Age- ap­pro­pri­ate

2016 Hyundai Veloster still turns young eyes

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - AUTOMOTIVE - By David Sch­midt Au­toWrit­er­sInk If you have any ques­tions, com­ments or ideas, please send them to com­ment@ Au­toWrit­er­

For 2016 the Hyundai Veloster is a nicely done car, specif­i­cally for twen­tysome­things, although it may be more of an at­ti­tude thing than an age thing.

This is the Hyundai prod­uct that you have to love or hate. It is much like the Kia Soul in that re­gard, and is also aimed at the same age group as the Soul. Be­cause they are made by the same com­pany, they aren’t sup­posed to, and don’t, com­pete with each other. One can­not imag­ine a po­ten­tial buyer for the Veloster to even glance side­ways at the Soul, un­less there was a pretty girl driv­ing it.

The car I tested was a blackon-black 2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo. Its MSRP was $24,920.00 while the base Veloster starts at $18,835. There a fair old bit of fun in those prices.

It was de­signed to push at least some lim­its. It has three doors, for in­stance. My sev­enyear-old grand­son was con­fused, and ques­tioned the pur­pose and value of only hav­ing a back-seat door on one side. Nor that they would fre­quently trans­port seven-year-olds.

But it still raises the ques­tion of why would some­one want a car that was a coupe on one side and a sedan on the other? My guess is very few buy­ers. Hyundai was sim­ply in­trigued by the de­signer’s idea and in­cor­po­rated it into a car that was clearly de­signed to be “out­side of the box.”

For 2016, all Veloster mod­els of­fer a re­vised hood ap­pear­ance with­out vent ac­cents, a dark gray grille sur­round, 10-mmwider tires fit­ted to all 18-in. wheels, and the non-turbo Veloster gets a new 17-in. wheels. The Turbo model gets new ma­chined-fin­ish wheels, a sportier seat de­sign in­clud­ing black seats with yel­low ac­cents. The in­stru­ment panel have fancier elec­tro­lu­mi­nes­cent gauges and black head­liner. de­sign.

It’s looks are also a change from the stan­dard look for small Asian cars. It’s hunched rear shoul­ders and an­gu­lar ag­gres­sive front end bring se­ri­ous ma­cho to the com­pact seg­ment. This is some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent here in the North Amer­i­can mar­ket where com­pacts are sup­posed to be cute and non-threat­en­ing.

So far it seems to have found a niche in the mar­ket, and Hyundai is proud of its sales. While its looks are edgy, the me­chan­i­cal part of the Veloster is fairly straight­for­ward.

The en­gine is a 1.6-liter tur­bocharged di­rect ga­so­line-in­jec­tion four-cylin­der. It pushes 201 hp. and 195 lb.-ft. of peak torque to the front wheels, us­ing reg­u­lar fuel. The en­gine breathes freely and sounds good all the way up the power band. That’s thanks to the turbo Veloster’s Ac­tive Sound De­sign, im­prov­ing the in­take and ex­haust pow­er­train sound char­ac­ter in­side the cabin.

The car comes stan­dard with a six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion or new-for-2016 op­tional sev­en­speed, dual-clutch au­to­matic. Both of them were de­vel­oped in­house by Hyundai. Mileage for the two trans­mis­sion are 25 mpg city and 33 mpg high­way for the man­ual and 27 mpg city and 33 mpg high­way for the au­to­matic.

It does take a bit of get­ting used to wait­ing for the turbo to spool up. The steer­ing uses elec­tric power steer­ing, so the road feel is good. The steer­ing does a good job of stay­ing on-cen­ter, a some­times dif­fi­cult thing in a front-wheel drive car.

The sus­pen­sion is de­cent, but not re­ally sporty. It’s a McPher­son strut front sus­pen­sion with coil springs and gas shock ab­sorbers. In back there is a light­weight V-tor­sion beam, with an in­te­grated 24-mm sta­bi­lizer bar and mono­tube shock ab­sorbers. Tun­ing is more “Euro” on the Turbo.

All Turbo mod­els get torque vec­tor­ing, which adds to the driv­ing as­sist pro­vided by the elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol and pow­er­train con­trol sys­tems You can drive this car fast in the twisty bits safely. It re­sponds well, and con­sis­tently to in­put. On the model I tested the wheels and tires were a good com­bi­na­tion. They gripped nicely but didn’t feel the need to trans­mit the road’s ev­ery bump and bounce into the cabin.

In ad­di­tion to ev­ery Veloster get­ting a rearview cam­era there are plenty of stan­dard safety fea­tures in­clud­ing ve­hi­cle sta­bil­ity man­age­ment and smart an­tilock brakes.

While small, the Veloster’s cabin is more than enough room for com­fort in the front seats, and even the rear seats were liv­able. There is, for in­stance, plenty of shoul­der room, some­thing that can be an is­sue in a com­pact car.

The in­stru­ment panel is easy to use and well laid out. I can’t say I liked the cen­ter con­sole lay­out, although prob­a­bly an­other week in the car would solve my er­gonomic prob­lems. Some things just seemed to be hard for me to find. I also wanted a big­ger touch­screen. The stan­dard 450-watt Di­men­sion Pre­mium Au­dio sys­tem uses eight speak­ers, in­clud­ing an eight-inch sub­woofer, ex­ter­nal am­pli­fier and iPod/USB/aux­il­iary in­put jacks.

I do like the Veloster’s de­sign. It’s dif­fi­cult to re­mem­ber it’s been on the mar­ket awhile. The in­te­rior is still edgy enough to fit the kind of buyer Hyundai is look­ing for. That buyer, by the way, is the afore­men­tioned twen­tysome­thing who has a good enough job to al­ready be think­ing of buy­ing a new car. One pre­sumes they aren’t liv­ing in their mother’s base­ment, as well.

Hyundai wants to get these peo­ple into the “fam­ily” of Hyundai buy­ers so they will work their way up the model lineup as they age and in­crease in pros­per­ity.

The brand now has a model for each stage of their life, and with the com­ing of the Ge­n­e­sis lux­ury brand (think Lexus/Toy­ota or Acura/Honda) Hyundai would be quite happy for that al­le­giance to last a life­time.

The Hyundai Veloster’s looks are a change from the stan­dard look for small Asian cars. Its hunched rear shoul­ders and an­gu­lar ag­gres­sive front end bring se­ri­ous ma­cho to the com­pact seg­ment.

The in­te­rior is still edgy enough to fit the kind of buyer Hyundai is look­ing for.

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