Veloster has verve, but lacks grunt
■ It’s been a long time, but well worth the wait.
When the Hyundai Veloster first came out, with its out-there looks and unusual architecture, it shaped up to be a challenger to the hot-hatch mob.
Unfortunately, somebody had forgotten about giving it the performance to match.
The Veloster was held back by a naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine.
Fortunately, we forgave shortcomings, much talk being of the sedan-cum-coupe styling, with two doors on the passenger side, only one on the driver’s side.
The result was the dismissal of the inconvenience of squeezing in and out of the back seats through a single entrance as in a conventional coupe.
It wasn’t until later when a turbocharger was hung off the motor that things began to heat up.
I have had to wait until now and the Series II to taste the added grunt with a stint with a range-topping Veloster SR + Turbo, which comes to market at $36,490, plus onroad costs.
Veloster Series II has taken on more of Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture styling with a distinctive grey grille surround and 18-inch alloy wheels in a choice of two new styles, both shod with sporty 225/ 40 R18 tyres.
Contrasting stitching can be found on the steering wheel and coloured seatbelts are about to be installed with the newest models.
Also new is an electro-luminescent sports-style instrument cluster, while driver and front passenger are treated to power adjustable heated and ventilated seats.
The whole thing is topped off with a panoramic glass sunroof.
Up-to-date connectivity comes courtesy of a 7.0-inch LCD touch screen displaying satellite navigation, CD player, MP3 input and three years HEREMapCare.
Veloster Series II is powered by Hyundai’s direct-injection 1.6-litre Gamma engine, in naturally aspirated or turbocharged form.
Power and torque figures for both engine types are unchanged. Turbo + power and torque are 150kW at 6000rpm and 265Nm between 1750 and 4500rpm. Exclusive to the SR Turbo range is a smooth shifting seven-speed double clutch transmission with steering wheelmounted paddle shifts.
The all-new seven-speed DCT offers fast changes and improved fuel economy, measured on the official test at 7.1 litres /100 km, down from 7.6.
Safety features include six airbags, brake assist, traction control, electronic stability control and a rear-view camera. Fuel consumption of the test vehicle was clocked at six litres per 100km in highway cruising but turned out a thirsty customer with up to 13 litres per 100km guzzled in the suburbs.
The Veloster SR + skipped along nicely, the wheels anchored firmly to the bitumen, even on the broken surfaces of some poorly maintained roads. While not calling up the word “tepid”, The Veloster SR + fails to match performance with many of the so-called hot hatches of today.
What it does have is looks to carry it off.
And there’s the sub-30K turbo tag.
Hyundai Veloster has style with plenty of character.