2012 Hyundai Veloster

The Good:
– Head-turning exterior
– Cabin features and tech
– Ride and handling
The Bad:
– Too weird for many
– Too slow for most
– Too much cabin hard-plastics

Hyundai has gone from being the brand-that-copies-everyone-else to the brand-that-everyone-else-copies. Such has been the design transformation of the fast-growing Korean carmaker’s cars. Yet, Hyundai feels compelled to push the limits of originality even further. So they’ve dropped a nuke right in the heart of the affordable segment with what they call the Veloster.

The Veloster is a compact hatchback, short in length but surprisingly wide and low, giving it a sporting profile, aided by details such as that funky snout and the two-piece rear tailgate glass that extends to the panoramic glass roof. However, its real claim to fame is its doors. For whatever reason, it has one long door on the driver’s side and two proper-opening doors on the passenger side.

Inside, the interior continues the exterior’s cacophonic design, and we liked it, with its protruding gauges, central touchscreen with a starter button below, and free-standing door handles. While most of the cabin is hard-plastic, there is a surprisingly-generous amount of padded trim on the front doors and centre-console, while rear passengers get only padded armrests. Everything is tightly screwed together, with no big Chevrolet-style panel gaps ruining the flow. But the way the free-standing plastic door handles are designed, they creak everytime you pull or lean on them.

Cabin space up front is great, if a little tight near the knees. The leatherette-upholstered front seats are well-bolstered, as if ready for track action. The rear offers decent legroom too, but there isn’t enough headroom for tall people, with their heads right under the glass, and access to the back is hampered by the small rear-door opening. Boot space is okay for a car this size, with a cargo net and folding rear seats, but the high sill reduces practicality a bit. There’s no shortage of cup-holders inside the cabin though. In fact, the rear cup-holders take up the middle passenger’s space in the back.

For the price, the amount of gadgetry is great. Aside from the basic power functions, smart keyless entry and start, halogen headlights with LED dressing, front and side airbags, working Bluetooth phone, cruise control, a decent CD/MP3 stereo AUX/USB ports, power driver’s seat and a good single-zone auto a/c, there’s a straightforward touchscreen computer that incorporates stereo settings, trip computer and even a game that lets you beat your own high-score by driving as economically as possible!

And that game pretty much sums up what you can expect from the engine. Powered by a 1.6-litre 4-cylinder, good for 128 hp at 6300 rpm and 157 Nm of torque at 4850 rpm, it is expected to move 1256 kilos with the help of a 6-speed automatic. So our as-tested 0-100 kph time of 11 seconds was totally expected during our August run. The engine is capable of big economy numbers, but we found ourselves revving it hard most of the time in search of power, resulting in the unremarkable 11.6 litres/100 km consumption figure. Play that efficiency video-game and you’ll likely do a lot better.

The front-wheel-drive Veloster is boring in a straight line, with an uninspiring engine note and an automatic that likes to sit in the higher gears, but in the corners, it becomes rather interesting. While the mildly-weighted steering offers little feedback, it is sharp enough to direct the agile chassis in the corners. The 215/40 tyres on the colour-coded 18-inch alloys offer decent grip, but only up to a point, as it is easy to reach the linearly-understeering limit. Body roll is fairly minimal and the brakes are fairly adequate. Even with the torsion-bar rear suspension, this car could’ve passed for a junior hot hatch if it weren’t for the lack of power and a useless “manual” mode that still shifts gears by itself.

The not-so-little hatchback is a comfortable daily-driver though, with a slightly-firm but largely-smooth ride, moderate wind noise that only creeps in at 120 kph, and an easy-to-park size aided by parking sensors and even a rear camera.

The Veloster is obviously designed to be controversial, and so it’s never going to appeal to everyone. While it is easy to mistake it for a sports car, it seems Hyundai had other ideas in mind, pitching it as more of a hybrid-alternative. Push it, and it’s fun to an extent, but it prefers you to take it easy and save the planet.

