Back at the 2007 Seoul Motor Show, Hyundai somewhat quietly unveiled a slick little coupe concept dubbed Veloster. The chunky, funky two-door then proceeded to make the rounds that show season, including stateside debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Thanks in part to good feedback, there was considerable speculation in 2007 that the front-drive showcar was being considered for production as a possible Scion tC fighter. In the intervening years since those rumors surfaced, however, Hyundai has gone on to roll out both concept and production versions of the Genesis Coupe, a development that seemingly extinguishing the Veloster's star. But all is not so – we have just learned from well-placed sources within Hyundai that the coupe (also known as the HND-3) has been given the green light. Furthermore, the car will not only reach production, it will find its way into U.S. dealerships, likely as a 2011 or 2012 model.
We expect the Veloster to keep its front-drive, two-plus-two layout, and it would make sense for the car to generate less power than the more performance-oriented 2.0T Genesis Coupe – a car that has 210 horsepower and 223 pound-feet of torque. The Veloster showcar was powered by Hyundai's 2.0-liter inline-four, and the production car figures to do the same. For reference, the corporate powerplant makes 141 hp in the new Elantra Touring, although a few more ponies would likely find its way into the barn for the sportier Veloster. If the Korean automaker can keep the concept's tidy packaging (it's nearly 21 inches shorter than the Genesis Coupe), performance should still be quite sprightly while returning attractive fuel-economy figures.
Interestingly, this news may also help explain why Hyundai chose to pass over branding the Genesis Coupe as a Tiburon. The Veloster's production name has reportedly not yet been decided upon, and as the shark moniker still has some brand equity – and the model itself has always been configured as a front-drive and four-cylinder – it's possible that the name could live on with this new model.
With the Genesis Coupe, Hyundai appears to have given disenfranchised import performance enthusiasts something of a successor to now-legendary rear-drive performance cars like the Nissan 240SX (Silvia) and the Toyota Corolla GT-S (AE86). Could the Velostar be Korea's answer to a latter-day Honda CRX? Cross your fingers...