“Weird” in Veloster terms is a compliment rather than a complaint! The new coupe from Hyundai has all the makings of a fun car – all it takes is a push in the pistons.
Every family has one. Nissan has the Juke. Volkswagen has the Scirocco. Honda has the Accord Crosstour. I’m talking about oddities that masquerade themselves as design innovations. Almost always, their careers begin with an awkward silence; because they look awkward to begin with. Sometimes they make the parent proud. At times, they end up as embarrassments. Yet, the odds are, this oddball from Hyundai will end up doing the family proud – because, somehow, all possible awkward twists in an automobile make a perfect match in the Veloster 2012. Don’t bother trying to place it in a category. Coz even the marketing team hasn’t figured that out yet!
Roadster, speedster… Veloster! Hyundai has got the nomenclature right suggesting the velocities and in the bargain has raised the expectation high enough to fall short of it. Even though the car shows sparks of quickness in midrange and passing stints, overall, the Veloster feels pulled down by its weight, which in a way adds to the feeling of security but undermines the fun element of the car.
The Veloster holds fast to the road, even at high speeds and the flat-bottom steering is pretty well placed and sized for easy maneuvering. The turning radius deserves special mention. Combined with its creditably accurate steering it adds a playful note to U-turns and roundabouts. The handling is well balanced with almost German precision in curbs and corners, but the steering response doesn’t match up – sometimes it simply forgets it has to be back after a sharp turn, ending up in a bit of an over-steer.
The launch of the Veloster 2012 happened with almost an instant demand for its Turbo version. 132 bhp @ 6300 rpm pulled along by a mere 157 Nm torque @ 4850 rpm was just not enough to keep up with its wild side. Now, the wait is over – the 2013 Veloster Turbo was revealed recently at the Detroit Motor Show. Read: http://drivemeonline.com/detroit-motor-show-hyundai-veloster-turbo-roars-in/
Balance goes out the doors in Hyundai Veloster 2012, and not just metaphorically. With a third passenger portal, the Veloster sets its own balance. The unsuspecting observer will take two steps back, when the passenger side suddenly sprouts a door and people emerge almost as comfortably from the front portal. In terms of practicality, the one-sided door in the four-seater semi-coupe is a cool bit of weirdness to have.
Unlike most coupes, the Veloster actually provides space for people, even though you don’t expect much legroom in a car of its leanings. The quaint presence of only one rear door is to the driver’s advantage because on his side, the B pillar has been pushed far behind, affording better vision all over.
The lamps are weird as well. (“weird” in Veloster terms is a compliment rather than a complaint!) The stylish front lamps are identity driven while the rear lamps are straight out of a sci-fi thriller like the Matrix. Wheels with painted inserts add to the Veloster’s unique identity.
It sure stands out from the usual hatchbacks, and has enough innovation and a weird balance that defines a category by itself, appealing to both hatchback and coupe buyers. From the aero hood spoiler indents to the oddly placed rear spoilers and a third door, the Hyundai Veloster 2012 has been designed like it doesn’t care – yet shows a lot of caring in its own way!
Thanks to a cocoon-like design and a feeing of privacy, plus a feeling of extended space ahead and behind, the Veloster provides a rare sense of security for a hatchback. 6 airbags, couple with the ABS and ESP makes it a fairly safe drive, a point driven across by its heavy feeling.
Despite its great convenience of a single rear door and enough legroom, the caving in roof makes the rear feel crammed still, and there are no lights here, too.
Cabin and Comforts
The piano black cabin expresses the sporty sentiment that the Veloster believes in, right from its name. The touchscreen that makes radio navigation a breeze doubles up with a rear camera, which is more of a necessity than a convenience while backing up. Leather steering and door inserts give a feeling of premium that the Veloster badly needs – at AED 74,900, it’s got some explaining to do for the pricing.
People love weirdos…
…and the Veloster is a weirdo alright. Take the rear antenna fin that is situated at the middle of the car. The fact is, the rear of the Veloster begins somewhere close to its middle. Beside the rear glass, if you overlook a spoiler that attempts to define the starting point of the rear, there is glass casing right above the passengers. It does give a seamless feel to the sunroof but it also allows a fair bit of sunshine on people – a strange favour in this part of the world.
Hyundai must have got something right, because I kept getting eyeballs that may be expected of a weirdo hot wheels – first from two young women who gave me a sidelong glance and a smile, and soon, from two teenage boys who were more explicit in their appreciation. Now, that’s a great way to start working your way into the hearts of people who love weirdos!
UPSIDE: Uniquely catchy design and fun feeling, Concealed third door for rear passengers, Impressive handling, Premium sporty feel inside cabin
FLIPSIDE: Power disappoints expectations, Rear view hindered by narrow windscreen, Permanent glass roof above rear passengers can have the sun on you