with matte silver door and dash trim accentuating the tall door pulls. These stick up a bit from the door panels and actually make it easy to grab and pull the large coupe doors shut. Simple, but no other carmaker has thought of this yet.

Veloster’s dash is well laid out with all buttons easy to see and use, even with a navigation screen. The layout also was logical, something fewer carmakers seem capable of executing.

There’s a tilt/telescope steering wheel with Blue tooth hands-free phone system and cruise, radio and phone controls on the hub. Overhead, Hyundai also provides solid visors with pull-out extenders, even at this price, along with Blue Link telematics, similar to GM’s OnStar.

Veloster’s seats are gray cloth, but the test car added leatherette trim around the edges, part of the $2,000 Style package. The package also adds the 18-inch alloy wheels mentioned above, plus a panoramic sunroof and power shade, a fancier chrome grille surround with black highlights, fog lights, piano black interior accents and a Dimension premium audio system with eight speakers, plus external amp and subwoofer. Alloy pedals, a driver auto-up window and the leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter also are included.

Veloster interior

Veloster’s seats are gray cloth, but the test car added leatherette trim around the edges, part of the $2,000 Style package.

I liked the car’s well-contoured seats, which have a handle to adjust their height. Naturally, you can flip the driver’s seat forward, or open the small rear-opening door on the passenger’s side to access the rear seat. The door blends well into the car’s lines so it’s not as obvious as you’d expect.

Rear seat room is limited though and best suited to small children or those in car seats. That’s what you’d expect in a small coupe or hatch though.

Veloster is impressive, but is it perfect? Not quite. The front three-quarter view and rear visibility are limited. The rear view is slightly obscured by the sloping back window and hatch.

With options the test Veloster hit $21,300, a tad pricey. But starting at below $20,000, Veloster is quite the bargain.

Mark Savage welcomes your questions and comments regarding new vehicles at Savageonwheels@yahoo.com.

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