The Veloster handles and rides surprisingly well and is great value for money, too. Yet it’s let down by the rough, noisy and lifeless engine. It’s clear that the chassis could handle more power, and with a 201bhp turbocharged version of this engine due later next year, it might be worth waiting for that model before taking the plunge. As things stand, the Veloster is more about style than speed.
The Veloster is Hyundai’s VW Scirocco rival, but aims to offer something a bit different. Its quirky asymmetrical rear doors are intriguing – but success in this class is judged from behind the wheel. Does it measure up? We drove it on UK roads to find out.
There’s only one engine on offer – a 1.6-litre direct-injection petrol with 138bhp – but buyers can choose between dual-clutch auto and six-speed manual boxes. Our car was fitted with the manual.
Hyundai claims the Veloster will do 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds, but it doesn’t feel it. While throttle response is sharp, you need to work the engine hard – and above 3,000rpm, it sounds strained.
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What’s more, as the engine needs to be revved, you’d have thought Hyundai would have put more effort into making it sound good. Let’s hope the 201bhp turbo, arriving next summer, can rectify this. Still, the gearchange is satisfyingly accurate and direct.
The Veloster isn’t quick, but it’ll be cheap to run thanks to 44.1mpg economy and 148g/km CO2 emissions. A Blue Drive version is also available: this uses a stop-start system and low-rolling-resistance tyres to bring CO2 down to only 137g/km.
Through corners, it’s clear that there’s a capable chassis under the Veloster. It’s agile and there’s plenty of grip, with sharp turn-in and direct steering. The steering could do with more weight and better feedback, however.
The compromise between handling and ride comfort is well judged. While the ride is firm, only the biggest potholes send a jolt into the cabin.
It’s impossible to talk about the Veloster without mentioning its doors. There are two on the passenger’s side and one on the driver’s side, so the car is much more practical than rivals, while retaining its sleek coupé profile. Plus, the 320-litre boot is slightly larger than the Scirocco’s.
It’s also much cheaper than its rivals. A Scirocco with similar kit and performance will set you back nearly £23,000, but our Veloster only cost £20,495 – including a sunroof, heated leather seats, rear parking sensors and keyless go.
The Veloster doesn’t drive as well as rivals, but it stands out and is great value. In a class where driving dynamics are vital, it’ll be interesting to see if those plus points are enough.