Suited for babes and ba­bies

KYLE VENKTESS ex­plores all the pos­si­bil­i­ties the new Veloster Turbo of­fers to the younger driver

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

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 com­pe­ti­tion

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.

PHOTO: QUICK­PIC

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.

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