Vital Stats

Engine:
1.6L I4
Power:
138 HP / 123 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed DCT
0-60 Time:
8.5 Seconds (est.)
Top Speed:
124 MPH
Drivetrain:
Front-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
2,813 LBS
Seating:
2+2
Cargo:
34.7 CU FT (max)
MPG:
29 City / 38 HWY
And This Time, It's Personal



In order to understand this review of the 2012 Hyundai Veloster, you first need to understand a bit about me. I'm a mid-twenty-something urbanite. My closet is full of obscure band t-shirts, striped hooded sweatshirts and Converse. My black-framed glasses match my messy dyed black hair. I go to a lot of concerts starring bands you've never heard of, I drink Pabst Blue Ribbon at dive bars that I 'check in' to on Facebook. Every photo I take has an Instagram filter. My Twitter feed is one big sarcastic abyss.

I'll sheepishly admit to being sort of a hipster, only without the Arcade Fire shirt and stupid mustache.

More to the point, I look like I stepped right out of a commercial for the Hyundai Veloster. All of the smiling, energetic folks pictured in the brochure at the dealership? They could pass as my friends.

It's no secret that Hyundai's new hatch is aimed squarely at my demographic – the always-connected scenester who works hard and plays harder. But does this new Veloster adequately meet the demands of my lifestyle? Forget about the fact that I'm an enthusiast first and a consumer second. If I had to go out and buy a new car tomorrow, would the Hyundai dealership be my destination?
2012 Hyundai Veloster side view2012 Hyundai Veloster front view2012 Hyundai Veloster rear view

We're taught never to judge a book by its cover, but you can understand a lot about the Veloster just from its appearance: quirky, cool and not like anything else you'll get in the segment. Of course, all Veloster design dissections start with that trick third door – a neatly integrated, front-hinged rear door on the passenger side. Those with a trained eye will notice it straight away, but to my friends who had never heard of the Veloster, showing off that third door was always met with reactions of, "Woah, cool." Styling aside, the functional benefits are truly welcomed during grocery runs and when you need to throw an extra person or two in the back seats.

Would we like a fourth door on the driver's side? Probably. But then the Veloster wouldn't be as unique.

Would we like a fourth door on the driver's side? Probably. But then the Veloster wouldn't be as unique – it'd be just another five-door hatch. That's not what Hyundai wanted, as evidenced by the fact that the automaker continues to maintain it has no plans to offer a proper five-door variant in the U.S.

Behind that third door is a two-seat bench that'll easily house average-sized passengers, though taller folks will feel cramped. Ingress is a bit of a tough spot, as you'll need to duck while sliding in, but once inside, it's comfy. Even so, it's so much easier than doing the front seat shuffle in any other three-door hatchback and laughing as your friends clumsily stumble into the car's hind quarters. There isn't a ton of headroom up front, either, but the big issue here is side visibility. That high-riding, upward-sloping beltline causes a big ol' blind spot over your shoulder.

2012 Hyundai Veloster interior2012 Hyundai Veloster front seats2012 Hyundai Veloster rear seats2012 Hyundai Veloster rear cargo area

The Veloster comes nicely equipped and looks sharp even in its base trim, but if you have the dough, tick the $2,000 Style Package box that adds things like larger 18-inch wheels, a chrome grille surround, fog lights and a panoramic sunroof. The cool thing about that roof is that the glass stretches all the way back to meet the rear hatch and gives the Veloster a streamlined look, especially when contrasted by the Century White paint of our tester. That Style Package has some interior benefits, too, including leatherette trim on the seat bolsters and door inserts, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, piano black interior accents and, of course, alloy pedals. If you're really feeling spendy, an extra $2,000 will get you the Technology Package that gets you a different style of 18-inch rollers (as seen on our test car), rear backup sensors, a navigation system and automatic headlamps.

While driving a manual-equipped Veloster, I managed to turn off the engine at a stoplight while shifting into first gear.

Even without the upgrades, the interior of the Veloster is a sweet place to be. The seats are comfortable and nicely bolstered, and most of the buttons and knobs are simply laid out. We say "most of" only because the one issue is the engine start/stop button – it's located right at the bottom of the center stack, which is the last place you naturally think to look. Even more annoyingly, while driving a Veloster equipped with a manual transmission, I managed to turn off the engine at a stoplight while shifting into first gear with my hand loosely resting on the top of the shift knob.

