SO THE Hyundai Veloster has three doors - excluding the boot. Yep, two on the kerb side but no passenger door behind the driver's. Now that's something you don't see everyday… but then again neither is the Veloster.
Somewhere between a coupe and a hatch, this car has tickled the fancy with overwhelming sales since its arrival this year and a waiting list that extends into a fair part of next year.
The Veloster is a pleasing overall package and another indication of Hyundai's ability to step up to the plate.
Tall adult passengers have a slim hope of finding a comfortable position in the back, but things are much better up front.
The seats themselves are supportive with the soft leather enhancing the sporty feel. Plastics are cleverly disguised and the console is well laid out with switchgear giving the feeling of quality.
Instruments are clear, uncluttered and bathed in a bright blue when night falls. The two rear seat passengers are separated by cup holders and a storage compartment and there are a few more of the latter dotted around the cabin.
The boot is big and deep dealing well with the weekly shop.
On the road
The Veloster may look like a sports coupe but it doesn't have the speed of one.
The lack of racing-pace acceleration is disappointing at first but the blow is softened by the Veloster's ability, manners and heart.
You can get it up to speed if you work hard at the gears but the Veloster's true strength lies in its poise, agility and balanced ride.
It uses the same 1.6-litre petrol engine found in the Hyundai i40 with excellent fuel efficiency and reduced engine noise and harshness. Suspension is firmish but cooperative and the steering feel is probably one of the best delivered by
Hyundai in its new range. This Veloster is an excellent and frugal cruiser, nimble on busy city roads and boasts nifty handling around crowded car parks.
It has good traction, excellent progressive brakes and needs to be pushed cruelly hard before understeer raises its head.
Cabin noise, or the lack of it except during devilish winds, is a nice aside.
What do you get?
Entry-level Velosters come equipped with an excellent audio system that includes USB input, Bluetooth connectivity, LCD touch-screen with rear view camera, daytime running lights, dusk-sensing headlights, rear park assist, cruise control and tyre pressure monitoring.
Our Veloster+ test car also had a panoramic glass sunroof, 18-inch alloys, automatic climate control, smart key with push button start, leather seats, electric folding and heated door mirrors and projector beam headlights.
Hyundai has safety covered with six airbags, ABS, EBD, brake and hill assist (oddly enough in the auto only) and stability control.
The Veloster makes an interesting addition to a category that features among others the Kia Cerato Koup (from $25,990), Honda CR-Z (from $34,990), Suzuki Swift Sport ($25,990) and even the Mini Cooper Ray (from $27,850).
Although the single rear door does improve accessibility this is essentially a car for two with rear-seat passengers restricted to the odd occasion. To that end then, and despite good storage options, this is a car designed for upwardly mobile singles or couples who want a car that attracts interest and still delivers an adequate performance.
Sloping C-pillars and a small rear window hampers visibility although the larger side mirrors were a good thought. We liked the 3D front door handles which helps when hauling yourself in and out as well as the seat-belt extender for the driver.
The Veloster is extremely gentle on the hip pocket with Hyundai pretty close to the mark with official combined figures of 6.4 litres/100km.
The Veloster is like nothing else on our roads at the moment.
Following on from Hyundai's fluidic sculpture design language the Veloster is a mix of angles and curves, clever cut outs and arresting light detail.
Muscular wheel arches and a low stance combine with a sloping roof and sweeping lines to create a promising overall package that is appealing to both sexes.
The Veloster has much to recommend, not least of all its price, and it is little wonder it has impressed the market since its Australian release in February. It is quirky and interesting and energetic enough to keep you in the game provided you are happy to settle for an unhurried pace. If you want a car that is sporty in nature as well as looks you are better off opting for the new Veloster Turbo now available here.
Model: Hyundai Veloster.
Details: Three-door front-wheel drive coupe hatch.
Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed DCT auto
Engine: 1.6-litre in-line DOHC direct injection petrol generating maximum power of 103kW @ 6300rpm and peak torque of 166Nm @ 4850rpm.
Consumption: 6.4 litres/100km (combined average).
Bottom line: From $23,990, Veloster+ $28,990 (as tested).
What matters most
The good stuff: Impressive specification and value for money, unique looks.
What we'd like to see: Slightly more punch - but then again there's the turbo option for that.
Warranty: Five-year unlimited kilometre warranty provides peace of mind, and there is also Hyundai's iCare program that provides capped price servicing for three years. The most you will pay over three years is $747 (based on services at 15,000km, 30,000km and 45,000km).