Un Doors Tres!
By Keegan Gan
June 22, 2012
We take the all-new Hyundai Veloster GDI out for a spin!
Tell someone about Hyundai back in the 80s and 90s and you would be greeted immediately with derision about how ugly the cars looked, how badly they were manufactured and how unreliable they can be. The winds of change has certainly passed through Seoul, and the Korean car manufacturer has enjoyed plaudits in recent years with its continuous launch of excellent car models such as the i45, i40, Elantra and recently the all-new Veloster.
So what kind of car is the Veloster then? From the way the name sounds, one would automatically assume that the car is some high-revving performance ride offered by Hyundai, well close but not quite, for performance, you might have to wait till the turbocharged version of this car arrives in town, but even then, the naturally aspirated Veloster GDI performs ably when it comes to acceleration.
Performance aside, let me begin with the car’s design. But first a caveat; comparisons with the Mini Clubman’s third passenger on the wrong side are aplenty thus I shall not comment on that but instead focus on the car itself.
Obviously the designers at Hyundai decided to go with something left of the field when they designed the Veloster, if not, why would the car be sporting an asymmetrical ‘dual’ identity? On the driver’s side, you get a coupe-sque silhouette with just one door, while on the passenger side, the car resumes normalcy with two doors. A three-door hatch you say? Wait a second, is it right to call it a three-door coupe?
Either way, you can never get the nomenclature of this car right, but being confounded by the car’s appearance is not a bad thing after all, this car does get you attention on the streets, especially in yellow. By the way, the rear passenger door handle is concealed by the window trim, a design used by some older Alfa Romeo models and more recently the Nissan Juke, but I digress.
Continuing with the exterior, the design of the Veloster is actually a very interesting preposition. From afar, one can immediately see the deeply sculpted silhouette, with multiple curves all round, like a well buffed gym-rat. In fact the wheel arches filled with 18 inch wheels has that muscular feel to it, giving the car a brawny look, with its centralised dual exhaust rounding it off for that sporty and stylish look. The rest of the car’s design however, conforms to Hyundai’s global design identity, as such the Veloster retains traits of its siblings, though often than not, the youngest sibling is still the best looker of the lot.
As for the interior, the Veloster offers adequate cabin space for the front and rear passengers, the sloping roof at the rear however may be a tad difficult for ingress and egress when it comes to the taller passengers, but the overall feel and ambience of the car is definitely cosy. It also helps that the car is equipped with a sunroof, as the added illumination from the top gives one that perceived feel of roominess.
As for the front leather seats, they are adequately bolstered for excellent lumbar support. What remains unchanged though is the usage of ubiquitous plastic bits found in most Asian cars, which is quite disappointing considering the good work Hyundai has done with the external design, but overall, the interior is still impressive enough.
On the roads, the Veloster GDI reacts responsively to throttle inputs, eager to please; the car moves off from standstill enthusiastically, with 140 horses and 167 Nm worth of torque hauling it off the blocks, abetted by its smooth changing dual clutch transmission. Round the bends, this car takes it in its stride with excellent feedback from the steering wheel, however, please bear in mind that this is no high performance car so don’t go overboard lest you overcook things, for its brakes will not bail you out of idiocy though it works a treat in normal driving as anyone would do.
Where Hyundai’s earlier coupe the Tuscani had left, the Veloster fills in the void perfectly, having arrived at an opportune time to satiate the needs of the Hyundai fans for a new sporty looking car, since the Genesis coupe never made it to our shores. Moreover, what Veloster owners are getting is a ‘dual’ identity car, coupe on one side and family hatch on the other, making it the best of both worlds. Who said you can’t have your cake and eat it?
Car: Hyundai Veloster GDI
Engine: 1,591 cc
Transmisson: 6-speed dual clutch
Max power: 140 bhp
Max torque: 167 Nm
0-100km/h: 10.3 seconds
Distributor: Komoco Motors
Photos By Komoco Motors