Anyone that has seen the Jurassic Park movies will ‘know’ that Velociraptors are nasty dinosaurs that are fast, cunning and have big sharp teeth. As they stand a mere 2M tall (5M length) so you may be mistaken for thinking that they are rather cute (in Dinosaur terms) but Spielberg has them portrayed as aggressive and intelligent bloodthirsty pack hunting critters that are virtually untamable – with 15cm razor sharp claws they are out to cause death and destruction wherever possible. Archeologists have a entirely different view of these Bipedal carnivores but let’s face it, who wants the facts to get in the way of a good story. Now although Hyundai’s modern hatchback the Veloster is a far cry from being a fossil; every time I hear the car’s name come up I immediately think of the Dinosaur.
First hitting the streets in 2011, the Hyundai Veloster has a very distinctive look. With its wide mouth grille (no sharp teeth), menacing looking headlights, an asymmetrical door configuration (one big driver’s door and 2 doors on the passenger side) and beasty sized (rocket effect) twin centre exhaust pipes round the back; it certainly gives you plenty to talk about. Muscular wheel arches gives the car a stronger kerb appeal and the hidden rear door handle had my son climbing in and out from the front before I pointed it out. A two door Coupe from one side or a four door hot hatch from the other; either way you look at it, it’s a sporty little number.
The 1.6L 16v (Twin Scroll) Turbo kicks out 150Kw and 265Nm of torque and takes the FWD from 0-100 in about 7 seconds. However; I did find that the Turbo has a bit of a lag off the mark and needed a bit of a kicking if I wanted to achieve the most out of it. The 7 Speed Dual Clutch Transmission (which can also be selected with paddles) races up and down the gears easily while also helping to keep fuel economy down around the 7.1L/100k’s.
The Veloster is deceptively large on the inside – but it is distinctively and definitely a 4 seater as the rear seat has built in cup holder that would be uncomfortable to sit on! While I’m there I will let you know that the head room in the rear is slightly limited (due to the sloping roof) but still has enough space for the average sized person. The embossed ‘Turbo’ on the stitched leather front sports seats is a bit of a throwback to a time gone by but somehow it seems to suit the car and I liked the scaly effect finish on the Trim/Dash (makes me think of dino skin). Infotainment has all the tech I have come to expect from Hyundai and even still has a CD player. Sunroof opens wide to let the outside world in and the split screen effect (due to the tail spoiler) still offers up great visibility from the rear view mirror. There are buttons a plenty on the wheel Cruise control, volume etc but the Veloster also has a Wheel strength button – you can choose between Sport, Comfort, and Normal.
We took the Veloster for a drive out towards the coast and I have to say that the handling is excellent – it’s comfortable on the open roads (maybe a little road noise) and sharp around the bends at speed. It feels happy on the tarmac and seems to equally enjoy the drop of unsealed roading I came across (my poor impression of Haydon Paddon driving skills was all but lost to my wife). Being a Hyundai, it is of course full of safety gear and 5 star ANCAP safety rated. Airbags, curtain bags, Traction control, Stability control all combined to make me ‘the driver’ more confident but push too hard and it will find a way to take the power off you – teaching you a lesson maybe?
The Veloster is a medium sized sports car; with a sloping roof that heads towards the hatchback and sitting low to the ground it has an appearance that yells speed and thankfully has an engine powerful enough to back it up – well enough to put a smile on your face at least. It handles NZ’s roads very well without letting you get into too much trouble. If you’re looking for a sporty little number that you can use every day I think that you’d be Rapt with the Veloster.
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