Funky, Fun and Practical
The name “Veloster” sounds like a blend of “velocity” and “roadster.” Unfortunately, the Veloster by Hyundai is neither fast nor a convertible. Despite a name that conjures up a different image in my mind, the Veloster is cool and downright unique – and that’s a breath of invigoration within a market of stale air.
Colouring outside the lines
Give the Veloster designers a kid’s colouring book, and I’m willing to bet they’re no better at staying inside the lines than I am in the dark after too much caffeine and not enough sleep. In my case, it’s complete dysfunction; in their case, it’s brilliance.
Although I appreciate the out-there design of the compact Veloster, I’m not a big fan of it, even if the sled looks better in the metal than on paper. Like the looks or not, Hyundai deserves recognition for breaking-away from convention, and for keeping the price of nonconformity remarkably conformable.
Lots of content and too many doors – or not enough?
Coupe purists may see three doors as one too many. Whatever. The third door is curbside, providing un-coupe-like access to the Veloster’s two-occupant rear seat.
From my perspective, the extra portal is very useful. Otherwise, it would be easier to climb through the neighbour’s dog door and strap their hyper collie to a kitchen chair than strap a kid or two into child seats in the rear of the Veloster.
The third door and rear seating that accommodates two average-sized adults gives the Veloster an edge over many of its competitors. The dazzling array of technology and content included as standard equipment further hones that edge.
In Canada, the Veloster’s base tag of $18,999 includes a 7-inch touchscreen multimedia interface with rearview camera, six-speaker AM/FM/XM CD/MP3 audio, Bluetooth hands-free phone connect, iPod/USB/auxiliary input, air conditioning, push-button start, heated front seats and more.
The base model also gets fog lamps, heated exterior mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels, rear wiper/washer and tinted glass. And let me say again: $18,999. The base MSRP brings with it the base transmission; but it’s a slick-shifting six-speed gearbox I couldn’t get enough of.
Toss in another $1,400 and Hyundai’s new six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is substituted for the manual mixer. I have yet to test Korea’s version of this German technology but I’ve heard only good about it so far.
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