Wednesday, July 10, 2013

First Drive: 2013 Hyundai Veloster

At the 2007 Seoul Auto Show, Kia revealed a concept car codenamed HND-3. The final production version was revealed at the Detroit Auto Show on January 11, 2011 and became the Hyundai Veloster. The Veloster went into production in 2011 and sales started in Korea on  The Veloster is a four-door hatchback/sports coupe with a front engine, front-wheel drive layout. The Veloster was released to the Korean market on March 10, 2011. Sales of the Veloster in the United States started in fall of 2011. I have seen the Veloster at various Houston car events and on the Houston Roads. I drove the Veloster Turbo at the 2013 Houston Auto Show, but that is not what I will be focusing on. During one Friday in May 2013, I decided to stop by the local Hyundai dealership and took a Veloster out for a test drive. The version I drove came with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with paddle shifters, which is a $1,250 option. The Veloster comes with a six-speed manual transmission as standard. The version I drove came with the standard package, but for an additional $2,000 dollars, you can get the style package. For another $2,000, you can get the tech package, which requires the purchase of the style package.

The Veloster is quite stylish. It has a sporty styling to it. What is unique about the Veloster is that it has a rear door on the passenger side. It has a coupe profile with a sloping rear that leads to the rear hatch. The Veloster comes with dual chrome tip exhaust outlets as standard. With the style package, you get a sunroof and fog lights at the bottom of the front bumper. But the version I drove came with the standard package and lacked the features. The Veloster comes with 17 inch wheels with optional wheel locks ($55). The interior was nothing special since I got the basic package. But the metallic interior accents do add a nice touch to the interior. The seat was slightly comfortable. It was not firm at all. I had good head room and leg room behind the wheel.

The Veloster is powered by a 1.6L I4 engine that produces 138 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque. It goes from 0 to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 118 mph. I felt that the Veloster suffered in the drive quality department. It felt like the Veloster took a while to get to 60 mph. The ride quality was decent. It was a little on the smooth side. But the Veloster is not that responsive. I had to really turn the wheel just for the Veloster to corner. With most cars I drive, the car will turn instantly in the direction I turn the steering wheel. With the Veloster, it felt like a delay from the time I turn the wheel to the time the car turned. At least it was quiet inside the Veloster during the test drive. Prices for the Veloster start at $18,395. With the included options of the six speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, wheel locks, carpeted floor mats, and the cargo tray, the price of the Veloster as tested is $$19,905. For a sports coupe, the price is reasonable.

The Hyundai Veloster is featured in Siti Hyunteo (City Hunter), Auto Esporte, Motorweek, and Robot & Frank. The Hyundai Veloster is playable in Veloster HD, Drift City, Car Town, and Car Town EX.

Overall, the Veloster is all style and no substance. Hyundai should have put more power into the base engine. 160 hp to 170 hp would be more ideal, especially in a sports coupe. The standard Veloster has 4 more hp than a Toyota Prius, and the Prius is designed to get very high gas mileage, not to be a sports coupe.Not to mention that the steering of the Veloster is not that responsive. At least with the Veloster, there is a turbocharged version that provides a much better driving experience. Now if you want a Veloster, go with the Veloster Turbo. That has style and substance. Pass on the standard Veloster. The standard Veloster fails to give a proper driving experience, something that is a must for all sports coupes.

Photo was taken by a camera phone.
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