Right out of the proverbial box, the 2012 Hyundai Veloster is an instant contender in the sports economy segment.
The 2012 Veloster is an all-new unique three-door coupe for Hyundai, and the hits just keep coming for the South Korean carmaker. It was announced last week that Hyundai Motor America can’t seem to keep up with the demand for their Sonata and Elantra sedans that are produced in U.S., and they will need to add close to one thousand new workers to keep up. If the 2012 Veloster is as popular, Hyundai could have another problem with production.
It starts with the Veloster’s three-door unique styling that pulls off the two-door roofline. The third door is on the passenger side, hinged at the front like a regular door. Although the Veloster isn’t the first three-door, it isn’t awkwardly hinged at the rear. The new three-door looks good and the unique styling gets lots of attention on the road.
The 2012 Hyundai Veloster comes in two models, both three-door coupes. Veloster M/T ($17,300) uses a 6-speed manual gearbox. Veloster DCT ($18,550) uses the automated dual-clutch transmission. Standard equipment includes a cabin filter, 196-watt AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system with iPod and USB jacks, Bluetooth, 7-inch touch screen, power everything, remote keyless entry, 60/40 rear seat, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Two optional packages are available, the Style package ($2000) includes 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome grille trim, foglights, panoramic sunroof, premium 8-speaker audio system, leatherette seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and alloy pedals. The Tech package ($2000) adds navigation with rearview camera, rear backup beepers, different 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, push-button start, and 115V outlet.
Inside, the leatherette upholstery that comes with the Style Package is very nice, and the interior is comfortable with a sporty feel. Details include a three-spoke leather steering wheel, guages that are easy to read, and digital information that’s easily accessed. With the third-door it’s easy to climb in and out of the back seat, although space is limited with only 31.7 inches of legroom. But total interior volume in the sporty compact segment is class leading.
Driving the sporty Veloster over Berthoud Pass in Colorado was a fun experience. We drove the Veloster through some tight corners without a trace of understeer. The suspension is totally obedient making the car a joy to drive. This car is very light, at 2583 pounds, and that is an advantage. The new 1.6-liter direct-injection engine is super smooth, and the 6-speed manual gearbox is a strong point for the sporty car. The only complaint with the Veloster is the horizontal structural support in the fastback glass liftgate restricts visibility, although the Prius is much worse.
The new 1.6-liter engine produces 138 horsepower, which doesn’t seem like much on paper, but with direct injection, the four-cylinder is powerful enough for just about any driving situation. Fuel economy is a strong point with the Veloster getting an EPA-estimated 28/40 mpg City/Highway with the six-speed standard transmission.
Hyundai has hit a home run with the all-new Veloster. The distinctive styling is appealing, its 1.6-liter engine is powerful and efficient , and the ride and handling make the Veloster with the six speed gearbox sporty and fun to drive. Add in a terrific interior and a starting price of $17,300 and Hyundai has put it all together in a sporty compact model.
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