The funky Veloster from Korean carmaker, Hyundai, has polarised opinions since its release. With a driver’s door some inches longer than the passenger door, plus the addition of a rear door for the left hand side of the hatchback styled vehicle, the unusual styling has both caught the eyes of road users and divided those into do and don’t like.
A Wheel Thing spent time with the latest iteration of the turbo Veloster SR, updated to a seven speed dual clutch automatic and clad in flat metallic paint.
It’s a compact little thing, at just 4220 mm in overall length and wouldn’t look out of place amongst a class of grade five students height wise, at 1405 mm. It’s wide, though, adding to the squat look and proportions, at 1790 mm and sits on a spacious 2650 mm wheelbase, weighing a svelte 1265 kilos. The SR came with the panoramic sunroof, which compromises headroom slightly, dropping it from 990 mm on the standard Veloster to 945 mm at the front with the rear getting 896 mm. As each 225/40/18 wheel and tyre is pushed out to the corners, the Veloster offers up a handy 1114 mm and 805 mm of legroom, front and rear, whilst shoulder room gives room to breathe, at 1412 mm and 1371 mm, front and rear.
Under the truncated snout lies Hyundai’s 1.6L petrol, turbocharged and direct injected powerplant, with 150 kW at 6000 revs; the important numbers, however, are these: 265 Newton metres of torque between 1750 and 4500 rpm. That’s a mesa flat delivery of a very usable amount of torque, put down to the tarmac via the new (for 2015) seven ratio dual clutch auto. One hopes these issues experienced: jerkiness, indecisiveness, over revving under hard acceleration and not engaging the next gear as one would expect, a slow uptake of Drive from Reverse, are limited to the test car. It simply didn’t inspire, initially, unlike the manual tested some time ago which took full advantage of the engine’s playfulness. On a slight uphill slope, there’s a measure of rollback before the transmission engages, plus there’s just a bit too much annoying creep on the brake.
On the road, the 40 profile sidewalls did nothing to add to anything resembling ride comfort; the overly taut suspension and damper settings combined to comment harshly about any ripple or speed bump, cat’s eye or ten cent piece. Along with the underwhelming electronic steering modes (Sporting, Normal, Comfort, with Comfort over light, Normal numb and Sporting feeling….normal) the overall driving experienced was lacklustre also.To be fair…the drive issue DID seem to clear itself after a legal, high speed, run…perhaps not so much the gearbox (to a point) but a minor fuel delivery issue? When punted hard on a particular road, with plenty of curves, a downhill run and some hard braking, the Veloster came alive, throwing out the anchors nicely, squirreling under ABS on a tightening radius turn and seeming more suited to that environment…
Gear changes felt crisper, more in tune with the rest of the car and doing what’s expected of a DCT. Using the paddle shifters also felt as if the programming recognised human input and reacted accordingly.
Hyundai quotes fuel economy for the Turbo SR as 7.1L per 100 km (combined), 9.4L and 5.5L for Urban and Highway, with a constant figure of 8.5L per 100 km being the end result from the fifty litre tank.
The interior is starting to date; there’s nary a soft plastic to be found, although there’s a colour coding situation to brighten the office (the exterior is clad in the flat metallic blue available, a snip at $1500.00….) with blue leather inserts on the sports seats (heated and vented) and highlights on the upward rising door grab handles. There’s plenty of hints towards the name, Veloster, with both the tiller and centre stack being of a distinctive V shape.
The centre stack itself is typical Hyundai in its clear and crisp ergonomics, with a push button for Start/Stop at the bottom of the V, leading towards a crosshatch/carbon fibre look, hard plastic, on the dash, which can reflect quite badly in the windscreen. The plastic either side is also quite hard, with a different texture as well. Both doors are black plastic lines and have a similar, fluidic sculpture, inspired curve along the door into the dash structure. They’re unusual in that they rise vertically from the lower parts in a square shape rather than the traditional angled one line style.
The seats are comfortable, supportive, with the driver’s seat getting a mix of manual and electric adjustment.
There’s a five inch, responsive, touchscreen for audio (still no RDS), Navigation (clean and simple to read) and settings, the steerer has the appropriate tabs and buttons for audio, Bluetooth and cruise and the dash itself is simply laid out, with fuel and engine temperature gauges located neatly inside the dials for speed and engine revolutions. On the steering column are flat black plastic paddles for the transmission, a touch disappointing, to be honest. Some proper metal ones would be more appropriate.
The sound system also surprised, with FM being the band of choice, there’s a decent, punchy bottom end, not fluttery and blown out but crisp and tightly controlled, whilst separation and range were also surprising in their presence. Rear seat access is via the left hand rear door; yup, Veloster being Veloster, there’s no change to the quirky two and one design, door wise. The profile is still unusual enough to divide viewers, being of a (newly reprofiled grille) short bonnet and steeply raked roofline, not unlike that of a Lotus Elise. There’s a sunroof fitted to the SR Turbo, as previously mentioned, with a glass section directly overhead for the rear seat passengers plus no interior light for them either.Body wise, the Veloster gets a sports style kit, with twin exhaust centrally mounted in the rear diffuser whilst the front gets a larger air intake and chin style extensions. Headlights sport LED driving lights underneath whilst the rear lights up like a neon factory at night. There’s a surprisingly useful amount of cargo space as well, hidden under the hunchback rear hatch and cargo cover. There’s also a Turbo specific grille.The Wrap.The DCT in the Veloster is its weak spot; the lack of engagement between Drive and Reverse, no engagement on slight slopes which allows rollbacks once the foot is off the brake (giving cars behind a fright!), the lack of smoothness in changes….there’s an argument for money versus expectations but if Hyundai want to see how to do a DCT properly, see Audi and take a ride in their TT…
The interior is getting close to needing a refresh and could do with some different treatments for the plastics, with an ergonomic issue such as the reflective dash plastic into the windscreen really requiring attention. the ride could do with a touch of softening and a touch only, as to not reduce the rawness of what the Veloster is intended to be. However, you will get peace of mind with the five year/unlimited kilometre warranty, Roadside support and the Service plan.
As prices vary, contact your local dealer however expect to pay around $30K plus on roads. Click here: Hyundai Veloster Series 2 for info.