All Velosters are treated to a wealth of standard equipment, including a colorful seven-inch LCD touchscreen mounted at the top of the center stack. All come with Hyundai's new BlueLink telematics system (think of it as OnStar for Hyundais), and opting for the Style or Tech packages will get you an upgraded stereo system with features like satellite radio and even Pandora. Don't even get me started on the other features of BlueLink, including the ability to check your efficiency versus other Veloster drivers and turn-by-turn directions. Instead, just know this: Your iPhone will be very, very jealous.

2012 Hyundai Veloster steering wheel controls2012 Hyundai Veloster gauges2012 Hyundai Veloster multimedia system display2012 Hyundai Veloster shifter

Before I talk about the powertrain, let's address the issue of the Veloster being underpowered. Read any other review of this car and you'll no doubt scan endless lines of text whining about how it could benefit from an additional 25 horsepower or some more low-end grunt. We won't argue that, but if performance is your thing, come back to the Hyundai dealer later this year when the 201-horsepower Turbo model goes on sale. You want a Veloster with proper enthusiast chops? The Turbo looks to be a willing partner.

The standard car uses Hyundai's 1.6-liter direct-injected inline-four – the same engine found in the Accent – good for 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. That's adequate grunt for a car that only weighs 2,584 pounds (or 2,813 pounds all loaded up), and with either transmission – a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch unit like our test car – you can keep the engine revving high to make the most of the powerband. Of course, you won't net the EPA's 40 mile-per-gallon highway rating (38 mpg with the dual-clutch gearbox) if you keep the needle above 3,500 rpm, but if fuel economy isn't your big worry, the Veloster can be an entertaining little runabout. I only managed 34 mpg during my week-long test, but chalk that up to a heavy right foot and a want to drive this thing enthusiastically.

2012 Hyundai Veloster

Right off the line, the Veloster is a bit sluggish – 0-60 estimates are in the high eight-second range – but the engine quickly revs high and you'll be scooting along just fine. Hyundai's EcoShift dual-clutch box is smooth and fires off crisp shifts, though we wish the response from the steering wheel-mounted paddles was a tick quicker. That, and the plastic paddles feel decidedly flimsy during finger flicking. Leave it in D and the transmission has a tendency to jump around between gears, but for the most part, it's smooth sailing.

Initially, I was worried that the Veloster's 18-inch Kumho Solus KH25 all-season tires and stiff-ish suspension would make for a harsh ride on the [insert synonym for "post-apocalyptic"] roads in and around Detroit, but the Hyundai is adequately smooth and stable, though a tad crashy on particularly bad stretches of pavement. The Veloster's electronic steering rack certainly isn't the best in the biz, but it's nicely weighted and makes the lightweight Veloster tossable in the city. It won't inspire lots of go-kart confidence like a Mini Cooper or even a Honda Fit, but it's enough to make the Veloster feel enthusiastic and engaging, especially when there isn't a ton of power on tap to play with.

2012 Hyundai Veloster headlight2012 Hyundai Veloster fog light2012 Hyundai Veloster wheel2012 Hyundai Veloster taillight

Normal front-wheel-drive characteristics like understeer and torque steer aren't apparent in the Veloster (you'd need substantially more torque to make that last one a possibility). Of course, if you push it really hard, the Hyundai will plow while entering a corner, but for 95 percent of driving, you'll never notice. But here's hoping that the front suspension has been upgraded on the Turbo model to handle the additional force from the more powerful engine.

Perhaps the biggest win for the Veloster is its price point: $18,075 (including $775 for delivery) will get you a solid package with plenty of standard kit. Add the dual-clutch 'box ($1,250), tech package ($2,000) and style package ($2,000), and you'll be at $23,325 all-in. Hyundai has long been known for offering tremendous value on its cars, and the Veloster is no different. For comparison, option a heavier (and slower), less-efficient (though a hybrid), less-functional Honda CR-Z to its top end and you're spending $1,000 more.

2012 Hyundai Veloster rear 3/4 view

But for a mid-twenty-something, $23,325 is still a lot of coin. That'll get you a host of nicely equipped C-segment cars, many of which offer more interior space, more power and, in some cases, more efficiency (hat tip, Cruze Eco). What makes the Veloster stand out is its unique styling, incredible levels of standard equipment thanks to BlueLink, and the fact that it's more interesting than the majority of other econoboxes. Of course, Hyundai's excellent ten-year/100,000-mile warranty is a big win, too.

