Six-Month Road Test Hyundai Veloster: The Fido Test

June 4, 2012
It took only a couple of weekends in our six-month road test 2012 Hyundai Veloster to glean that this small car could work surprisingly well for some city-dwelling dog owners.

Yes, that's a bit of a surprise—especially considering its rakish, low-slung coupe profile. Usually, if you want a rather sporty coupe but have a dog, something has to give. And for most, that means settling for something that meets part of your lifestyle but not all of it.

The Veloster is packaged differently than anything else on the market. With its unusual three-door layout, it's a true coupe from the driver's and a fashionable hatch with a modest rear door on the passenger (curb) side—making the back seat much more useful, at least in theory, for passengers.

For adults, that doesn't really ring true. We've noted that the Veloster doesn't have enough headroom for adults in that back seat, however; and if you have people sit back there, then close the hatch, there could be trouble.

But Owen—our 35-pound mutt, who straps in with the seatbelt, thanks to a harness from Ruffwear—wouldn't know the difference. And actually, we think Owen likes the Veloster better than most other cars—even the Volvo wagon that normally serves as the dogmobile—because it's both easy to get up into and closer to us, in the front seat. Anyone who has a dog knows the neediness and will understand.

2012 Hyundai Veloster

2012 Hyundai Veloster

We've braved a little bit of dog hair on the Veloster's seats in order to actually put it through the paces like we would if it were our own vehicle. And although we always have Owen sit on a mat or old towel, so far the Veloster's seats have worked quite well; they don't attract loads of hair like some of the coarse-fabric seats on the market, and what does get caught in the weave is quite easily removed with a lint roller.

At the same time, the Veloster is great for the city. With its 166-inch length and 34.1-foot curb-to-curb turning diameter, it parks more easily than the Subaru or Volvo wagons that are so common among dog owners. It also gets much better gas mileage than most of the other vehicles that we've targeted as great for dog owners—like the now-discontinued Honda Element.

That said, for larger dogs (and those that go behind gates or in carriers) that don't sit strapped in like this, it's just not going to work. My next-door neighbors' larger Rottweiler, which just fits into their Prius Liftback, would be unable to make it comfortably into the Veloster's cargo area—because of the very high stepover—and its narrowness would be too confining.

Owen, in the Six-Month Road Test Hyundai Veloster

Owen, in the Six-Month Road Test Hyundai Veloster

What works so well for dogs with harnesses should also work well for new parents with infant seats, by the way—although you should of course check this at the dealership.

In the meantime, keep checking back for more updates on our Six Month Road Test vehicles, and see our full review on the Veloster for more information. There's going to be more testing, errands, and road-trip miles; and we'll do our best to keep the paws clean.

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