A bold vision of the modern hatchback, the 2012 Hyundai Veloster brings sleek form and aggressive detail to its three-door layout. Both sporty in appearance and convenient with an oversized third door, the Elantra-based FWD Veloster’s engine performance hasn’t wowed all critics. The features and overall driving performance have combined to make it a Hyundai hit so far, however.
Under the hood and on the road
The base model of the 2012 Hyundai Veloster is powered by a 1.6-liter, direct-injected, inline four-cylinder engine that produces 138 horsepower. A six-speed manual or six-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission with shift paddles are available. Edmunds trumpets the Veloster’s powertrain, lauding its “sprightly performance” and 40 mpg highway capability. Yet Automotive News feels that the Veloster is too slow and that it shifts harshly between gears.
Speed and comfort
Edmunds tested the Hyundai Veloster at eight seconds for zero to 60 mph. Clearly, while the standard engine in the Hyundai Veloster won’t blow you away in terms of acceleration, Edmunds found that the suspension is well-balanced and handles comfortably. The sense of stability extends to the anti-lock disc brakes and traction/stability control. In the event that traction control doesn’t get the job done, front-seat side airbags and full-length curtain airbags are there, as is Hyundai’s BlueLink computer system, which works in the same manner as GM’s OnStar service.
Hyundai estimates the fuel economy for the Veloster at 28 mpg city/40 mpg highway, good for 32 mpg combined for the manual transmission version of the car. Those with the dual-clutch transmission are rated at 29/38/32 mpg.
Veloster style options
The level of trim in this four-passenger, three-door hatchback includes 17-inch alloy wheels, plenty of LED accent lights, heated rear-view mirrors, a spoiler, air-conditioning, loads of power accessories, Bluetooth and more. The 7-inch dash touchscreen comes with Pandora connectivity, fuel economy coaching games and A/V playback capability. Optional Style and Tech packages add even more features that are sure to please the discerning automotive consumer.
The hatchback position
What Edmunds calls “youthful and modern,” Automotive News calls a parboil chamber. Rear passengers’ heads fall just under the hatchback glass, which can lead to rather warm passengers during the summer. Edmunds concurs but also highlights the ample legroom. It is possible that some rear passengers may have to duck down when the hatchback is closed, so the warning sign Hyundai puts inside the vehicle may just be worth heeding.
The 2012 Hyundai Veloster looks like a Porsche 928 or 944 if you’re going by the roofline, says Automotive News. And despite what it considers hatchback issues, the publication still calls interior quality of the Veloster “excellent for a car of its price” – $22,500, with $4,000 in option packages.
Hyundai reportedly sold 2,538 Velosters in the U.S. last month, more than the Mini Countryman, Fiat 500, Nissan Cube, Scion xB or new VW Beetle.