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2017 Hyundai Veloster Overview
Introduced in 2011, the Hyundai Veloster is not unlike the Nissan Juke—it’s a quirky, distinctive automobile that defies categorization and has no direct competitors. Part hatchback and part coupe, its most notable feature is perhaps its asymmetrical door design, with one large door on the driver’s side and two smaller ones on the passenger side. Even several years after its debut, the Veloster looks like nothing else on the road, and the only changes for 2017 are the addition of HD Radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Both standard and performance-oriented turbocharged variants are available, with pricing starting at just under 20 grand.
Powering the Veloster is the engine also used in the Accent and the Elantra—a rather conventional 1.6-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) engine that makes 138 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque. That isn’t much for a 2,600-pound car, and acceleration is poor until rather high up in the rev range. Serious drivers will probably want to spring for the 1.6-liter turbo 4-cylinder with an output of 201 hp and 195 lb-ft. The Veloster comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission, but a 6-speed EcoShift dual-clutch paddle-shifted transmission is available with the I4, and a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission is an option with the turbo. The Veloster gets fuel-economy numbers of 27 mpg city, 34 highway, and 30 combined with the I4 and manual transmission; 28, 35, and 31 with the I4 and dual-clutch transmission; 25, 33, and 28 with the turbo and manual transmission; and 26, 32, and 29 with the turbo and dual-clutch transmission.
Underneath, the Veloster is based on the last-generation Elantra, and its suspension settings are mostly that of an economy car, although the Veloster reportedly corners flat and turns in sharply. The steering is electronically power assisted, and critics have commented on the system’s lack of feedback. True driving fans will appreciate the turbocharged version’s tighter suspension.
The Veloster’s interior is spacious up front, with numerous nooks and bins for storing small items. The back seat, however, is a different story. The rear door on the passenger side suggests plenty of interior room, but that isn’t the case. Rear entry and exit is also difficult. Perhaps if the back door had been rear hinged like the one on the old Mazda RX-8, getting in and out would be easier. The rear hatch is also rather short, and the storage area is fairly deep, which requires most items to be lifted out of the back, as with a sedan. This almost defeats the purpose of a hatchback, although the Veloster does have the ample storage space of a hatch.
For 2017, Hyundai has added Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and HD Radio to the Veloster’s standard touchscreen infotainment system. The interior comes outfitted with Bluetooth streaming, a USB port, a reversing camera, cruise control, and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. Options include a 115-volt power outlet, a panoramic sunroof, automatic climate control, and a navigation system. The Hyundai Blue Link Connected Care service is also available, which is similar to GM’s OnStar system with its enhanced safety features, emergency crash notification, roadside assistance, and maintenance alerts.
The Veloster hasn’t performed well in crash testing—the 2016 model earned a Marginal score on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) small front-overlap test and an Acceptable score for side-impact protection, although it received Good marks in all other areas. However, the 2017 model got a 5-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). The Veloster makes up for these inconsistencies with ample safety features including a rear-view camera, a driver’s side blind-spot mirror, and optional parking sensors. These are certainly welcome, since the car’s rear visibility is hampered by large pillars and an almost comically small rear window. The Veloster isn’t a home run on any front, but it’s a solid all-rounder for the price and a tempting choice for people who want something a bit different from the typical $20,000 options.
Andrew Newton first got into cars through vintage racing a Formula Vee. After receiving history degrees, he followed his passion for cars and became a contributor for sites like Sports Car Digest, BoldRide.com and JamesEdition.com in addition to serving as Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA. Andrew currently covers the collector car market full time as Auction Editor for Hagerty Classic Car Insurance.
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