The past few years have seen a growing fashion for manufacturers to blur established class distinctions with cleverly repackaged cars, but most are comparatively conservative next to the assuredly left field Hyundai Veloster.

An asymmetrically doored model would have been a measure of the brand’s burgeoning confidence in any segment, but the fact that this one-plus-two-door car has emerged as a halo-wearing three-door coupé signals just how far the Korean firm has come in the UK since the scrappage scheme sent its i10 city car into the stratosphere.

Hyundai claims the Veloster’s single nearside rear door means it straddles two segments and offers hatchback-like practicality in the sharp-suited body of a coupé. In truth, it’s an unorthodox broadside at conventional two-door rivals from Volkswagen, Vauxhall and Renault.

The quirky Veloster will need to earn its buyers from established competition in a market it has not contested since the Hyundai Coupé disappeared from this country three years ago. One thing that’s certainly in its favour is its price, with most versions costing less than £20,000.

There are now two engine options for prospective Veloster buyers: Hyundai's naturally aspirated 1.6-litre GDI engine and turbocharged version of the same. The latter offers 184bhp and 195lb ft, up from the standard car's 138bhp and 123lb ft. The Turbo has a 0-62mph time of 8.4sec, against the naturally aspirated manual model’s 9.7sec.

The Turbo also gets a larger-diameter exhaust for a 'more robust' sound, along with new front and rear bumpers, a new rear spoiler and grille, new 18-inch alloy wheels with chrome inserts, projection headlights with LED daytime running lights and unique LED tail-lights.

Both the Turbo and the naturally aspirated Veloster are offered with a six-speed manual gearbox, but buyers can also get the standard Veloster with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

So is the Veloster merely a curiousity, or is it a viable choice for those looking for a coupé that's rewarding to drive? Let's find out.

Top 5 Sport coupes

  • Porsche Cayman
    The Porsche Cayman is now in its second generation

    Porsche Cayman

  • The stated criteria for the GT86 read like a purist's manifesto: rear-drive, no turbo, ordinary tyres

    Toyota GT86

  • BMW M235i
    The BMW M235i is a rear-wheel-drive turbocharged coupé which rivals the likes of the Porsche Cayman

    BMW M235i

  • Costliest car gets the deftest chassis to ever underpin a TT - the best reason yet to buy into Audi’s coupe.

    Audi TTS

  • Peugeot RCZ R
    The front-drive RCZ R packs a 266bhp turbocharged engine

    Peugeot RCZ R


First drives


Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Hyundai range

Driven this week

  • Car review
    7 October 2015
    Does the Zenos E10 have enough to oust Caterham and Lotus off their throne
  • First Drive
    2 October 2015
    Track Edition GT-R takes key elements from the range-topping GT-R Nismo and offers them at a more affordable price
  • First Drive
    2 October 2015
    We've driven the Golf R Estate abroad and thought it was top drawer, but we need a UK drive to be sure.
  • First Drive
    2 October 2015
    Does Hyundai’s entry-level diesel leave us feeling short-changed? We drive it on UK roads to find out
  • First Drive
    1 October 2015
    'New' turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine is entry-level route into the X-Trail range, but is it worth it in this range-topping trim over a diesel alternative?