Hyundai Veloster Elite 2012 Review

Hyundai Veloster Elite 2012 Review

Hyundai now boasts an extremely large small car range courtesy of the Veloster. It’s also making forays into sports car territory with the Veloster’s middle-bumper exhaust, low-slung looks and all the tie-ins with the rally versions that Kiwi Reece Millen has been thrashing in viral videos.

While Millen’s car is a far cry from what you and I will be pootling around in, the car itself is certainly competent on the road. I have a certain hairpin bend that I know a competent sports car can take at

100kph. Try it in a Corolla and the tires protest as the nose slides wide. The Veloster, though, tracked like a sports car and the semi-bucket seats hold you in place so that your passenger doesn’t end up in your lap.

This shows you just how far Hyundai has come in 20 years. I would quite happily own a Veloster, something I don’t say about many of the cars I drive, not even the Ferrari California I drove a couple of days ago.

The Veloster is significantly slower than the California. You get a 1.6-litre engine that happily liberates 103kW and 166Nm from the petrol and it feels like it reaches 100 in somewhere between 8 and 9 seconds. Hyundai claims 6.4l/100km on the combined cycle. I drove to Hamilton and back at highway speeds using cruise control most of the way with very little city driving and averaged 6.2l/100km, so you’ll have to be light on the throttle to keep it to 6.4.

As well as some tasty 18-inch alloys there is an exceptional range of eight colours from your standard blacks and silvers through to some look-at-me hues such as green apple, sunflower and vitamin C (the colour of our test car). I have only seen three of the colours in the flesh and I can say that the black looks absolutely mean from any angle, and the third door on the passenger side disappears into the overall vehicle silhouette.

This brings me to my only major annoyance with the Veloster: why only put the extra door on the passenger side? I want to have a door on my side because I open it and put my laptop bag behind the driver’s seat. But you could argue that this is a talking point and if Hyundai had just made another 5-door coupe that it wouldn’t have been so ‘cool’.

Riding in the back isn’t bad for smaller passengers but tall people may find their hair rubbing on the roof.  There’s even a sticker on the boot warning not to slam the boot lid down because rear passengers’ heads could connect with it.

The interior feels spacious especially when you have the panoramic sunroof open. There’s plenty of room in the glovebox and the central binnacle. The large tray behind the gearstick could do with some stickier rubber to stop things sliding around. It is the perfect receptacle for an MP3 player/iPod/phone because the audio connections are there, but things move as you go around corners.

The driver has Bluetooth phone connectivity and buttons on the steering wheel for navigating the audio system and controlling the cruise control. Instruments and switches are laid out intuitively (except for the engine start/stop button which is down behind the gearstick). A premium sound system pumps out 450W of grunt and features an 8-inch subwoofer in the rear.

The reversing camera makes manoeuvring easier because the split rear window isn’t large and the rear pillars are reasonably thick. Other safety features include hill start assist, emergency braking assistance, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, vehicle stability management, electronic stability control and six airbags. You really have to be exceptionally reckless or bad at driving to unstick the Veloster from the road. The tyres worked well with the setup of the car and despite being on some large rims, the ride wasn’t crashy, even when I pushed it to see if the electronics would kick in (you have to push it quite hard for that to happen).

So why does the Veloster appeal to me – I’m in my mid-30s, I grew up owning turbo rally cars when petrol was less than a dollar a litre, I know my way around a computer and I wear funky t-shirts. The target market for the Veloster is almost the hipster crowd. It’s someone who wants something a bit different. The Veloster wouldn’t look out of place if you put a Lotus badge on it – in fact, it’s a bit ‘Europa-ish’ in its look from the side. It’s a car for those who are connected all the time to Facebook; those who want to caress the planet but without giving up performance; those who might have one child in their mid-to-late 30s so need something that could be slightly practical; those who understand ‘design’ because Apple has educated the masses that way, and now they look for it in everything.

But you don’t need thick-rimmed glasses and a hairstyle that looks like you’ve just lost a fight with a bear to drive it. It’s as benign as you need it to be, but with a change of attitude it’ll own the apex and you can let it drift wide on the exit as you bury the throttle. And, I can’t wait for the turbo version.

Pros

  • You can’t fault hardly anything
  • The turbo version should be awesome.

Cons

  • Having a second door on the left and not on the right is annoying.
  • Token ‘green driving’ game gets boring quickly.

Price: from $44,990

Specifications

Transmission  /  Automatic 6-speed Dual Clutch Transmission

CC  /  1,591

Fuel Type  /  petrol

Power  /  103 kW @ 6,300 rpm

Torque  /  167 Nm @4,850 rpm

Length  /  4,220 mm

Width  /  1,790 mm

Height  /  1,399 mm

Towing Capacity Braked  /  n/a

Towing Capacity Unbraked  /  n/a

Min. Turning Radius  / 5.2 m

Kerb Weight (lightest/heaviest)  /  1,265 kg

Fuel Tank Capacity  /  50 litres

Boot Capacity  /  320 (VDA)

Wheel Base  /  2,650

Tyres  /  215/40 R18

Fuel Consumption Combined  /  6.4 l/100km

Fuel Emissions  /  145 g/km

Safety

  • ABS braking with EBD (Electronic Brake-Force Distribution)
  • Hill Start Assist Control
  • Brake Assist System (BAS)
  • Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Traction Control System (TCS)
  • SRS driver and front passenger front airbags
  • SRS driver and front passenger side (thorax) airbags
  • SRS dual full length roof curtain airbags
  • Reinforced chassis, with rigid cabin and crumple zones (front and rear)
  • Side impact beams and bars
  • Automatic dusk sensing headlights
  • Daytime running lights (LED)
  • Projector beam headlights
  • Rain sensing wipers
  • Rear view camera
  • Safety window
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  • Reversing sensors

Seats

  • Rear seat 60/40 split folding function (2 rear seats)
  • Leather seats
  • Driver’s  electric sliding, reclining and height adjustable seat, featuring 8-way adjustment
  • Electronic lumbar support on driver’s seat
  • Premium door trim and dashboard treatment

Storage

  • Cargo net
  • Front passenger overhead console with dual map reading lights and sunglasses holder
  • Luggage light

Instrumentation

  • Proximity key and engine start / stop button
  • Trip computer including distance to empty, average fuel consumption, average speed and driving time
  • Heated electric side mirrors
  • Central locking
  • Engine immobiliser
  • Hyundai Active Locking Operation (HALO) including speed sensing auto door locking
  • Power windows
  • Front passenger overhead dual map reading lights

Audio

  • USB with auxilliary iPod© input
  • Bluetooth™  handsfree phone system
  • Supervision cluster with 7.0″ TFT LCD display
  • Steering wheel mounted audio and Bluetooth™  handsfree remote controls
  • Premium stereo system with amplifier and subwoofer

Warranty

  • 10 year / 200,000 km anti perforation corrosion body warranty
  • 3 year / 100,000 km mechanical warranty
  • 3 year / 100,000 km roadside assistance package

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

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