Price Range:
Dh 75,000-80,000

Current Model Introduced in:
2012

Body Styles:
4-door hatchback

Engines:
1.6L 128 hp Inline-4 / 157 Nm

Transmissions:
6-speed automatic

Setup:
Front-wheel-drive

Suspension:
Front: independent
Rear: semi-independent

Brakes:
Front: discs
Rear: discs

Curb Weight:
1256 kg

Length:
4219 mm

Wheelbase:
2649 mm

Top Speed:
195 kph

Test Acceleration 0-100 kph:
11.0 sec.

Observed Test Fuel Economy:
11.6 litres/100km

20 comments to 2012 Hyundai Veloster

  • Imran

    always out of stock

  • Imad

    I always wonder if the people know that they’re basically driving an fancier Accent.

  • Marwan

    exellent review…..11 sec from 0-100 is really too much it was tested by Motortrend & C&D i guess it recorded 9.5 but that was 0-96(60 miles) and the difference of weather maybe? plus as u always say Mash the test cars they provide are slightly tuned so probably what we get here is the 11 sec one..too low for such brililiant car unfortunately!

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury

      This was hard enough to get. It was actually doing 12 seconds on most of the runs. And the U.S. gets a different engine.

    • Shibu Daniel

      I think we also get the direct-injection engine in the veloster.

    • Joe

      US version comes with the GDI version of the engine which pumps 10 more hp and a bit more torque, not to mention they correct their 0-60 numbers for weather, that means if they got 0-60 time of 10 second in a 40C weather then will correct it using a certain protocol to like 9-9.5 seconds. Also for a 10 seconds car their is about 0.5 seconds difference between 0-60 (0-97KPH) and 0-62 (0-100KPH) times.

  • Shibu Daniel

    Did I mention that it almost broke my back when I tried to get into the back seat in the hyundai showroom ?? Other than that this thing is just fantastic just because its different and can turn heads either in admiration or despise.

  • VANS

    This car is really slow! I have a plan to buy one, but when I tested it, I actually ended up buying Mazda 2 which is faster and has better fuel economy. Veloster is ridiculously slow. I’m so disappointed with it’s performance.

  • ROJ

    I would sacrifice the flashy looks and funky gadgetry for a better engine and more capable chassis..

    Compared to the older tiburon it lacks an identity, rather more of a good handling car to haul groceries with…

    People looking for grocery haulers will take an accent..
    People looking for a sports car would take a Tiburon..
    This Veloster stands in between which confuses both tastes..

  • Marwan

    i believe that this car with its equipment and looks qualify as a fancy and fun alternative of the main stream japanese hatches like tida yaris mazda 2. it does not need a turbo that will increase the price too much, it just in my opinion needs a 150 hp engine with 0-100 in 8 sec to qualify as an economic well equiped fun car

  • shiz

    Im at the bottom of the waiting list for this car.

  • T.N.G

    mine already came :)

    • Hussain

      I have read the pros and cons but since you already have it, how is it? How does it feel? How is the fuel consumption? I know leg room behind is little but it suffices I guess. Are there anything you do not like about the car?

      Thanks T.N.G

  • MAZ

    Genesis coupe looks 100 times better with an incredible feel to it. Velostar looks like a stuffed tortoise with a fat body – honest.

  • Sami

    will recieve it after few days :p .

  • Ehsan

    How much is the installment per month for this?

  • Adil Ilyas

    Looks amazing.. What interior colors you guys have. I’m thinking on getting a Green Exterior with Red Leather Interior

  • T.N.G

    @ Hussain
    well i got Yellow with red interior , so it get lot of attention :)
    im 5.5 so rear leg room up to 6ft guy can fit easily , if your taller then your head will bump on the roof
    to be honest the fuel consumption not good as they advertise ells where in the world, but better than some cars i have driven , if you can always maintain speed 90-110 you will get 5 to 6.5 per Km reading in trip computer , that im not counting as accurate :)
    im driving it for 2 months now every day from Daira to Jebel Ali , it handle good and have sum punch (not sporty as looks) , nothing to complain for me its good value for the money you pay compared to other full option cars

  • azq

    Green with red?…..thats a first! !!!

  • Danish Mohsin

    I want to know one thing about veloster. this car is comfortable for long drive.

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