Sexy coupe sports ex­tra door

Korean car­maker Hyundai has dis­cov­ered a way to make a coupe as easy to live with as it is to look at, re­ports Dave Moore

South Waikato News - - MOTORING -

It’s a cu­ri­ous beast, Hyundai’s Veloster but it makes a lot sense if you take time to look at it prop­erly. It’s as swoopy as coupes ought to be but of­fers a pair of doors on the kerb­side of the car, so it can still be a use­ful pas­sen­ger car­rier.

Call it a gim­mick if you like but it’s a clever one. Rather more clever than the only other car to go with the two doors on one side and one on the other; the Mini Club­man.

That car was re­stricted be­cause of its fuel tank in­let duct­ing, which dic­tated that the two kerb­side doors could only be fit­ted on the right-hand side, which meant that in most parts of the world, chil­dren could be dis­gorged into the side­walk, while in coun­tries such as Bri­tain, its Com­mon­wealth, In­dia and Ja­pan they ei­ther had to wait till the front pas­sen­ger got out or walk into the traf­fic flow.

No such prob­lem oc­curs with the Veloster, launched this month by Hyundai in New Zealand, as it has been de­signed for both left- and right-hand­drive mar­kets.

It also means that buy­ers can se­cure that rare bird, the prac­ti­cal coupe. It re­ally can seat up to five, at a squeeze; four’s bet­ter and it’s not a same-old, same-old sedan or hatch.

Odd to de­scribe them that way as Hyundai’s Ac­cent, Elantra and i30 mod­els are among the sex­i­est of their type on the mar­ket.

But the Veloster is sex­ier still, not only for the afore-men­tioned doors, which are dif­fi­cult to spot un­til you no­tice the hid­den door han­dle but also for the car’s gen­eral pro­file – an en­gag­ing low-slung chunk­i­ness, set off by the teardrop shape of the de­sign’s side-glasses.

There are some draw­backs. The rear view is a lit­tle re­stricted and some older adults may not en­joy clam­ber­ing out of the back, even with that clever door sys­tem but it’s re­ally de­signed for chil­dren and teens and they will have no prob­lem be­ing seen step­ping out of the Veloster, which is al­ready seen as the cool car of the mo­ment in the US and Europe.

Just one power train is be­ing of­fered at first in New Zealand. It’s what Hyundai calls its new Gamma 1.6-litre four­cylin­der gaso­line di­rect in­jec­tion en­gine, which drives the front wheels through Hyundai’s own six-speed dou­ble-clutch trans­mis­sion.

The en­gine makes a seg­ment-lead­ing (for non-tur­bocharged en­gines) 103kw at 6300rpm and peak torque of 166Nm at 4850rpm

Fuel econ­omy is rated from 6.4 L/100km (com­bined) while the CO2 rat­ing of 151g/km is su­pe­rior to many sim­i­larly-sized pro­pri­etary hatch­backs.

So, whether you re­gard it as a cool coupe or smart hatch, the Veloster is cer­tainly a unique and in­ter­est­ing mo­tor­ing al­ter­na­tive for the New Zealand au­to­mo­tive mar­ket.

In­side, the de­sign of the cen­tre con­sole and con­trols take their in­spi­ra­tion from a high per­for­mance mo­tor­bike. You’ll find a 7-inch mul­ti­me­dia touch-screen for your en­ter­tain­ment. And video play­back, Blue­tooth stream­ing and USB/AUX to keep you and your me­dia con­nected.

The Veloster achieves the max­i­mum 5-star Aus­tralian NCAP safety rat­ing and comes stan­dard with ve­hi­cle sta­bil­ity man­age­ment, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, trac­tion con­trol sys­tem, anti-lock brak­ing sys­tem with elec­tronic brake force dis­tri­bu­tion and brake as­sist sys­tem.

Hill-start as­sist con­trol is also stan­dard on all Veloster mod­els.

The Veloster will be avail­able in two trim lev­els (1.6 En­try GDI and 1.6 Elite GDI) priced at $39,990 and $44,490 re­spec­tively, the dif­fer­ence be­ing a rearview cam­era, pro­jec­tor-beam head­lights, a panoramic glass roof, leather trim and a power driver’s seat, along with a prox­im­ity key and en­gine stop-start sys­tem and 18-inch al­loy rims in­stead of 17-inch items.

We’ll bring you a full road test when we’re of­fered a car for an ex­tended drive.

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