2013 Hyundai Veloster: Radical in concept and style

With a visual flair that is now trademark at the Hyundai, the 2013 Hyundai Veloster is on show once more with the Veloster compact coupe with its unusual “three-door” design, with one rear door on the passenger side to make it easier for rear-seat passengers to enter and exit. Designed at Hyundai’s Irvine, Calif., studio, Hyundai designers call this unique door arrangement a two-plus-one body style. However a conventional rear hatchback door is retained.

Squat, low and with the trademark swooping curves, twists and intricate body panels that adorn many of Hyundai’s recent offerings It is certainly different. Radical in concept and style, the new Veloster is aimed squarely at the Generation Y It’s futuristic, attention grabbing and priced well. In terms of equipment levels, the base model, which retails for $18,999, is incredibly well-equipped.

The Veloster uses a 1.6-litre direct-injection four-cylinder engine with six-speed manual transmission or Hyundai’s first optional six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. It comes in a single trim line that can be optioned with a Tech Package at $3,500 offering 18-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, satellite navigation, a 450-watt eight-speaker audio system, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob as well as alloy pedals and automatic headlights. Generally the Veloster is well equipped with heated front seats and door mirrors, a back-up camera, cruise control, fog lights, telescoping steering and steering-wheel-mounted controls are all standard along with air conditioning, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, electronic stability and traction control systems. Also in the mix is a proximity key with push-button start.

Entertainment wise a seven-inch LCD multimedia touch screen, a 196-watt six-speaker audio system with XM satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity. The LCD touch screen allows driver or passenger to access functions and it can also be used for the viewing and storing of images and videos downloaded from USB devices.

The cabin is also very funky looking with excellently designed unique interior door handles, cool metal finished controls and detailing. Ergonomics are good and the feeling of quality, fit and finish along with all Hyundai vehicles is very good. Interior room is good up front but the low rear roofline means you have to watch your head getting into and out of the car.

Power for the Veloster is supplied by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine with 138 horsepower and 126 pound-feet of torque. Buyers can choose from a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic that features dual clutches. Hyundai says the automatic transmission, because of its shifting characteristics, offers a 5 to 6 per cent increase in fuel economy.

On the road, the 1.6-liter engine has its work cut out as the Veloster, is heavier than the subcompact Accent that uses the same engine. The six-speed manual transmission is slick and smooth, but the driver is kept busy up and down shifting as engine finds its optimum load range.

The all-new six-speed double-clutch gearbox with shift paddles (a $1,400 option) tightens up the gearing with well-calibrated shift points and more focused acceleration and is the transmission to get in my opinion.

Handling is generally good with composed stability and light steering.

The Veloster feels good and buttoned up, but is not the fastest accelerating sports car in this class. However it is generally a comfortable and enjoyable car to drive.

The Veloster is a unique looking car and comes with excellent value for money features, technology and a funky cabin.

2013 Hyundai Veloster. Base price: $18,999.