More Personality Than Most People
The Hyundai Veloster is one of those cars that prove to be interesting in its own right. It’s a sporty hatchback with one door on the driver’s side, and two doors on the passenger side. It’s a successful nameplate for Hyundai that it’s enough for the brand to merit a second generation model. The first one felt like it didn’t know its own personality. It had a quirky design and a similarly punchy turbocharged 1.6-liter petrol motor, but it rode poorly and wasn’t particularly going to make the Volkswagen Golf GTI lose any sleep. You’d be surprised then that this time around, it’s actually a very fun hot hatch to drive.
But first, let’s start on the outside. Whereas the first generation model featured rounded shapes and edges, this new one takes on a more angular approach. It looks pretty good, especially in this red paint. The five twin-spoke black alloy wheels, hexagonal “Cascading Grille” with a mesh design, and a somewhat almost wedge-shaped silhouette give it a very distinctive look. It’s a refreshing design in an era where most cars are often criticized to look alike nowadays. Then, of course, there’s its signature asymmetrical design, with one door on the driver’s side, and two doors on the passenger side. At the back, the low slung design gives it a very distinctive rear fascia. The tail lights have a very aggressive pattern, similar in design to what one would find in Lamborghinis. Overall, the Hyundai Veloster hits all the right notes when it comes to featuring a distinctive and aggressive design.
The Veloster’s sporty design reflects on how sporty this car now drives. Packing a 1.6-liter turbocharged and direct injected motor, it produces 201 hp @ 6,000 rpm and 265 Nm of torque from 1,500-4,500 rpm, which are Volkswagen Golf GTI rivaling numbers. This is all mated to a revised 7-speed dual clutch transmission with rev matching downshifts. Sure, it’s down by a couple of horsepowers, but the Veloster’s noticeably lighter than the Golf. Combined with the new independent multi-link rear suspension, the Veloster fixes its biggest flaw: its firm ride and so-so handling.
The Veloster Turbo’s new independent multi-link rear suspension makes it corner with better composure and more grip. Torque vectoring enhances the way it rotates, though the system works transparently. Steering is great with a nice weight and extremely precise reflexes. It could still use more feedback, but overall, it’s so precise, it feels like slicing and dicing through the pavement. A good set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires also help things further. However, because of the steering’s on center responsiveness, driving through long straight highways requires more minute corrections than other cars, but for its nature as a hot hatch, it’s not really a big deal.
There are also numerous modes to choose from. Sport really makes the car a hoot to drive, while Normal provides a nice balance for everyday use. The 7-speed dual clutch transmission even rev matches when you downshift. Sweet!
For an engine with this level of performance, its fuel economy is excellent. I averaged 9.7 km/l in my entire drive, and out on the highway, the Veloster could easily achieve a little below 20 km/l. It’s actually very easy to achieve double-digit fuel economy figures with this car.
Refinement-wise, I think Hyundai could still improve upon it. Road and wind noise is still quite present when cruising down the highway at high speeds. While the engine and exhaust note does sound nice, even creating a burble whenever you upshift, the constant droning when cruising down the highway may also prove to be too tiresome for some people. Due to the independent multi-link rear suspension, the ride has also improved. It’s still kinda stiff, but it’s not too uncomfortable anymore.
Other negatives? Well, because of its swoopy design, there’s really not a lot of space. Taller drivers will even find the cockpit to be too snug. While legroom at the back is alright for my size, my hair is already touching the sloping roofline. The back seats are also a strict two-seater affair, plus rear visibility can be an issue, though a back-up camera is standard. At least the trunk space has a decent size for its class.
Speaking of the interior, if soft-touch materials are your thing, you won’t be happy with the abundance of hard plastics. It all looks nice though, so as long as you treat it like a museum, look but don’t touch, it’s actually a very nice place to spend time in. While it doesn’t offer great tactility, the Veloster is visually pleasing to the eye. There are numerous red details, and as a way to emphasize its asymmetrical design, the entire cockpit also features a similar theme. A canopy separates the driver’s section from the passenger, a sign on who this Veloster is truly intended for.
The 8-inch touch screen infotainment is nice, too. It’s extremely responsive and logically laid out. There’s a nice set of buttons that make the Veloster dead simple to operate. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard, as well as a Qi wireless charging pad.
Pricing for the Veloster starts at a little over P1.8 million, and this includes features such as LED head and tail lights, rain sensing wipers, 8-inch touch screen infotainment system, a nifty heads-up display, a plethora of airbags, as well as cruise control. For more driving thrills, you may want to check out the high-performance Veloster N, which we leaked before, and is available via indent order for a price of P2,098,000.
With this new Veloster, Hyundai has made its hot hatch a much better car on all respects. It’s stylish, economical, and extremely fun to drive. It may still have its quirks, but it’s the reason why this car has more personality than most people in the first place.
Pricing and Rating
Exterior Design: ★★★★★
Interior Design: ★★★★☆
Space and Practicality: ★★★☆☆
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★★
Value For Money: ★★★★☆
Overall: 4.3 out of 5