What is it?
The range-topping model in the Hyundai Veloster Coupe range, in higher spec sports trim and equipped with Hyundai’s own-engineered six-speed dual-clutch transmission as a £1250 option.
Sports trim means 18-inch wheels shod with 215/40 R18 rubber instead of standard 215/45 R17, but identical spring and damper settings to the standard car.
To compensates for the different tyre sizes, the DCT transmission also features a longer final drive ratio — 3.667:1 in 5th and 6th gears and a shorter ratio of 4.813;1 in 1st 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears. The manual-equipped Veloster uses a 4.267 final drive. The DCT does bring a hefty weight penalty adding 35kg to the kerb weight.
The Veloster, incidentally, is based on the impressive new i30 hatch platform, but strangely the coupe makes do with a simple twist-beam rear-axle where the hatch enjoys a multi-link.
What’s it like?
The DCT transmission adds an extra string to the Veloster’s bow – making it into a city/commuting-friendly easy-to-drive coupe. The DCT will spread across other models in the range.
It changes gear smoothly with a slight slurring of the up and down changes, which are made to feel a little snappier when the steering-wheel mounted paddles — right-hand side for up a gear, left-hand side for down — are used in back-road driving.
Compared to the standard six-speed manual, though, the DCT-equipped Veloster feels a little more sluggish during press-on driving. The acceleration figures back this up. Unusually for a DCT, the self-shifter is slower to 60mph than the manual, in this case by 0.6sec.
Fuel economy is quoted as better with the DCT – 44.1mpg versus 43.5mpg – as is the CO2 145g/km versus 148. Although on our test drive — not particularly scientifically-observed it must be admitted — the trip meters of the two cars I tried told a different story – 28mpg for DCT versus 29.8mpg for the manual.
The sports trim is a well-appointed luxury spec option, adding heated leather seats, panoramic tilt/slide roof, cruise control and stop-start, rear-view camera and 18-inch wheels for £2500 more on the list price. Touch screen sat-nav is a further £1100 option.
The lower profile rubber does add a slight edge to the steering, sharpening the turn-in, and the ride is slightly stiffer, but the Veloster Sport still behaves like its standard-shod brother.
In everyday driving it’s a reasonably fun car to pilot, being agile and feeling alive on the road at moderate speeds. The 138bhp 1.6-litre engine revs sweetly, but needs to be worked to extract performance as it produces a measly 123lb ft of torque.
However, the power steering is rather inert, and as the speed rises, the body control fades away, so it can’t match a VW Scirroco or hot hatch for driver enjoyment.
Also on the public roads of this test we couldn’t explore the outer edge of the handling envelope as we did in our road test last year, when the Veloster’s extreme high-speed stability came into question.
Should I buy one?
Understand what a Veloster is — a novel package with interesting styling, a practical cabin and keen pricing and it’s possible to make a case for the pricier DCT version, which adds ease-of-driving to the equation. Sport trim also boosts the Veloster with a thick layer of extra luxury, but on balance we feel a more basic, manual-equipped Veloster is the more sensible choice. And as before, keen drivers are best advised to look elsewhere for their enjoyment.