Without challenging the class leaders in the comfort stakes, the Hyundai Veloster rides in a crisp, respectable style. There’s a firm edge to the body control, which occasionally makes it seem busy over particularly coarse ground, but by and large the car adapts to British roads with little real fuss. Its basic compliancy, together with breezy steering, light pedals and perky engine, make the Hyundai a straightforward and undemanding prospect at regular speeds.
Issues only arise when you attempt to apply a coupé-like sense of energetic progress to proceedings. Hyundai has seen to it that the insubstantial steering acquires some weight at speed, but it has failed to find any real feedback through the first few degrees of input on the slow, elastic rack.
The paucity of initial feel is exacerbated by the Veloster’s lack of bite on turn-in, which is allied to a tendency to fritter away traction like a diesel locomotive on icy rails. The net result is a frustrating shortage of confidence in the car’s capacity to accommodate the enthusiastic driver.
That’s unfortunate, because there are indications that Hyundai has made some effort to embellish the model’s responses. An unexpectedly reactive rear end has been engineered into the Veloster, making it possible to adjust the wayward nose’s line through judicious throttle modulation. However, the outcome can be precarious under heavy braking from high speeds, where the car displays a worrying propensity for waywardness.
The significance of the Veloster’s shortcomings depend almost entirely on what you expect a coupé (or even a pseudo-coupé) to deliver on the handling front. Aside from the duff steering, most of the car’s issues are only noticeable under duress and would be unlikely to trouble buyers aspiring to nothing more challenging than the daily commute. However, to excel in this class means delivering a healthy dose of driver reward, and the Veloster falls short of that benchmark.
Noticeable (and welcome) improvments to the handling abilities of the Veloster have been implemented with the Turbo model. Its steering is free from the inconsistencies of the base 1.6, and retuned suspension is vastly better. Not only does the Veloster Turbo feel more keyed-in to the road thanks to firmer dampers, but it also maintains a more settled ride.