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
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.