2012 Hyundai Veloster
|2012 Hyundai Veloster|
|2012 Hyundai Veloster|
We've kept a diligent eye on the Veloster since it first appeared at the 2007 Los Angeles show, back when it was just a wide-eyed concept from a then-marginal brand not yet known for turning out compelling vehicles. A little more than three years later, with the automaker enjoying white-hot brand visibility and record sales here in the U.S., Hyundai has decided the Veloster's time is now.
Unlike the Tiburon, the Veloster doesn't fit the classic definition of a coupe, despite Hyundai's marketing spin. Though it has a coupe-like outline, the Veloster is a hatchback. In addition, there's a forward-hinged third door on the passenger side of the vehicle with a recessed handle for a smooth, clean look.
Hyundai drew inspiration from sportbikes for the Veloster's body. The A-pillars are blacked out and elements of Hyundai's "Fluidic Sculpture" design language are manifested throughout the sheetmetal. Up front, the brand's trademark hexagonal grille complements the gaping mouth, with wraparound headlights and sculpted air inlets massaged into the fascia's edges. It's no roadster, but the optional panoramic sunroof will let in the elements.
2012 Hyundai Veloster Front Three Quarters
Like most high-performance sportbikes, the Veloster comes with 17-inch rims standard, with 18-inchers available. Hyundai will also offer a special 18-inch alloy wheel with painted inserts, a feature the automaker is billing as a segment first. Whatever the wheel dimensions, they'll work in concert with a MacPherson strut front and torsion-beam rear suspension with an integrated anti-roll bar.
To really connect with the youth of America, Hyundai is giving every Veloster a multifunction, 7-inch touch-screen display (navigation optional). Blue Link, the automaker's newly announced in-car telematics/connectivity system, will be heavily promoted. Two sound systems will be on the order list: a 196-watt, six-speaker getup with iPod/USB/auxiliary inputs, and the optional 450-watt, eight-speaker system with 8-inch subwoofer and external amplifier. Video game enthusiasts will delight in the integrated RCA jack and 115-volt power outlet, though they'd better steer clear of any split-screen action.
Hyundai is especially proud of the Veloster's interior volume. At 105.3 total cubic feet, including passenger and cargo space, it bests the Honda CR-Z and both the Mini Cooper and Clubman. Headroom, legroom, and shoulder room within the four-seater's confines were all maximized, because as Hyundai is well aware, most coupes and hatchbacks are panned for having cramped cabins.
The concept housed a Theta 2.0-liter four-cylinder as the engine placeholder, but the production model will brandish a version of Hyundai's new Gamma 1.6-liter inline-four. The Gamma employs a highly pressurized fuel delivery system and dual continuously variable valve timing to help deliver an estimated 30 city and 40 highway mpg - besting the CR-Z's hybrid-boosted numbers on the highway. Maximum power output is pegged at 138 horsepower at 6300 rpm and 123 pound-feet of torque at 4850 rpm.
Like the old Tiburon, a true manual transmission is available for the three-pedal faithful. For those unable or unwilling to manually swap the six forward cogs, the Veloster is equipped with the automaker's all-new, in-house-developed six-speed dual-clutch automatic. As with similar setups, one clutch is responsible for the odd-numbered gears, the other for the even-numbered ratios (and reverse). To reduce parasitic driveline loss, the auto uses electric motors to actuate the gear changes. Hyundai says its dual-clutcher yields a 5- to 6-percent fuel efficiency improvement and 3- to 7-percent gain in acceleration over a conventional auto.
An Active Eco mode, selectable by the driver, will alter engine and transmission settings to achieve a 7-percent increase in real-world fuel economy.
2012 Hyundai Veloster Rear Three Quarters
For those hoping the Veloster has a little more oomph under the hood, help may already be on the horizon for the unreleased hatchback. Hyundai's Curb concept, also shown at the Detroit show, found extra motivation by way of a turbocharger, and the same Gamma 1.6-liter gets a healthy bump to 175 horsepower and 169 pound-feet of torque. Not astronomical by any means, but given the Veloster's relatively svelte curb weight (it tops out at roughly 2700 pounds), we're guessing a turbocharged version would amp up the car's sport quotient.
Hyundai's target market for the Veloster is Gen Y, although whether those 20-somethings will regard it as a legitimate contender remains to be seen. And there's little doubt the Veloster's sheetmetal will draw more than its share of critics (see the comments section below). Of course, we'll reserve judgment until we can drive and test it, but one thing's for sure -- Hyundai's relentless drive to re-invent itself is showing no signs of slowing down.
|2012 Hyundai Veloster|