With such an extensive range of cars available on the market today, competition between manufactures has increased and the big companies are always looking for the latest innovation that will gain them a competitive edge. We have seen the rise of the hybrid car, increasingly sleek European designs, the introduction of push-button start and keyless entry and not to mention the evolving media systems, however Hyundai has come out as the front runner with the latest innovative design, a three door coupe.
The Hyundai Veloster’s reveal shocked the car industry and the public alike, but recently I had the chance to drive the Veloster for a week and my eyes were opened to the genius design and incredibly cool car that Hyundai has created. The first thing I need to stress to you all is something that will help you understand this third door on the passenger side that accesses the back seats.
You must keep in mind that Hyundai have not subtracted a door from the likes of a hatchback or a sedan, instead they have added a door to a coupe body. For those that have ever entered a two door car, you can appreciated the difficulty of squeezing your body behind the front seat, while ducking your head and trying to find room to put your feet. It’s incredibly difficult and often painful. With the addition of the Veloster’s third door, the back seats are easily accessible and create a sense of extra room whilst sitting in the rear.
The sleek and contoured design of the coupe has not at all been compromised from the exterior as the handle as cleverly been concealed. Instead of a normal handle on the body of the car, it is tucked away next to the window, so well concealed that I had to point it out to all of my friends as they were trying to get into my car. As always, Hyundai has kept safety in mind and the third door has been added to the passenger side, ensuring that all occupants must enter and exit on the kerb side.
Once you have finished admiring and inspecting the third door, you notice that the exterior is very interesting and attractive for another reason. While the Veloster maintains the overall coupe shape and sleek lines, Hyundai has effortlessly combined it with an aggressive, edgy and modern look through the bonnet, grille and 18” alloy wheels. Available in 8 bold colours, including my favourite ‘Sunflower” yellow, the Veloster is a seriously cool car to look at, and its cool factor doesn’t end there.
The Veloster range comes in two variants, the Veloster and the Veloster +. I was given the base model to test and let me tell you, it’s one the most luxurious base model cars I have tested. Sitting in the driver’s seat it is very easy to find a comfortable driving position with a fully adjustable sports bucket chair with lumbar support and a tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel.
All the information you need is displayed on the dash including the average fuel consumption, distance till empty, trip distance, average speed and more. The steering wheel sits smoothly in your hands and is equipped with cruise control and audio mounted controls for your convenience.
The centre area houses plenty of storage with a centre console box and two cup holders and an extra compartment for your phone, keys etc. Storage continues with an ample glove box, bottle holders on the doors, rear cup holders and a sizable boot. The interior carries through the fluidic style and the centre console and dash are very visually appealing while remaining practical, something many fail to achieve.
Occupant comfort is achieved with a manually controlled air-conditioning unit. The media system is a definite bonus in the Hyundai Veloster boasting a 7” LCD touchscreen with all the bells and whistles including Divx, MP3, CD player and AM/FM radio. The best thing about this 7” screen is the rear view camera. How many other cars like this have their base model with a rear view camera! It is also equipped with AUX/USB inputs with iPod compatibility and Bluetooth connectivity. The Veloster produces crisp, clear sounds through its 4 speakers, 2 tweeters, centre speaker and a sub-woofer. When your iPod is connected via Bluetooth, there is no need to use the AUX to play songs, this can be done via the Bluetooth function. Like I said, this car exudes coolness.
When sitting in the car, visibility is excellent through the windscreen, side mirrors and blind spots, however, what does let the Veloster down is it’s visibility through the rear window. While the extended glass may look fantastic from the exterior, it doesn’t improve visibility once inside and the rear spoiler only further adds to this problem. As far as size inside, the front seats are comfortably roomy with ample head and shoulder room. The rear seats fortunately lack the trademark coupe feeling that the roof is going to squish you. While I didn’t try it, I’m sure three people could sit across the back, however I’m not sure they would want to travel far.
Hyundai ensured that the Veloster didn’t skimp on safety featured and it achieved a 5 star ANCAP Safety Rating. Jam-packed with all the usual ABS, EBD, BAS, HAC, VSM, ESC and TCS. The Veloster also has automatic headlights, warning chimes for seatbelts, doors etc, a day/night rear view mirror, rear park assist and as mentioned earlier a very handy rear view camera. Front, side and curtain airbags, along with child safety door locks and side impact intrusion bars on the doors all come as standard on both models. The front seat belts has pretensioners and load limiters while 2 rear seats have child anchors.
Security has also been address with central locking, an engine immobiliser and the Hyundai Active Locking Operation (HALO) which includes the handy auto door unlock. The Veloster also is equipped with impact sensing door unlock systems incase of an accident, keyless entry with alarm and the Veloster + model has a push button start.
While the Hyundai Veloster is all about how this car looks, we must not forget the engine! The Veloster is powered by a 1.6L petrol engine producing 103kW of power @ 6300 rpm and 166Nm of torque @ 4850 rpm. I must say, that this little car was zippy and responsive, almost like driving a golf cart, except in comfort and style. The Veloster is available in both 6 speed manual and 6 speed double clutch automatic transmissions. The automatic model I tested had a combined fuel consumption of around 6.6L/100 km, not bad if you ask me!
Overall, the Hyundai Veloster was an absolute pleasure to drive and a truly unique experience. It is very difficult to adequately explain the Veloster and all it’s quirky features that challenge normal stereotypes in the car market. A coupe with a third door, something that appeals to both younger and older generations, a base model with all the extras, I really could go on. However, I will simply suggest that you go to your local Hyundai dealer and take the new Veloster for a test drive. Hyundai has taken a bold risk in the Veloster and their result is a cracker of a car.