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Hyundai Veloster 1.6 GDi 2+2 Coupe

Click to view picture gallery“With record sales under its belt
 
(last year Hyundai sold significantly
  more cars in the UK than Citroen,
  Fiat, Honda, Kia, Mazda, MINI, SEAT
  and Volvo),
the South Korean car
  maker has just brought out an
  unusual and intriguing new model

  the Veloster Coupe
...”

UNUSUAL WHY? While the Veloster has four doors, they're not in a layout you might expect: in addition to the usual two front doors and a rear tailgate, there's also an extra side rear door on the nearside to ease access for rear passengers.

I'm not so sure about this feature; if there's room to fit a rear side door on one side of the car, why not fit a matching one on the other so both rear passengers can get in and out easily? So, a bit of a gimmick? Or innovative? You decide…

The Veloster's forerunner was the well-liked two-door Coupe, sold until 2009. The newcomer is expected to outsell its predecessor, with around 5,000 UK annual sales. Prices start at a competitive £18,000 with a six-speed manual gearbox and rise to £23,150 if the optional Media and Red Leather packs and the DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission are added.

“Even if it’s not yet
endowed with sports
performance, the Veloster
certainly looks sporty,
fronted by large but sleek
headlights with LED
daytime running lights
and twin air vents in the
curvaceous bonnet
...”
All models are powered by a 138bhp 1.6-litre normally-aspirated GDi (Gasoline Direct Inject) petrol engine although a 184bhp turboed version will be added to the line-up later this year.

The Veloster offers two trim and equipment levels: Standard and Sport. Standard models are also available in a lower-emission Blue-Drive spec — 137g/km and a Combined Cycle fuel consumption of 47.9mpg. Blue-Drive technology brings intelligent Stop & Go and low rolling resistance tyres.

Without Blue-Drive, manual versions return 43.5mpg (officially) with emissions of 148g/km; the DCT auto returns 44.1mpg with CO2 emissions of 145g/km. This means the Blue-Drive version incurs a road tax bill of £120; the standard model costs £135 a year, as does the DCT version. Company car drivers who like the looks will pay 18% BIK tax for the Blue-Drive and 19% for the manual and DCT variants.

Even if it's not yet endowed with sports performance, the Veloster certainly looks sporty, fronted by large but sleek headlights with LED daytime running lights and twin air vents in the curvaceous bonnet.

The asymmetrical design uses exaggerated sculptured panels and a sharply upswept window line at the rear sides in conjunction with a falling rear roof line that, unfortunately, restricts rear-quarter visibility. The rear section of the roof is glass and this links neatly to the rear tailgate, which has quite a small window and a high rear sill so heavy items have to be loaded down into the boot.

The seemingly long wheelbase helps to conjure up the coupe-esque side profile, smartly set off by 17-inch alloy wheels, while at the tail, twin tailpipes — mounted side by side in the centre of the rear apron — give it a racy look.

“The main talking point,
or indeed feature, about
the Veloster 2+2 coupe is
the oddball extra
nearside door that makes
an unusual total of three
passenger doors plus
a tailgate
...”
Inside the Veloster there's an air of completeness and quality; constructed of what looks like tightly woven, soft-feel but textured material, the sculptured fascia catches the attention right away.

The neat centre console accommodates a V-shaped panel which houses the radio, heater and touchscreen. Sports style instruments are clear and well positioned right in front of the driver.

There is lots of equipment inside and out included as standard, such as the 7-inch touchscreen media centre, Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition, climate control AirCon, stereo radio/CD player with MP3/WMA compatibility, iPod connection, cloth upholstery, electric front windows and door mirrors, reversing sensors, front and rear fog lights, LED daytime running lights and a rear spoiler.

The Veloster Sport has even more: black leather upholstery with heated front seats, a panoramic tilt-and-slide sunroof, cruise control, keyless entry with engine start/stop button, alloy pedals and 18-inch alloy wheels with colour inserts.

A media pack (touchscreen SatNav with rear-view parking camera, parking guidance system and 7-speakers including amp and subwoofer) and a red leather interior are available as options on the Sport derivative only.

All Hyundai Veloster models are supported by Hyundai's Five Year Triple Care Assurance. This package offers five-year unlimited warranty, five years of roadside assistance and five years of vehicle health checks.

But the main talking point, or indeed feature, about the Veloster 2+2 coupe is the oddball extra nearside door that makes an unusual total of three passenger doors plus a tailgate. Given its narrowness and the low height of the frame, access through the rear side doorframe can be awkward for an adult but it works for children.

“All Hyundai Veloster
models are supported by
Hyundai’s Five Year
Triple Care Assurance.
This package offers five-
year unlimited warranty,
five years of roadside
assistance and five years
of vehicle health
checks
...”
Based on the Hyundai i40 saloon and Tourer, the chassis dynamics are not really suited for a sports coupe. It's comfortable enough but the suspension allows the body to fidget around, giving unsettled handling even at medium speeds.

As a driving enthusiast's car it lacks the poise of, say, Volkswagen's Scirocco coupe. Hopefully the suspension settings will be improved for the more powerful turbocharged version due later this year.

The engine will suit driver's who want sports style from their car rather than sporty performance. As a modern direct injection, bread-and-butter petrol engine with 138bhp and limited torque of 123lb ft from 4,850rpm, it performs without distinction.

It gets the job done well enough but other new engines of this type offer much more response and performance. Top speed is 125mph and zero to 62mph takes 9.7 seconds. My week-long test drive covered most types of roads and conditions and returned 38mpg against the official 43.5mpg figure.

Against? Difficult access through the rear side door, fidgety ride and the handling is not as composed or as agile as its European rivals.

The Veloster is an interesting addition to the Hyundai range, replacing the popular but long-gone Coupe, although for some enthusiastic drivers it will be a case of style over function. On the plus side it's a competitively priced and roomy 2+2 coupe, well equipped with a nice high quality interior, impressive warranty package and an interesting third passenger door design. — David Miles

Hyundai Veloster 1.6 GDi 2+2 Coupe | £18,000
Maximum speed: 125mph | 0-62mph: 9.7 seconds | Overall test MPG: 38mpg
Power: 138bhp | Torque: 123lb ft | CO2 148g/km