From EVs to SUVs, Sports cars to Compacts, Hyundai New Zealand’s list of vehicles is as broad as it is long, but somewhere between their N-performance vehicles and hot hatch’s lies the Hyundai Veloster, a vehicle that’s been created to stand out, even from themselves. And now there’s a new version.
Originally launched in 2011, the Veloster isn’t a ‘conformist’ two or four-door, oh no, it comes with three – obviously. One on the driver’s side (helpful for the driver) and two on the other. Yes on the face of it, those ‘symmetrically-obsessed’ among us would question the Seoul designers sanity, but, it’s actually rather smart. It stops the driver’s side back seat passengers from potentially swinging the door open into traffic when parked, however, it’s not so good if you want rid of back seat drivers though. Ahem, moving swiftly on.
In many ways, the new Hyundai Veloster is a crossover but not in an SUV sense. It merges the sporty design of a coupe with the arguable versatility of a hatch. This new version evidently maintains the model’s 3-door uniqueness of the past while embracing a sleeker, more modern visage, inside and out.
The signature Hyundai family grille has a 3D look to it with LED lights front and rear. There’s a more athletic stance to the vehicle with pronounced lines and (with my model) Turbo body styling. 18-inch alloys fill the wheel arches and the tapered roofline comes down to meet the Veloster’s busy rear end with a roofline spoiler, clever hatch design, a more aggressive integrated diffuser design and twin chrome exhaust tips in the centre.
My review model came in Ignite flame, it’s a striking colour that certainly grabs your attention, however, the Veloster also comes in other cooly-named palettes, everything from Phantom black and Dark knight to Shooting Star matte and Tangerine Comet – they are much more of a talking point than plain ‘ol black or white.
Much of the interior is driver-focussed, which, in my opinion, is the only way a sportscar’s interior should be. The instrument cluster is large and clear as is the 8-inch infotainment touch screen (with Apple and Android). The textures, trim and sporty accents in the cabin are welcoming and rather tactile, however, it’s not without a fair share of hard plastics. The Veloster’s bucket seats are figure-hugging and supportive, heated and cooled and 6-way electronically adjusted, plus bonus on these current cold day’s, the steering wheel is heated too. When you throw in the Power Sunroof, Wireless Charging, Heads- Up display and an 8-Speaker Infinity Sound System you start to get the feeling that this new coupe is very well-appointed.
Hyundai has also seen fit to add their Smartsense suite of driver and safety aids in as standard too. You get everything from Smart Cruise Control and Driver Attention Warning to Lane Keep Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Warning.
But enough of all that, how does this sporty Coupe/hatch drive? Really well in fact. It’s been a while since I was behind the wheel of the previous model and although I liked its style and middle finger to conservatism, it was a little light in the power department – not the case with this new model. Under the bonnet of my Limited version was a 1.6T Gamma engine. When you move the rev needle up past 1,500 rpm you gain access to 265Nm of Torque and when you reach 6,000 rpm you’re greeted with 150kW of power. When you combine this with its 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) and know that Hyundai has included Torque Vectoring Control (TVC) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) to aid you in the corners, you have a vehicle that becomes the sportscar it always wanted to be.
I spent a fair amount of time playing around in the countryside around Clevedon (yes sorry that was me) exploring the curves and enjoying the view, (albeit briefly) and the Veloster appeared to enjoy the leisurely (ahem) drive too.
The new three-door, four-seat (there is no room or space for a fifth) Hyundai Veloster is an enjoyable ride that offers plenty of unique character and more than enough oomph to bring a smile to your Seoul.