Hyundai’s Veloster Stirs the Soul Hyundai’s Veloster Stirs the Soul (Written for Hyundai Review)
By D. Brian Smith
Photos by D. Brian Smith and Courtesy of Hyundai USA (Review Hyundai Review)
When I first laid eyes upon the 2012 Hyundai Veloster, I saw a snippet of a Hyundai commercial that showed the Veloster’s 3/4 rear view, looking down upon the car. From that vantage point the Veloster is stunning. It manages to be new age, cute and sexy all at the same time. During this 30 or so second first glimpse of the Veloster, I became curious and intrigued. My first impression of this little hatchback from the profile view is of a World Rally Car combatant. Those over-sized wheel openings were muscular looking and purposeful. Indeed, the entire silhouette of the auto was athletic and taut.
The front end of the Veloster takes a bit more getting used to. The Veloster has the face of a rambunctious but lovable bulldog. The sense is that this pugnacious little three-door hatchback is a worthy combatant in a field of cars that’s getting more and more worthy adversaries, thanks to the ever- subtraction of the world’s oil supply.
Let’s face it, automotive stylists have a vexing job. They’re tasked with creating something that must appeal to the masses, while also achieving a design that’s beautiful and functional. Inspecting the Veloster up close and personal and taking her for a drive, that’s the most effective way I know to determine whether Hyundai has another winner on its hands.
FIRST DRIVE IMPRESSION
My time spent behind the wheel of the Veloster was quality time, but too short. The cockpit is exceedingly well wrought. The cloth clad Veloster emblazoned seats comfortably held my body in place. With a turn of the key, the Veloster came to life. The exhaust note of the engine’s a bit more muted than cars I’m accustomed to driving. But never mind. She sounded good and refined, and well ready to deliver up to 40 miles to the gallon on the highway, if I could resist the temptation to bury my right foot to the floorboard. The Veloster and I proceeded to play all around the Escondido thoroughfares with ease. A 1.6-liter direct injected engine delivers 138 horsepower and is equally adept at motivating the 2,740-pound car around town or on curvy country roads, thanks to a well-engineered independent front suspension and rear torsion axle suspension with monotube shock absorbers. I could have done with more power, which is a sentiment shared by many driving enthusiasts who have had the opportunity to drive the Veloster. Hyundai has taken heed and is already working on providing a turbo-enhanced Veloster that will be available next year.
The fit and finish of the interior is spot on. All the driving gauges are analog, well-lit and logically laid out, while the Hyundai Blue Link suite of safety, convenience and advanced service capabilities commands the center console. Though the Blue Link suite offers more than 30 available technologically advanced services in three separate packages, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to learn how to choose and use the Blue Link package that best fits your needs. If you know how to use a smart phone, you know Blue Link.
I could certainly see myself owning the Veloster. It suits my needs almost perfectly. The interior’s big enough to house several of my bicycles, should I wish to go for a cycling adventure to some remote off-road or on-road locale. There’s also plenty of room for my six-year-old daughter Samantha to be comfortable. Samantha is my Labrador retriever. The Veloster’s cloth interior looks tough enough to take on Sammie’s endlessly shedding fur, although I may need to also purchase a heavy-duty shop vac for an occasional cleaning. When the turbo Veloster goes on sale, I’m going to take another test-drive.