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2012 Hyundai Veloster DCT Review Photo:
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2012 Hyundai Veloster DCT Review Photo:
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What's Hot
Unique funky looks, sharp dynamics, deceptively good value.
What's Not
Rearward visibility. Four-month waiting list.
X-Factor
Gen-Y on wheels. Similar road presence to a Scirocco, but at half the price.
Malcolm Flynn | Jun, 18 2012 | 11 Comments

2012 HYUNDAI VELOSTER REVIEW

Vehicle Style: Small sports hatch
Price: $23,990 (plus $2k for DCT) (plus on-roads)
Fuel Economy (claimed): 6.4l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 8.81l/100km

 

OVERVIEW

Hyundai’s new Veloster set tongues wagging when it launched locally in February.

With its distinctive 2+1 door layout, semi-coupe roofline, direct-injected engine and (Hyundai-first) dual-clutch transmission option, the Veloster showcases what ‘the new’ Hyundai is all about.

Heralded by some as a modern-day Celica, the Veloster may not be lightning-fast, but its on-road dynamics reward a keen driver - and that’s a surprise.

Another is that the Veloster’s unusual ‘fluidic sculpture’ body design hides an unexpectedly practical interior - one that gives credence to Hyundai’s “cool coupe meets smart hatch” tagline.

 

INTERIOR

Quality: Veloster’s interior design is comprehensively cutting edge, to the point where even the smallest controls conform to the overall aesthetic.You don’t get the feeling of shared switchgear found in other cars at this price point.

The perception of material quality is more Mazda than Volkswagen, but this is no bad thing. Soft-touch plastics are used throughout.

Comfort: Veloster’s front seats are an obvious visual nod to classic Recaro designs. On test they proved supportive yet comfortable for those of average build.

The fabric used is a combination of cloth and leatherette, which, while not leather (only on + models), is durable and hard-wearing.

Veloster’s tapered C-pillars leave seating for just two in the rear, which is split by a centre console with recessed cupholders. Anyone above average height will lack headroom, and forced to rest their head on the hatch glass.

Those entering the rear seat from the kerb side benefit from Veloster’s third passenger door, while road side passengers can disembark via the folding driver’s seat.

A body design with such an aesthetic priority could be forgiven for leaving little in the way of interior practicality, but aside from limited rear visibility and headroom, the Veloster is a pretty handy person/load lugger for a compact coupe/hatch.

Equipment: The Veloster’s standard equipment levels read like an auto parts retailer Xmas catalogue, with Gen Y must-haves like LED running lights, all connectivity options, seven inch MMI touchscreen, subwoofer, reverse camera, and proportionally spot-on 18 inch wheels.

These items are on top of all the standard convenience features, but the tyre-pressure monitoring system and dusk-sensing headlights are surprise inclusions at this price point.

Storage: The Veloster’s cargo area measures a useful 320 litres, which is 58 short of the new-generation i30, but more than most light hatches.

The passenger area features an array of cupholders and oddment storage bins, including a large cavity ahead of the gear selector.

 

ON THE ROAD

Driveability: You could be forgiven for assuming that a 1.6 litre ‘auto’ pulling 1215kg of Veloster would offer performance contradicting its sporty design - that it might be a little slow.

But the optional six-speed DCT (twin clutch) transmission succeeds in making the most of the 103kW and 166Nm available, particularly when Sport mode is selected.

There are paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, but the DCT works best when left to select its own gears - especially in Sport mode - with intuitive gear selection when climbing hills and nice downshifts under braking.

There is the usual dual-clutch stammer from rest, which needs to be accounted for when merging in traffic, but the Veloster’s DCT is more refined than any Volkswagen Group DSG to date during slow speed stop-start manoeuvres.

The 0-100km/h dash easily arrives within 10 seconds, which is comfortable but below modern hot-hatch standards – soon to be rectified with the upcoming Turbo version.

In real world driving the Veloster is typical of the small car class: it’s quick enough but needs a few revs on board for brisk overtaking.

The steering is a best-yet for Hyundai, delivering good feel and precision despite using electric assistance.

Refinement: Like the perceived interior quality, cabin and driveline noise levels are similar to that of a Mazda 3, which lags behind the small hatch leaders, but more acceptable given the Veloster’s youthful, sporting pretence.

Suspension: Veloster uses a front MacPherson strut and rear torsion beam suspension layout. It has its work cut out for it given the Veloster’s standard 18-inch wheels with 40-series tyres, but the Veloster feels quite agile when cornering.

Dynamics generally are better than expected and the ride is comfortable yet with a firm sporty feel on most surfaces.

Braking: Veloster’s four-wheel discs are well suited to its weight and performance, and shed very little dust, despite being driven enthusiastically on test.

 

SAFETY

ANCAP rating: 5 Stars

Safety features: Six airbags, ABS, EBD, brake and hill assist, stability control, seatbelt reminders are all standard.

 

WARRANTY AND SERVICING

Warranty: Five years/unlimited kilometres

Service costs: Service intervals are set at 15,000km. Costs vary, so consult your local Hyundai dealer before purchase. Hyundai is expected to offer a capped price servicing scheme before the end of 2012 however.

 

HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY

Kia Cerato Koup Si ($25,590) - The previous flag-flyer for budget funkiness, the Koup looks a bit staid next to the Veloster.

Based on the Cerato’s common platform with Veloster/i30/Elantra, the Koup’s thirstier but more powerful 2.0 litre engine is dulled by a 78kg weight disadvantage and torque-converter auto. (see Koup reviews)

Suzuki Swift Sport ($25,990) - More traditional hot-hatch styling, the lighter and smaller Swift Sport has a performance edge over Veloster.

Interior less roomy as a result and the CVT auto option is less racecar-like than the Veloster’s DCT. (see Swift Sport reviews)

MINI Cooper Ray ($27,850) - MINI carries 50 plus years of nostalgia, but lacks the larger Veloster’s more practical packaging.

Also trails behind Veloster in terms of equipment and therefore value, but maintains a dynamic edge despite using a torque converter auto. (see Cooper reviews)

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.

 

TMR VERDICT | OVERALL

We like the Veloster, a lot. Its funky design appeals to both male and females alike, which is rare among ‘look-at-me’ models.

Even in its basic form (aside from DCT) tested here, the Veloster comes well equipped with a good list of safety, convenience, and surprise-and-delight features.

For just $25,990 as tested, the DCT (currently making up 66 percent of sales) helps Veloster’s modestly powered direct-injected 1.6 litre engine deliver impressive (if not ‘hot’) performance.

The build-quality appears a match for respected Japanese brands, and is reassuringly supported by Hyundai’s five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

Hyundai Australia is currently selling more Velosters than it can supply, with a waiting list of four months. They promise improved supply shortly, so don’t let this deter you from a test drive. It’s a fun little drive.

 

Pricing

  • Veloster 1.6 GDI - six-speed manual - $23,990
  • Veloster 1.6 GDI - six-speed double-clutch auto - $25,990
  • Veloster + 1.6 GDI - six-speed manual - $27,990
  • Veloster + 1.6 GDI - six-speed double-clutch auto - $29,990

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.

 
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