Inside & Out: 8/10
The Veloster looks great. And it is much bigger than photographs would first suggest. We parked the Veloster next to a 2009 Hyundai Coupé and we were surprised at how similar they were in size with the Coupé sitting marginally lower than the Veloster. Given that it is usually Kia that comes out with the more radical design, the Veloster is something of a departure for the brand, but a welcome one. The clever part of the Veloster is that it has two doors on the passenger side and one on the driver side. This means that you can get kids in and out of the back with relative ease, yet you still have the coupé silhouette. We really like some of the design touches on the car, including the centrally mounted exhausts, which look really great. Our test car was Orange, or rather Vitamin C, with orange wheel inserts, which will cost €200. We initially thought that they wouldn’t be popular but having spoken to some potential customers who loved them we have revised our opinion. The interior is a nice place to be, with a definite cockpit feel. Our test car was fully laden with equipment, from leather upholstery to satellite navigation, both of which will be optional extras on the car when it goes on sale. There is a small sporty steering wheel and gear shifter and visibility all-round is surprisingly good given the car’s design.
Engine & Transmission: 6/10
Power comes from a 1.6-litre GDi petrol engine, which is putting out 137hp. It perhaps isn’t enough if you want your Veloster to be a sports car. You really have to work the Veloster, which feels like quite a weighty car, if you want to get the very best out of it. The result is that your will be making quite frequent fuel stops too, as we found out. The engine is smooth and refined at normal speeds anyway and if you fancy this car as a cruiser or are coming out of a 1.6-litre Hyundai Coupé then it will feel more than adequate. There is expected to be a turbocharged version of the Veloster coming next year and this will address the shortfall that some will notice. Expect to see a 2.0-litre turbocharged unit, boosting power to closer to the 200hp mark. We really like the gearbox, which enjoys short throws and feels sporty. There will be a double-clutch automatic gearbox available too, which will drop the car into Motor Tax Band B, but might add €1,500 to the final price tag.
Ride & Handling: 5/10
First things first, the steering is very good in the Veloster and it is sitting on a great little chassis, but the car we drove (a left-hand drive version brought in for test-drives) didn’t really feel set up properly for Irish roads. The car skipped and hopped over poor surfaces, and this became unsettling when engaging in more ‘spirited’ driving. We feel that this could be corrected reasonably simply because the basic raw materials of the car feel really good. We have alerted Hyundai of this and they are aware that some settings might be changed before right-hand drive examples reach us. Aside from that the comfort levels are good considering the car sits on big wheels and has sporty intentions.
Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: 7/10
It is likely to be some time before we get full and final specification for the car, but we would expect the car to come with a pretty high level of standard kit if this one was anything to go by and we can expect climate control air conditioning, 17” alloy wheels, Bluetooth for phone and audio and ESP. Early indications are that the car will cost €26,000 for the manual version, but given that the dual-clutch gearbox version will sit in a lower tax band it might not end up being that much more expensive than the manual gearbox. We probably won’t see a more powerful version until well into 2012.
The Veloster is a very likeable car and Coupé customers are sure to like it and we know this because we asked a few. Hopefully right-hand drive cars will come with damper set-up more suited to our challenging roads, but that aside this will be a quiet success for Hyundai in our view.
- Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol
- Maximum power: 137hp at 6,300rpm
- Maximum torque: 167Nm at 4,850rpm
- Acceleration (0-100km/h): 9.8 seconds
- Maximum speed: 201km/h
- Fuel economy (combined cycle): 6.2 litres/100km (45.6mpg)
- CO2 emissions: 142g/km
- Motor tax band: C
- Annual road tax: €302
- Retail price: Official price of test car without options is €26,000 (estimate)
Photography: Max Earey