Knock on the doors
The Veloster inspired with eccentric coupe styling — but the turbo turned some off
HYUNDAI rarely excites the senses. The brand arrived here with a price-driven pitch and struggled to throw off the cheap-and-cheerful tag, even though its cars had come on in leaps and bounds.
Then it launched the sporty Veloster hatch in 2011. With its aggressively chiselled lines and sweeping profile, the Veloster was designed to stand out in a crowd.
It had the looks to appeal to those wanting a chic coupe as well as those looking for a sporty drive, and the good thing was it came with a starting sticker of just $23,990 for the well-equipped base model.
Anyone wanting more had the choice of the Veloster + with a panoramic glass sunroof and leather, and the SR Turbo with perkier performance.
A passing glance suggested the Veloster was a funky twodoor coupe, but in fact it was quite a practical hatch. A closer look revealed two doors on the kerb side, the rear one cleverly concealed so it appeared there wasn’t a rear door at all, but on the driver’s side there was a single, longer coupe-style door.
Inside it was typically Hyundai with a familiar shape to the dash, the layout and blue instrument lighting.
Power for the base Veloster and the Veloster + came from a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine that boasted direct injection and a reasonable output of 103kW/166Nm. It was adequate for the job. Anyone expecting blistering performance would have felt let down.
For a more thrilling drive you needed to step up to the SR Turbo, with forced induction giving the 1.6 more satisfying outputs of 150kW/265Nm.
The transmission options were six-speeders, a manual and a dual-clutch auto, and the Veloster earned five stars for crash safety
With its suspension tuned to Australian roads, the Veloster was well equipped to handle whatever was thrown its way. It was well balanced, the steering was pleasantly responsive and it had a decent ride.
We’re only now getting a glimpse of the Veloster’s longerterm reliability. We already know it’s a cute and sexy thing in the eyes of buyers but only now can we assess its reliability.
From what we learnt from owners, there are some problems that potential buyers of used examples should ponder seriously.
There are clearly problems with the head unit for the GPS, Bluetooth and infotainment. Owners have told us about having to replace the unit, in some cases more than once. If you’re looking to buy a Veloster check the operation very carefully so see that all is well.
The other issue that is worrying relates to turbo versions. One owner had to replace the engine after relatively few kilometres.
Check your chosen car for a service record; it’s even more important with a turbo engine that needs a supply of fresh oil to thrive. Neglect oil changes and you risk serious damage to the engine.
Owners also complain about wear in the leather trim and soft paint that scratches easily.
Corey Henderson I love the looks of my 2013 Veloster, I also love the concealed third door, the fuel efficiency, and the features like the reversing camera and GPS. The only problem I’ve had it the head unit for the radio, Bluetooth, GPS etc behave erratically and sometimes freeze.
Simon Charles My 2014 Veloster hasn’t missed a beat. It’s fuel-efficient and absolute pleasure to drive.
Evan Watson The engine in my SR Turbo has given me trouble. There are times when it loses all performance; it did it once when I was overtaking. The dealer could find nothing wrong.
Julie Billingham I was in love with my SR Turbo until the engine had to be replaced after just 40,000km.
John Gregory I am very disappointed in my SR Turbo. The GPS doesn’t work properly, the radio reception is poor, the
brakes shudder and I wasn’t happy with the dealer response to my issues.
Ella Black My Veloster’s GPS had to be replaced four times. I’m not happy.
Striking looks appeal to those who want to appear cool. Approach turbo versions with caution.