As I watched the Veloster leave my parking lot at the end of the week, I found myself ogling the design one last time. And with every three-door hatch I've driven since, I commonly think to myself, "This would be awesome with an additional door." The fact that all of my friends rallied around the Veloster speaks volumes, too. They all wanted to get in and check it out. If Hyundai markets this thing correctly, it could do for younger buyers what the original xB (a car I owned at one point – surprise, surprise) did for Scion and Toyota.

So do I want one? Only if I can claim I liked it before everyone else. Just make mine the Turbo.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 234 Comments
      Basil Exposition
      • 2 Years Ago
      You have to be kidding with these photos. The first thing everyone reading wants to see is a side-by-side comparison of driver and passenger side profiles and you don't include a single driver side profile? Come on.
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Quite a polarizing car.
      Mike Hunt
      • 2 Years Ago
      Looking for some feedback here. How does that brush silver interior accent trim everywhere inside the car hold up to use? You know, by the console, steering wheel controls and the door handles. The dealerships here think I'm nuts when I express concern about that crap getting scratched up even by simple rings, keys or one interaction with the family pet to the beach. Any comments would be welcomed. I don't to purchase something I'm going to feel like I'm walking on eggs to maintain in tip top looking shape. THANKS!!!!
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mike Hunt
        [blocked]
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        ryan
        • 2 Years Ago
        Troll master here to take his crown back.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ryan
          [blocked]
        Quen47
        • 2 Years Ago
        i am not a Hyundai shill, but I really dig the way this car looks
        David
        • 2 Years Ago
        Great job indeed. Numbers and awards speak for them selves. You pretty much missed pretty much everything... Below are your unfounded statements vs facts. SIX HYUNDAI MODELS EARN 2012 IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK HONORS Kelly Blue book - Hyundai earns TOP customer loyalty among all brands Hyundai named “One of the World’s Top Global Green Brands" by Interbrand. Veloster - Autobytel names Hyundai Veloster its 2012 Car of the Year. Veloster - The 2012 Veloster earned a GOOD DESIGN™ Award Veloster - Veloster named one of About.com’s Best New Cars of 2012. Veloster - “Best Economy Car” in Bloomberg News’ Best Drives of 2011 Veloster - AUTO STYLE AWARD by eCityofStyle.com Elantra - North American car of the year Elantra - Candian Car of the year Elantra - ALG Top residual value award Elantra - Polk’s automotive loyalty award for the compact car segment Genesis - North American car of the year 2009 Genesis - Received award from JD Power and associates for most dependable car 2012 Accent/Veloster 1.6L - 2011 - Wards best 10 engine award Genesis/Eqqus 5.0L - 2011 - Wards best 10 egnein award Tucson - Bluebooks top 10 resale value car Sonata - leads mid-size car segment in Strategic Vision’s 2011 Total Quality Index Sonata - ICOTY, "International car of the year" List goes on and too long to list all... http://www.hyundaiusa.com/research-tools/reviews-awards.aspx
          David
          • 2 Years Ago
          @David
          Oh and I forgot to mention that every single Hyundai cars in consumers reports are best buy. They don't weight heavily on driving dynamics vs reliability. Regardless having all models on best buy speaks for it self.
        Elmo
        • 2 Years Ago
        You just accused Ryan of logging onto another name, when it's you who's been doing that for the past 6 months, Mr. Fried_Troll. Actually, you JUST did it. That's EXACTLY why you have 5 upvotes and Ryan has 3 downvotes. Because you logged into your other accounts and downvoted him and upvoted yourself with every one of them. That's the only way you could get them because with the above comments, nobody agrees with you.
        Mobis21
        • 2 Years Ago
        Great job rant master you sound just like all the other mouth breathing haters.
        Brian Rokosz
        • 2 Years Ago
        the fact that more people rebuy a Hyundai than any other car...and Hyundai now holds more reliability awards than anyone else...for the class/demographic it isn't slow (wait for the turbo if thats something you care about), ugly is not a fact, it's an opinion and according to buyers, you're wrong...the hp isn't bloated, its the same as the Accent and Rio's engine...the gas mileage figures, if anything, are less than what is being reported on blogs and forums thanks to Hyundai's "active-ECO" button...he even said he had a lead foot...so no you didn't miss anything, you nailed every single braindead comment there is...ur name fits.
      Justin Campanale
      • 2 Years Ago
