Suited for babes and babies
KYLE VENKTESS explores all the possibilities the new Veloster Turbo offers to the younger driver
TWO impressions remained from our first time with the Hyundai Veloster — it is a babe magnet, and the 103 kW from the 1,6 engine was not enough power.
The newly launched Veloster Turbo is still a babe magnet, but with forced induction the 1,6-litre GDI engine now makes 150 kW and 265 Nm — performance figures that are quite a step up from its non-turbocharged sibling which delivers 103 kW and 167 Nm.
This is the same block used in the i20 racing in the World Rally Champs, although Stanley Anderson, marketing director of Hyundai Automotive SA, points out that i20 makes 200 kW.
Nevetheless, the Veloster Turbo points to where the Hyundai brand is heading — “vehicles with advanced engine and transmission technology that will appeal to car buyers who are looking for an exciting, yet reliable and well-designed automobile”.
I was fortunate to be part of a KZN media contingent to drive both the auto and manual iterations of the Veloster turbo on Monday.
The marketing material claim a quicker-ratio steering rack and a revised steering calibration has been fitted to provide precise cornering, feedback and control, with the suspension tuned to match. Over the sugar-can trammelled ruts of KZN’s D roads, the ride certainly delivered the “firm and sure-footed road manners” the media statement boasted about.
Ask for Auto or Manuel
To handle the power enhancements, the Veloster Turbo is paired with a standard six-speed manual transmission — developed in-house by Hyundai — featuring a wider gear ratio spread to handle the additional torque output.
It also comes with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) which changes gears automatically or through driver input with steering wheel mounted paddles or the gear lever. My preference is for the manual. Apart from letting me feel more in control of things than the flappy paddles can, the exhaust notes from the double trapezoidal centre tailpipes at the back sound more bubbly in the manual.
Inside, a long list of luxury features include a sound system with its Gracenote music-management feature to leather seats, and Bluetooth sound system and cellphone integration.
All are operated from either a seveninch touch-screen interface or the mutlifunction steering wheel, which has the handiest buttons for a Cruise Control outside a Nissan.
This touch-screen device allows for streaming audio from your smartphone device or easy access to your favourite radio stations.
A panoramic sunroof that stretches all the way back to the rear passengers is standard. One button opens or closes it in a few seconds.
Other standard trim include fog lights, 18-inch alloy rims on 225/40 R 18 tyres, projection headlights with unique LED headlight accents, and unique LED tail lights.
And, yes, the Veloster Turbo still has the innovative 1+2 door design which Anderson says appeals so much to the Millenials, of which I am a member.
The quirky yet practical three-door from Korea competes with the equally quirky and competent sportscars like the Audi A3 Sportpack, Mini, Renault Coupé, Toyota 86 and VW Scirocco. Total sales of this exclusive group of premium sports cars amount to about 200 a month, and Anderson said he will be happy if 20 of these sales are Veloster Turbos. At R379 900 for the manual and R399 900 for the auto, including Hyundai’s five-year or 150 000 km warranty, the Veloster makes a compelling price argument. Add to this the Isofix hooks for baby seats on the rear seats — and that wide-opening third door — and you have to agree this is a babe magnet that will remain practical even when the babies arrive.
The Veloster Turbo is attractively priced in the premium sports car segment, but thanks to its third door and Isofix hooks for baby seats, this is one babe magnet that remains practical even when the babies arrive.