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THE replacement for Hyundai’s long-serving coupé is a triumph in both style and practicality.
There’s no denying the Korean company’s claim that it brings innovation to the compact coupé market with a 1+2 door configuration for easy rear seat access.
It also delivers on functionality and economy, with a high level of standard specification.
Veloster is powered by a highlyefficient 1.6-litre four-cylinder GDi petrol engine generating 140 PS, driving the front wheels via the standard six-speed manual gearbox or Hyundai’s first dual-clutch transmission, which is available as an option.
Applying Hyundai’s Blue Drive technologies – incorporating Intelligent Stop & Go technology and low rolling-resistance tyres – ensures respectable CO2 emissions from 137 g/km and combined fuel economy from 47.9mpg.
With an entry price of £17,995, it is available in two derivatives – Veloster and Veloster Sport – with the option of an additional media pack or red leather interior, available on Veloster Sport.
What the Veloster is crying out for is a turbo-charged engine.
Acceleration in the tested DCT version can occasionally feel disappointing as you push on, given the bold styling and expectation that goes with it. There’s sometimes a drag to be felt as you prod the righthand pedal.
That’s probably my only niggle with the Veloster, although I am left wondering why it was decided to put only one door at the rear instead of two.
The comprehensive list of standard features includes 17in alloy wheels, a 7in TFT touch-screen media centre (with capability of playing games through consoles and films from smartphones), Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition, climate control air-conditioning, reversing sensors, front and rear fog lights and LED daytime running lights.
The Veloster also features a stereo RDS radio/CD player with MP3/WMA compatibility and an iPod connection, with the ability to operate all functions using controls on the leather steering wheel for added convenience.
The Veloster Sport adds 18in alloy wheels with colour inserts, black leather upholstery with heated front seats, a panoramic glass sunroof with tilt-and-slide function, cruise control, keyless entry with engine start/stop button and sporty alloy pedals.
As an option on the Sport derivative, the Media Pack combines touch-screen satellite navigation with a rear view parking camera, premium audio with eight speakers (including a subwoofer), and an uprated amplifier. This pack is priced at £1,100, while for an additional £300, red leather seat upholstery and front door trim panels can be specified.
Viewed from any angle, there’s drama to be found in the Veloster’s design. It represents the next evolution of what Hyundai calls its Fluid Sculpture, leading it away from more traditional hatchbacks and coupes.
From the side, the Veloster has an aerodynamic silhouette with short front overhang and sloping roofline coupled with muscular wheel arches.
From the rear, twin central exhausts, reflectors set into the wheel arches, rear combination lamps curved to follow the bodywork and cutaways in the tailgate are appealing on the eye .
The 1+2 door configuration (two doors up front with a third behind the passenger door for easier access) avoids the trap Mini fell into when it put the third door on the ‘wrong side’ of its Clubman, behind the driver. In fact, Hyundai is varying the placement of this third door dependent on the market. But I am still left wondering why there aren’t two doors at the back.
Despite its distinctive coupé styling, the designers were determined that the new Veloster would also be a practical car for everyday use by a broad range of consumers with widely-varying lifestyles. The interior design has been crafted to meet the demands of younger buyers with the aforementioned gadgets and technological features stylishly integrated within the cabin.
There’s no doubt that this is a fun car in which to travel, whether behind the wheel or in a passenger seat.
Clever packaging of the interior means the Veloster offers classleading head and leg room in the front and rear shoulder room and will seat four adults in comfort.
Cargo capacity is 440 litres (SAE) with the rear seats upright.
The rear seats are easily accessed through the rear (nearside) door and are sculpted to accommodate two occupants with a central storage tray and twin cupholders. The backrest is split 60/40 and folds down flat on to the cushion.
The Veloster turns heads because there is nothing else quite like it out there.
For Hyundai, it not only shows further progress in producing stylish cars, but also the willingness to take some risks in being different.
PRICE: from £17,995
ENGINE: .6-litre petrol, developing140 PS
TRANSMISSION: standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed dual clutch transmission
PERFORMANCE: top speed 125mph, 0 to 62mph in 9.7 seconds
CO2 RATING: 137-148 g/km (depending on version)