Hyundai is set to serve up a new niche when the Veloster hits the road later this year. The firm claims the new car will be the first “utility coupe”, although there’s no doubting that the car is aimed straight at the likes of the Honda CRZ and Renault Megane Coupe.
The Veloster was first shown as a concept at Hyundai’s home Motor Show in Seoul in 2007. Hyundai had no plans to put the car into production, but such was the favourable reaction, that the firm decided to greenlight the car in a bid to help Hyundai appeal to younger buyers.
Details from the original showstopper, including the sculpted bonnet, striking LED head and taillights and blacked-out A-pillars are all carried over. But the big news is that Hyundai has decided to include the unique 2+1 door layout. On UK cars, the driver’s door is elongated, like that of a normal three-door hatchback, but on the passenger side, there are two, conventionally-hinged doors, with the rear aiding access to the back seats.
The interior as been cleverly packaged to liberate decent cabin space and a large, deep boot, while the design has been created very much with a younger audience in mind.
To that end, the centre console is dominated by a seven-inch touchscreen display which features the firm's new Blue LInk tech. This means the car can be connected to a whole host of devices ranging from iPods to PlayStations, while the stereo will also feature Gracenote database access to your music is named and organised in the same way as Apple’s iTunes music store.
The Veloster has been developed under the codename FS, and is built on a modified version of the Cee’d’s front-wheel drive platform. Entry-level cars are powered by a 138bhp 1.6-litre direct injection petrol engine, with flagship models getting a 205bhp turbo version of the same engine. The car will also debut Hyundai’s six-speed twin clutch gearbox, which ups efficiency by five per cent and acceleration by up to seven per cent over the standard six-speed manual.
Prices are yet to be confirmed, but the car is aimed at buyers of the Renault Megane Coupe and VW Scirocco so expect a starting price of around £19,000. Production of UK cars begins in August 2011 so expect the first cars to arrive by the end of the year. The lower powered engine arrives first, with the turbo coming in late 2012.