AT12MARIt has the practicality of a hatchback and the sporty looks of a coupe, depending (literally) on which way you look at it. With asymmetric doors – one on the driver’s side, two on the passenger’s – Hyundai is pitching the Veloster as a revolution of the coupe, though the more cynical amongst you might dismiss it as a rip-off of a similar concept touted by the MINI Clubman some years ago.

The funky styling details don’t stop at the doors: the wrap-around windscreen, panoramic sunroof and enclosed exhaust pipe detailing all give the air of an ultra-modern piece of design. The interior is similarly appointed, with sharply sculpted leather seats and a striking new dash architecture.

For now there is only one available engine: a 1.6-litre four cylinder, which is enough to get the Veloster from 0-60mph in 9.7 seconds (0r 10.3 with the optional dual-clutch automatic gearbox).

A more powerful turbocharged version is coming. With an expected power output of 200bhp, it will provide some new competition for the usual hot-hatch suspects, namely the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Vauxhall Astra GTC 1.6 Turbo.

Being a Hyundai, the standard equipment list is generous. Even base models get a seven-inch touchscreen for controlling the media centre, which includes MP3 and Bluetooth connectivity. Also included are rear parking sensors, climate control, heated door mirrors and automatic headlights.

It’s safe to have a bump in too, being rewarded five stars by Euro NCAP, and beating rivals from Volkswagen, Vauxhall and Citroen to a best-in-class safety score.

Hyundai has traditionally been a brand you’d buy with your head. The handsome new Veloster means satisfying your sensible side needn’t mean driving something boring.

12-plate wish list

Feb 01: Hyundai i40 Tourer
Feb 02: Audi A4
Feb 03: Ford Focus
Feb 06: Citroen DS4
Feb 07: Volkswagen up!
Feb 08: Vauxhall Astra GTC
Feb 09: Audi A1 Sportback
Feb 10: Renault Scenic
Feb 13: Subaru XV
Feb 14: Renault Twingo (video)
Feb 15: MINI Coupe
Feb 16: Nissan LEAF
Feb 17: MINI Coupe (video)
Feb 20: Hyundai i30
Feb 21: Chevrolet Camaro
Feb 22: Porsche 911 (video)
Feb 23: Kia Picanto
Feb 24: BMW 1-Series
Feb 27: Honda Civic
Feb 28: Hyundai Veloster