Would this, could this be the new Hyundai Veloster? A little background is in order. Way back in 2007, we first saw the oddly named, smartly proportioned Veloster concept at the Seoul Auto Show. No one was quite sure what to make of the funky, chunky little front-wheel drive coupe. A Tiburon replacement? Something else entirely? Who knew? Then word came down that the Veloster was just a concept and that was seemingly the end of it.
Fast-forward two years to February of this year. Hyundai has successfully launched both the Genesis Coupe and sedan. Rumors begin circulating that the Veloster is anything but dead. Not only that, but Hyundai is claiming that it will arrive as a 2012 model in 2011. Fast forward a little more to earlier this month, and during the state of the company address at the new Tucson launch, affable president and CEO John Krafcik tells us that Hyundai is working a new 24/7 plan – seven new models in the next twenty-four months.
Rewind a bit (sorry) to July, 2009 and Krafcik told Inside Line that not only will the Veloster be coming to a dealer near you in 2011, but that the production car will look "70-80 percent" like the concept. More importantly, he advised that the new car can be thought of as a "four-passenger CRX," a car "you can take out and wring its neck and still get good mileage. Fun and economical, with a great power-to-weight ratio." We love the sound of that. And the more competition there is for Honda's upcoming CR-Z, the better.
All that said, while we're not sure where these shots were snapped, we're pretty sure that this is indeed the new sporty Hyundai. Power will probably come from a 2.0-liter version of Hyundai's new Theta II GDI (Gas Direct Injection) engine, though we doubt it will make 198 horses like the upcoming Sonata. But hey, maybe. More likely power will be in the 150-160 horse range. Also, let's not forget that the Theta II GDI will soon come with a turbo. Can you imagine? A pint-sized, two-door MazdaSpeed3 fighter from Hyundai? We shudder to think. As for the name Veloster, we hope they call it the Tiburon, too. Hat tip to Danny P!