- Genre-busting good looks
- Awesome grip, handling poise
- Comfy front seats
- Coupe-like backseat space
- Feels sluggish from stoplights
- Steering lacks sharpness
The 2012 Hyundai Veloster starts with niche appeal, but its impressive handling and strong, high-value feature set should play well to the mainstream.
The all-new 2012 Hyundai Veloster is at once more practical and more adventurous than a typical sporty coupe—punctuated, from the outside, by an unusual three-door layout that features a larger door on the driver's side and two smaller doors on the passenger side.
Underneath, the Veloster borrows some of its underpinnings from the Elantra sedan, yet a redesigned, retuned suspension gives it a more nimble and confident feel on curvy roads—even though we're still not wild about the steering. Powering the Veloster is a 138-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that, paired with new six-speed manual or six-speed Dual Clutch automatic transmissions, returns up to 37 mpg on the highway. This setup's Achilles Heel is that it, quite simply, lacks low-rpm torque—leading to a rather gutless feel from a standing start. Get the engine revving, however, and the attitude of the car really perks up.
The Veloster works multiple angles, attempting to charm discerning younger vehicle shoppers with its unique formulation of hip urban design, a sporty driving feel, reasonable comfort, and enough features to satisfy and entertain a crowd that's always connected.
In keeping with that pitch, Hyundai has priced the Veloster low enough—and wrapped enough standard features into it—to cause serious market upheaval among those selling small, sporty coupes. With a base price of $18,060, the Veloster includes a standard USB/iPod interface, RCA inputs, Bluetooth hands-free, and GraceNote music display technology that lets you request music with voice commands. Hyundai's BlueLink suite of services is also included, in a trial subscription, and options include a huge panoramic sunroof, a navigation system, upgraded wheels, and a 115-volt outlet.