From £17,236
Early UK development drive shows that Hyundai's oddball coupe has potential

Our Verdict

Hyundai Veloster

The Hyundai Veloster wins on practicality, price and standard kit but lacks the dynamic talent and appeal that a coupé should have.

31 March 2011

What is it?

It’s a very early prototype of Hyundai’s asymmetric Veloster, a coupe which sports two doors on one side and a single one on the other. Hyundai thinks it could go on to become the equivalent of its VW Scirocco, or Mini. Some kind of halo model.

It’ll go on sale autumn 2011 but we’ve been allowed a development drive of this early prototype in the UK, specifically to assess which direction the ride and handling should take. Power comes from a 1.6-litre petrol motor.

What’s it like?

The phrase ‘early prototype’ means don’t ‘judge fit and finish’. So I won’t, but the promise is there, with an interesting yet functional cabin.

The driving position is tidy, too, though a spot more travel for the nicely-sized wheel wouldn’t go amiss. The pedals are well spaced and control weights are pleasingly positive.

Our test car’s engine idled quietly and spun freely. The six-speed manual gearshift is precise, with only a little notch when swapping between ratios.

From rest, the steering is well-weighted and linear. The low-speed ride, however, is on the harsh side. There are big vertical movements around town, with none of the suppleness we’ve come to expect in, say, Hyundai’s own i30.

It’s the same at higher speeds, too; failing ever to quite settle. That can make the Veloster feel dynamic and agile, but our experience with, say, the Scirocco, Ford Fiesta Zetec S or Citroen DS3, is that decent handling doesn’t have to come at the expense of a sophisticated ride.

Other cars, like the Mini Cooper, or Alfa Romeo’s Mito, do make the compromise, sacrificing comfort for a faux-agile feeling. With an ideal set-up the Veloster wouldn’t.

At the moment the Veloster does, at times, feel agile. It responds quickly to small steering inputs, with limited roll angle, but a quickish roll rate.

It’s also throttle-adjustable, much keener to turn if you’re off the gas, or trailing the brakes, than it is on the throttle where it tends to understeer. I’m talking well within the realms of grip, too – about its general demeanour, not its slidey behaviour.

Should I buy one?

It’s still too early to tell. There’s still a lot of work to do on the chassis, but the promise is there.

By my thinking, Hyundai ought to do everything it can to release the Veloster’s full driving potential.

There are a lot of competitive and desirable cars at this level, and if Hyundai can make its coupe one of the best cars around to drive, it’ll give itself a useful leg-up.

Hyundai Veloster 1.6

Price: £19,000 (est); Top speed: 120mph (est); 0-62mph 9.8sec (est); Economy: 50.4mpg (tbc); CO2: 132g/km (tbc); Kerb weight: 1295kg (tbc); Engine: 4 cyls, 1591cc, petrol; Power: 138bhp at 6300rpm; Torque: 123lb ft at 4850rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual.

Join the debate

Comments
21

1 April 2011

Maybe its the colour, but I think this is an ugly looking car

1 April 2011

[quote superstevie]Maybe its the colour, but I think this is an ugly looking car[/quote]

I'm inclined to agree. I see it as a design study that Chrysler discarded when they came up with the Crossfire, and that was a pig in any case. Just reinforces my own view that Hyundais look like the cars they would have liked to have built 10 years earlier.

The name confuses too. With 'Velo' in there I expect to see something to do with bicycles. Perhaps it's something that has passed Hyundai by, or it has another meaning in other languages.

1 April 2011

Interesting looking car, if not what I would call conventionally beautiful. The front is definitely the best aspect of the car but the back seems to be a little less well resolved from a styling point of view. I can see the designers were obviously trying to do a Citroen C4 3 door / Honda CRX with the boot lid glass but the curves (in the pictures at least) give it a slightly awkward stance. The asymmetric sides are fine though.

Let's just hope the chassis engineers get things right and they release a punchier engine to complement the shape.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

Myk

1 April 2011

I'm very disappointed with the looks of this car. Hyundai almost deserve an award. They've managed to make it look very similar to the rather lovely concept, but at the same time removed all of the nice details and somehow made it heavy-handed and graceless. It's like when you see a beautiful girl and then meet her ugly sister. You can see the similarities but it like something's gone wrong in the mix.

1 April 2011

Not great, is it?! The rear reminds me of the Citroen C-Cactus concept, and that's not good.

Poor colour choice, too.

All IMO of course!


1 April 2011

Er... neatly styled, intriguing and well resolved odd door concept. Are they tooling up for a UK version doorwise?.....

Myk

1 April 2011

[quote saintly78]

Are they tooling up for a UK version doorwise?.....

[/quote]

From what I've read, apparently they are. Unlike Mini, who couldn't be bothered...

jer

1 April 2011

It's ideosyncratic along the lines of the Duke that's what people under 40 want and why not?

3 doors more useful than 4? I don't think so.

1 April 2011

[quote jer]3 doors more useful than 4? I don't think so.[/quote] More practical than 2!

IIRC the clubman issue is that the fuel cap couldnt easily repositioned with out substantial reengineering of the whole car rather than they couldnt be bothered. The next gen one will sort this

1 April 2011

Except for the the three doors, nothing special and it is disappointment in the design sector.The rear is to much like Renault Megan Coupe, front....I already forgot it, and I don't have Alzheimer disease (jet).From the people that made iX35,too vague.

The ones that buy Scirocco ,Golf GTI, Alfa QV,...will pass by not noticing it.

But, there was a guy on the forum :" Waiting for Scirocco with sun roof"!

He might be interested!

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