The Veloster’s quirky styling and asymmetrical exterior, featuring an innovative three-door design, have always meant that Hyundai’s hot-hatch polarises the market. It’s a vehicle you either love or you hate, and past sales figures have proven the former to be true, putting it at first place with the Toyota 86 in the budget sports car segment. When it was released it was a breath of fresh air, a novelty and something very unique, but four years on, it still dominates the market – so what is it that makes the Hyundai Veloster so popular?
Well the introduction of the SR Turbo variants certainly attributed to the Veloster’s continuing appeal – finally an engine with as much oomph as its presence suggests. Our test vehicle was the bottom range Turbo SR powered by a 1.6L turbo engine producing 150kW of power and 265Nm of torque. The 6 speed-manual that we tested proved to be more than decent, despite a bit of a springy clutch, however the addition of the 7-speed automatic will surely attract a wider range of buyers and make the Veloster more practical on a day-to-day basis.
While the turbo engine was a much needed and appreciated addition, the hero of the Veloster will always remain its eye-catching design that embodies a masculine stance with aggressive, sexy lines. It’s completely unique and has stayed true to the original 1st generation design and is still the most distinctive vehicle on the road. Combine that with the bold colour choices many buyers favour – yellow, red and blue – and it’s impossible to not comment on it driving by! On that note the biggest talking point is its rear appeal; however, it’s unfortunate that this bold design choice comes at the expense of practicality. Visibility through the rear windscreen is minimal and right through the middle is this big, black bar of the rear spoiler.
Inside, front passengers sit in comfort in sports bucket seats – with lumbar support for the driver – while the rear passengers lack a bit of headroom. The driving position is comfortable, the drivers dash houses all the important information and more crucially, it’s all easily accessible through user-friendly steering wheel mounted controls. The centre dash houses a 7″ LCD touchscreen with DivX MP3 CD player and AM/FM radio tune, Bluetooth connectivity, UBS/AUX inputs and a respectable 4 speakers and sub-woofer. The SR+ gets the satellite navigation and 6 speaker combination. The overall feel of the cabin mirrors that of the exterior – sporty, bold and masculine – yet the design has not impacted functionality.
While the base SR misses out on satellite navigation, it does get the reverse camera – another handy feature in the long list of safety technology including automatic headlights, 6 airbags, keyless entry and push button start. There is no arguing that the Veloster SR Turbo is a well-fitted out vehicle with plenty of technology making its $29,990 (plus on road costs) price tag scream value for money. It’s distinctive, unique and its suitability will come down to a personal choice – so make sure you take it for a good test drive and ensure it will fit your daily lifestyle once the novelty of the design wears off.