      These comments are really getting out of hand. Mitctchell Herman ____I____ Butterfly M invisibleblog Austin none your are done Jaybird36 Spies1 81 Twitter inch5 They're all the same person. They go out of their way to troll every Hyundai post possible, and from their comments it seems that they work for Honda. They downvote anyone who dares to disagree with them PLEASE do something about these people, AB. They have turned AB's comment system into a wasteland.
        ryan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        They can’t all be the same but ___I____ and comments around him are kind of suspicious.
          NightFlight
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ryan
          They are the same person. Check all of the Hyundai articles, they are all the EXACT same comments.
        Elmo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        There's also Rant Master aka Fried_Troll aka Austin (which you already pointed out). The Austin name has been caught many times agreeing with Rant Master. Oh and DRStrangeLove aka vwfailsagain aka over9000. ANDDDD lamazing aka caddy-v aka TOYOTA RECALLS.
          Justin Campanale
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          I don't quite think Rant Master is Fried_Rice aka colombianricer. Fried_Rice was apparently a fan of the Veloster. When the Veloster came out, he said "Now there is absoluely NO excuse for Euroshit like the Mini or Fiat 500" He also appears to be a Mercedes fanboy and accuses me of being a "Mercedes hater" and "BMW fanboy" when I give a Mercedes prouct constructive criticism,. Austin isn't Fried_Rice or Rant Master either. Fried_Rice only liked Asian cars. It's not clear what exactly Rant Master likes. He appears to be an Asian (mostly Honda and Subaru) fan sometimes, but then he starts praising Mercedes and ranting about how unreliable his Mitsubishi was. Austin appears to agree with Rant Master often since they are both Honda fanboys, but Austin aka all the names I listed in my original comment (with the addition of Wrangler Unlimited) appears to like Honda, and hate anything else. I've seen Rant Master praise Mercedes on several occasions. But you are right about vwfailsagain, mexicanjetta, PoweredByLolz, drstrangelove, over9000, and probably JohnEnzo being the same person. lamazing is probably the same person as kontroll, carfan, and stickshiftn69, but doesn't appear to be related to CaddyV or TOYOTA RECALL (without the S). TOYOTA RECALL is probably the same person as WAR HERO, Buy American Made! (both of which were banned a while back), and probably Mike (the one who spams the same comment on several threads , "Before buying a car from a foreign company"...)
      A M
      • 2 Years Ago
      The perfect hipster car. Phony bs with a generic Hyundai underneath. Awesome.
        navypond
        • 2 Years Ago
        @A M
        Wow, Veloster has the 'Ward's 10 Best Engine Award' winning engine & in house engineered dual clutch trans(how many manufacturers can do that?), & the lastest chassis engineering technology making the car one of the lightest while getting leading fuel economy & safety levels. And you judge Hyundai based on cars that they used to make more than 10 years ago??? Amusing.
        navypond
        • 2 Years Ago
        @A M
        Wow, Veloster has the 'Ward's 10 Best Engine Award' winning engine & in house engineered dual clutch trans(how many manufacturers can do that?), & the lastest chassis & steel alloy(also in house) engineering technology making the car one of the lightest while getting leading fuel economy & leading safety levels... And you judge Hyundai based on cars that they used to make more than 10 years ago??? Amusing.
      Herman
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why on earth would ANYONE buy this ugly slow car? So many better options. Scion tC Mazda 3 CR-Z Imprezza Civic Coupe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Herman
        [blocked]
        Shiftright
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Herman
        I'm not a fan either, but it's good to have options, and we all have different tastes.
        ilmhmtu
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Herman
        To each their own. Right now, I'm thinking about the Veloster Turbo, CX-5, Impreza 5-door, and Kia Soul. There are reservations about all of them, as well as some you mentioned above. Scion TC I feel is overpriced and doesn't have as good of gas mileage. Mazda 3 is great to drive, but I'm not a fan of the front facia or the color choices. CR-Z seems pricy for what you get, and I want more utility. Civic Coupe seems to be dated to me. To each their own.
      Herman
      • 2 Years Ago
