HYUNDAI’S Veloster has endured a long and drawn out gestation and is being launched into a market where the rules change very quickly.
Its big USP, namely its 2+1 doors, may not be enough to overcome the fact that a number of very talented rivals offer technically more interesting vehicles.
The option of a twin-clutch transmission also marks the Veloster out as something rather special and there’s a semi-exotic feel to the intimate, deeply reclined cabin.
It isn’t exactly overburdened with brake horsepower, the 1.6-litre normally aspirated direct injection engine managing 138bhp.
While this keeps costs manageable, it also means that the car’s performance can best be described as modest.
Rumours persist that a turbocharged model with around 200bhp is on the cards but in the meantime we get 138bhp.
Evidence of the investment Hyundai has made in this car come with its choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or a trick dual clutch sequential box.
Hyundai has split the Veloster range into two models, entry level and Sport. The latter version gets 18” alloy wheels with colour inserts, black leather upholstery with heated front seats, a panoramic sunroof with tilt and slide function, cruise control, keyless entry with engine start/stop button and sporty alloy pedals.
Standard features on the entry level car comprise 17” alloy wheels, a 7” Touch screen media centre (with capability of playing games through consoles and films from smart phones), Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition, climate control air conditioning, reversing sensors, front and rear fog lights and striking LED daytime running lights.
The Veloster also features a stereo RDS Radio/CD Player with MP3/WMA compatibility and an iPod connection, with the ability to control all functions on the leather steering wheel for added convenience.
Prices start at £18,000 with a Blue Drive low emissions version of the entry-level car also available with low rolling resistance tyres and Stop/Start.
The DCT twin clutch gearbox tacks around £1,300 to the price although some will feel it’s worthwhile if much of their driving is in city traffic. Hyundai also offers a media pack for the Sport model.
This features touch screen satellite navigation with rear view parking camera, Parking Guidance System and seven speakers including amplifier and subwoofer.
The Sport can also be specified with a red leather interior but then prices really do start creeping up into the realms of some very serious rivals.
Had this car been launched three years ago, I reckon it would have done very well. Coming to market as late as it has, the styling looks smart but not jaw-droppingly avant-garde. Perhaps Hyundai has tried to be a little too ambitious with the Veloster and has paid the price in enduring a protracted development period during which key rivals have made hay. There’s a lot of potential in this car, but I think we may have to wait a little while longer to see it adequately fulfilled.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
CAR: Hyundai Veloster
PRICES: £18,000-£21,750 - on the road
INSURANCE GROUPS: 16
CO2 EMISSIONS: 148g/km
PERFORMANCE: 0-60mph 9.5s / Max Speed 134mph [est]
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 47.9mpg (combined)
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: ABS with Brake Assist and EBD, stability control
WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: length/width/height mm 4220/1790/1399
WHO TO SEE:
Brooklyn Hyundai, Claremont Road, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 2BA. Call 01323 893040.