The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.5
The Hyundai Veloster will probably sell (or repel) on looks alone. It’s a distinctive and quirky design and we applaud them for being so brave. There’s little to complain about inside, either. This is a quality product. However, the chassis and engine lack the enthusiasm and ultimate polish to recommend the Hyundai over the class-leading VW Scirocco.
Reasons to buy
- Design audacity
- Excellent interior design, quality and specification
- Good economy, strong aftersales package
At a glance
- How much equipment do I get? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How good does it look? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's the interior like? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How powerful is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How practical is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How reliable is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's it like to drive? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much will it cost me? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How safe is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- Why buy? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
How much equipment do I get?
As well as being just a bit cheaper than rivals the Veloster is also generously equipped. The base model gets 17-inch alloy wheels, that touchscreen system, Bluetooth connectivity, climate control, reversing sensors, LED daytime running lights… the list goes on. Sport models gain a full glass Panoramic roof (cutting headroom at the same time), leather, Keyless Go and 18-inch wheels. Either way you won’t be wanting for much more.
How good does it look?
Confident, unique, quirky, awkward, ugly, gimmicky… it’s pretty tough to pigeonhole the Hyundai Veloster. But that’s sort of the point. Some people will love its distinctive look and others will think it’s overstyled, trying too hard to be cool. Of course the main talking point is the ‘1+2’ door configuration. Hyundai would have you believe that having one door on the driver’s side, coupe-style, and two doors on the other creates a new concept that offers all of the practicality of a hatch combined with the style and dynamism of a selfish (and exciting) coupe. Sounds great, but you could equally argue that it gives neither the purity of a 3-door nor the usability of a hatchback. Overall we actually really like the Veloster’s crazy shape. It’s great to see Hyundai’s newfound confidence made tangible and should shake-up the establishment nicely.
What's the interior like?
Running headlong into competition with the Volkswagen Scirocco is a brave move and nowhere is the German coupe’s appeal more intimidating for its rivals than inside the cabin. It sets the standard with superb materials, fantastic design and a superb driving position. The Veloster can’t better it, but neither does it disgrace itself. Quality is top notch and it feels really special, you certainly know you’re in something intended to be fun and sporty. The seats are supportive, the steering wheel is small and feels great and the 7-inch touchscreen media centre works intuitively. Top job, Hyundai.
How powerful is it?
The Veloster is currently available with only one engine, a 1.6-litre GDI petrol with 138bhp and 123lb ft produced at 4850rpm. In other words, it’s not going to trouble your internal organs at full noise. Hyundai claim it’ll cover 0-60mph in 9.7-seconds (or 10.2sec with the smooth optional dual-clutch paddleshift gearbox) and hit 125mph. On the road the Veloster feels just about quick enough for its sporting pretensions, but you need to work the engine hard to make good progress. Fortunately it’s a light car at 1,236kg, otherwise it would be woefully off the pace of its rivals. Even with that admirably low kerbweight it’s no firecracker.
How practical is it?
The bad news is that the funky little rear door is better at making a style statement than actually allowing passengers in and out of the rear seats. Kids will be able to clamber in with no problems but adults tend to fall in, banging their head on the roof as they do so. Rear headroom is also pretty tight for anyone over about 5’ 10”. Having said that a tiny door is probably better than no door at all (getting into the back of a Scirocco or Vauxhall Astra GTC isn’t very elegant, either), the 320-litre boot is generous and up front it feels airy and snug all at the same time, a good trick.
How reliable is it?
The Veloster has a comprehensive 5-year warranty and Hyundai continues to make a strong showing in any and every reliability survey. In 2011 Which? magazine voted Hyundai ‘Best Manufacturer’ due to its strong reliability record, superb customer service and value for money. You won’t go far wrong here.
What's it like to drive?
Can the Veloster possibly feel as edgy and dynamic as its looks suggest? Sadly not. It rides well enough and feels light and responsive, but it lacks the sparkle that really defines a driver-centric coupe. If you’re just going to drive around town or care more about the look than the drive, that’s not a huge issue. But if you’re looking for a car that entertains on an empty road the Veloster doesn’t deliver – there’s not enough precision to the way it turns into a corner and not enough body control to make you feel fully in control. It feels like Hyundai played a little too safe with the chassis.
How much will it cost me?
The Veloster’s 1.6-litre engine might not provide real fireworks but it does deliver an excellent 43.5mpg combined (44.1mpg with the DCT ‘box). Go for the Blue Drive model, which has ISG (Intelligent Stop & Go) and low rolling resistance tyres and that figure leaps to 47.9mpg (and the VED band drops from F to E) – a terrific return for a petrol car with decent performance.
How safe is it?
Six airbags, ESP, ABS, Vehicle Stability management, Brake Assist and a five-star Euro NCAP rating. The Veloster does its best to stop you from crashing and looks after you if the worst should happen.
You love the looks and the interior and Hyundai’s pricing and equipment strategy back-up your emotional response with some real peace of mind. Just don’t expect seat-of-the-pants thrills or scintillating performance.