      Motortrend gets it right. The Hyundai's fourth-place finish is due entirely to its failure to deliver. The bulging fenders, fast roof, and rubber band tires promise a sporty ride, but it isn't there. Instead, the Veloster rides harder than you'd expect with no discernable payback in handling. It's not eager to turn in, and when it does, it feels like the front end is all rubber. The car pitches and bounces and can't hold an arc through a turn. Add to that a lethargic engine and you've got the recipe for basic transportation, not a sports car. Despite having the third-highest horsepower rating, the Veloster was achingly slow in nearly all circumstances. The engine is slow to rev and then you're disappointed because there's not much more power up there. Top-gear acceleration is nonexistent, so you'll be working the shifter quite a bit, and the square knob will give you bad visions of 1980s Mustangs. The real letdown, though, was the fuel economy, as the Veloster was the only car in the test whose observed fuel economy was lower than its EPA city rating.
        suthrn2nr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Herman
        I loved this review, how it exposes that Hyundai is nothing but a paper-spec pusher, especially the MPG, they were even below their city rating, while everyone else was much more accurate! And for those that say "well, i get 40mpg on the HWY", what do you get in the city? and what do you get combined? Dont simply quote your dash either, Hyundai inflates the computer estimates as well. Check Fuelly.com for yourselves. ANY car can get high HWY mpg, but high combined MPG is truly advanced.
        desinerd1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Herman
        Honda just lost a court case in California where customers were getting 10mpg less than Honda's claims. Remember that?
      Justin Campanale
      • 2 Years Ago
      I simply don't get why everyone is hating on this car. No, this car isn't about pure speed. If you want performance, and nothing else, get a WRX or a Mustang. This car isn't about performance. It's also about great fuel economy, practicality, and driving dynamics. It's the new CR-X that we never had.
        AlphaGnome
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        "This car isn't about performance. It's also about great fuel economy, practicality, and driving dynamics." ... Except that's exactly how Hyundai is trying to sell this car... Yet it isn't accomplishing any of the above. The CR-X we never had, this most certainly isn't.
          QCRamAir
          • 2 Years Ago
          @AlphaGnome
          That's just it about Hyundai: Their economy cars hardly deliver on economy (compared to their EPA numbers and competitors), and their performance cars hardly deliver on performance. Hyundai has "cried wolf" too many times already in the past couple years, only to be discovered as being full of sh*t. Their MPG numbers are exaggerated, and their HP numbers don't perform as a typical car with their lbs/HP should. When they advertise a car and tout its numbers, not only can I not get excited about it anymore, but I can't even believe them anymore.
      BipDBo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hyundai, please either ditch this overweight, overpriced, uglified Accent or price it where it should be. If you want to be taken seriously asking prices in the ballpark of the WRX, you're going to have to do much better. How about you start with the turbo Elantra and give it AWD and IRS.
        JeremyABG
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        Starting prices for the Veloster and WRX aren't very close, and that remains the same as you add options.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        jtav2002
        • 2 Years Ago
        Main issue for me is the CR-Z is ugly(granted, only my opinion) And for being a hybrid, doesn't get very good fuel economy. They tried to make CR-Z into a car that does more than one thing, and it doesn't do either of them exceptionally IMO. They should have left it with a normal motor and not made it a hybrid. It's like it's geared for someone who just wants to say they have a hybrid, when there are more efficient non-hybrids out there.
          A_Guy
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jtav2002
          The truth is that it is a very niche car. It doesn't get 50 mpg but it averages better than any non-hybrid out there. It's not incredibly fast, but it's peppy when in sport mode, especially if you have full battery for some 'boost'. It handles and shifts like a sporty Honda, something Hyundai simply can't say about the Veloster. Plus, if you drive it like you stole it, you'll still average somewhere in the 30s mpg. Not for everyone but pretty close to exactly what I wanted.
          suthrn2nr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jtav2002
          except that CR-Z gets 25% higher average MPG (sample of 200 drivers on Fuelly) than veloster or elantra (sample of 28 and 190 cars), AND Motor Trend rated the CR-Z as more fun to drive and more pep/handling than Veloster in their comparison. So it seems like the CR-Z is doing what more of what it intended than spec reviewers give it credit for.
        • 2 Years Ago
        [blocked]
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
        • 2 Years Ago
        [blocked]
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
    • Load More Comments