Six-Month Road Test Hyundai Veloster: Visibility Challenges

April 30, 2012

We have nearly 1,000 miles on our six-month road test Hyundai Veloster, and we've come to realize that the stylish exterior has come at the cost of visibility.

With the Veloster, it's easy to take one look at this stylish hatchback and deem that Hyundai took the form over function route. That split-second reaction would be correct, but not entirely. While visibility is a huge issue, the engineers definitely did their best to compensate for the concessions made for the stylish design.

The C-pillars are massive and create large blind spots. The driver's B-pillar is directly in the line of sight when looking over your shoulder, and the driver's side seat belt hanger protrudes directly into what little visibility you have. Rear visibility also suffers due to the design of the rear hatch. It gets narrower as it goes down toward the bumper, and a beam splits the rear glass directly in your line line of sight. The bottom piece of glass in the hatch is actually curved, this ends up distorting things when looking in your rear view mirror, so that thing you think is a GMC Yukon, it's actually a cop in a Dodge Charger.

Now that's not to say it's all bad. Forward visibility is good. The A-pillars aren't oversized like we see in some new vehicles, and the dashboard doesn't go too high. The hood is short, which makes placing the front end somewhat difficult at times.

Our tester is equipped with the $2,000 technology package, which among other things, gives us the backup warning sensors and a rear-view camera system. We've found the backup camera and backup sensors to be invaluable. With the backup camera, you can see things you are missing due to the blind spot created by the C-pillars.

But to a degree, the competition does it better. Vehicles like the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle and the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic 5-door, are stylish hatchbacks that feature better visibility than the Veloster, while still maintaining aggressive styling.

So what's the bottom line? The design definitely hinders the overall visibility in the Hyundai Veloster and some competitors do it better, but get the optional technology package and living with the Veloster everyday will be a little easier.

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