If you’re after near perfect handling, brisk and willing acceleration wrapped up in an in your face breathtaking design that won’t hammer the bottom line – Look no further than the Hyundai Veloster range.
The 10 minute test drive
Brash, manic styling indulges ones senses immediately as you hit the showroom floor. It’s certainly different, strangely appealing in fact. There’s a chaotic and inflated interpretation of the i30 front hexagonal grill particularly on turbo models. Two superficial bonnet scoops are a nod towards its underlying athleticism.
Profile wise things start to get really radical, two doors on the passenger side with just one for the driver.
Surely a crime against symmetry? Not at all, it makes perfect sense for a four seater. After awhile its lopsided entry options become irrelevant.
And what about that rear end? I like it. Central and large diameter dual exhaust pipes poke through a complicated and chiselled bumper assembly. A smallish rear hatch door is hinged to a slopping almost mini like roofline which features an innovative upper glass panel which actually forms part of the roof. It’s quirky but does impede rear vision somewhat; hot days may make life uncomfortable for rear seat passengers.
Jump behind the typical Hyundai button plagued wheel and you’ll find yourself ensconced in Recaro inspired leather seats. Perhaps a little restrictive for those with larger frames the impressive leather pews ensure you sink into the perfect seating position.
On the road it’s immediately obvious the suspension tune and overall balance yearns for bouts of spirited driving. The wheel feels overly heavy at lower speeds and is somewhat reluctant to self centre. But pick up the pace and you realise the Veloster is something quite special.
Ins and outs
For all the flair and showiness this is a Hyundai claiming ‘Hot Hatch’ status. Well it depends on what model you choose to indulge in.
You see the Veloster is two-faced.
On the one hand there’s the naturally aspirated 1.6 Litre 103 kW / 166 Nm 4 Cylinder. But the same unit with a Turbo charger bolted on alters the numbers to 150 kW / 265 Nm.
EFTM has driven every possible combination of the Veloster. The standard kit, the + model and the SR Turbo. Manual, automatic and state of the art DCT transmissions were also put through the ringer.
If the bank allows it, look no further than the Turbo models. They’re incredibly fun to drive, with perky acceleration making the force feed hatch a real hoot to fang around.
The non turbo models are not as much fun, but nonetheless the underlying inherent precision of the chassis and suspension tune still cater for driving enthusiasts. Just without the 150 Kw gusto.
Paddle shifters on the auto models are flimsy and clearly cheap (as found on i40 models) but actually useful. On the SR Turbo finger flicking through the cogs was quick and precise. However the optional 6 speed double clutch transmission (DCT) on the non turbo models was a let-down. It’s quick, but reluctant when pushed.
Manual models are easy shifters, in fact if I had a choice I’d run with a self shifting turbo.
Neighbours will stare curiously at the strange looking futuristic silhouette in the driveway. It’s striking on road presence distracts fellow motorists. There’s some passionate fans of the dynamic Toyota 86 here at EFTM. The Veloster is being spoken about in the same breath by ‘those in the know’ – enough said.
On offer are some exciting paint schemes. A matte grey colour requires its own special hand wash only instruction manual. We drove the SR Turbo covered in ‘Marmalade’. A two-tone paint which produces different effects dependant on what angled viewed from.
The downside? $1000 for the privilege.
The lasting impression
Hyundai offer terrific after sales service. Three years capped price serving is common these days but when married to a five year unlimited KM warranty it becomes an attractive proposition.
Quality across the 2013 Hyundai fleet from the diminutive i20, i30 hatch, larger i40 sedan and Veloster is excellent. Not quite European standard, but right up there alongside Mazda who just pip them in this area.
The hip pocket
The manual base model starts at $23,990; $25,990 gets you the DCT option. Veloster + up’s the price to $27,990 for the manual and $29,990 with DCT option.
The jewel in the crown SR Turbo hits $31,990 for the manual, $33,990 for the auto. All come in a single standard trim level.
Compare that across the market and you’ll find that Toyota’s 86 coupe is sharply priced from $29,990. Subaru’s BRZ coupe blows out to $37,150. Honda’s CR-Z coupe is also pricier from $34,990.
The EFTM Rubber Stamp
The distinction stamp was very nearly produced here. The only let down is rearward vision issues, steering which is a fraction too heavy and not as perfectly balanced as the Toyota 86. However it eclipses the Toyota in the practicality stakes and is arguably better value.
The Hyundai Veloster range earns the EFTM Credit Stamp.