Hyundai Veloster review
Unusual three-door Hyundai Veloster is a novel and practical coupe that's pretty good to drive
The Hyundai Veloster gets an unusual 2+1-door layout. While the driver's door is as long as that of a normal three-door hatchback, the passenger side features a shorter front door and a rear door to add a touch of practicality to the sporty proportions. Under the skin, the entry-level engine is a 1.6-litre direct-injection petrol unit, which offers just 138bhp. The manual Veloster takes 9.7 seconds to drag itself from 0-62mph, while the top speed is only 125mph. At least the car feels good to drive, with secure handling and reasonable steering feel. It's comfortable too, and while rear seats are strictly a child-only zone, that extra door does mean growing families can hang on to sports car dreams for that little bit longer. The Veloster Turbo was introduced in late 2012, which is considerably quicker than the 1.6 GDi, and features a long list of standard equipment, but it still struggles to compete with rivals like the VW Scirocco and Audi TT.
Our choice: Veloster 1.6 GDi Blue Drive
The Veloster's swoopy design and unusual 2+1-door bodystyle make it stand out a long way from the rest of Hyundai's rather subtly designed range. That said, all Velosters still feature the familiar trapezoidal front grille and swept-back headlights of the firm's other cars, but not are quite so outlandish to behold. The Veloster is no hot hatchback, despite the fact that it turns heads more than a VW Scirocco. The interior is actually a little disappointing in terms of its design, given the striking exterior, but it is built to the same high standards as the ix35 crossover.
The Veloster handles quite well, but it's not about to upset the performance car order just yet. The steering is accurate and the suspension delivers quite a comfortable ride while still being firm enough to create at least some illusion of sportiness. Unfortunately the non-turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine does struggle for power and isn't the most refined unit in the world - even the smallest VW Scirocco 1.4 TSI will outsprint it. Like the VW, a twin-clutch gearbox is an option, but there is no diesel engine to choose from. The best bet is the 1.6-litre Veloster Turbo, which gives the car more go to match the show.
The Veloster gets a five-star Euro NCAP rating and comes with a raft of safety kit that includes six airbags, ISOFIX child seat mountings and electronic stability control as standard. And as with all other new Hyundais, the Veloster comes with a five-year triple care package to give added peace of mind, which includes a five-year/unlimited mileage warranty, five years of roadside assistance and five years of free car checks at Hyundai dealers.
Space in the front of the Veloster is good, and car's party trick is its second door on the passenger side to improve access to the back seats. It's still a fairly tight squeeze once in the back seats, but there is just enough space for two adults to take a short trip in relative comfort. The boot features 320 litres of luggage space, which is eight litres up on the VW Scirocco but less than the 380-litres offered by the Vauxhall Astra GTC. One oversight in the Veloster's design is the fact that if the rear screen is covered in rainwater, it gets dumped on the back seats when you open it - something back seat passengers won't appreciate.
While performance isn't scintillating, it does mean the Veloster has low running costs. All cars are powered by the same 1.6-litre direct injection petrol engine, but there are some key differences. The Blue Drive version has fuel-saving kit which boosts economy from 44mpg to 48mpg with no impact on claimed performance, and drops the car one road tax band - from F to E. The Turbo model does what it says on the tin, adding a turbo to boost power, although fuel economy falls to 41mpg and CO2 emissions rise. Prices for the range undercut the VW Scirocco, and all cars are pretty well equipped, with Bluetooth, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system and parking sensors included.