What Is It?
  • Image Credit: Autoblog

What Is It?

Judging by sales and critical reviews of the company's models, it's fair to say that Hyundai is a brand on fire.

The 2012 Veloster is one more sign of Hyundai's recent success. It joins Hyundai's other swift sellers: Sonata, Elantra, Accent and Genesis.

So what is a Veloster? It is a kind of a "coupe." The quotation marks are needed because the Veloster actually has three doors, one on the driver's side that functions like a conventional coupe door and two on the passenger side, with a rear passenger side door.

It doesn't take much more than a cursory glance to see that the 2012 Hyundai Veloster offers a tantalizing package: A sharp exterior design, low starting price, sporty ride and exemplary fuel economy (40 mpg Highway).

I spent some time behind the wheel of this new, slightly odd looking creation, driving around Portland, Ore., to see if this package actually delivers on Hyundai's hype, and the company's recent track record of hits.

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How Much?

How Much?

The Veloster's starting price is $17,300, undercutting both the Mini Cooper and Honda CR-Z, two cars against which it could be expected to compete. Actual purchase price will be a little higher with options and other charges.

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Key Stats
  • Image Credit: Autoblog

Key Stats

-1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine
-138-hp, 123 lb-ft of torque
-Six-speed manual transmission or six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission
-28 mpg City/40 mpg Hwy with the manual, 29 mpg City/38 mpg Highway with the automatic
-Built in Ulsan, South Korea

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What We Like
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What We Like

Michael: I think that Hyundai is accomplishing a very tough thing in the Veloster -- getting the "young person's" car right. While it has a very affordable sticker price and fantastic fuel economy, it doesn't look or drive like an econo-box. In fact, this car is a blast to drive. A sporty suspension and excellent handling give even the most speed-hardened driver a shot of adrenaline around tight corners. Throw in the standard touch screen and available tech options like Hyundai's new BlueLink connectivity, and I think that this car is, in every way, a winner.

Autoblog: Given its light weight, you could be forgiven for expecting a cheap and bare-bones interior, but the Veloster's cabin is anything but. In fact, the level of standard equipment is nothing short of flabbergasting – especially for a car that starts at $18,060 (including $760 delivery).

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What We Don't Like
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What We Don't Like

Michael: The only knock against the Veloster was a pretty big blind spot on the rear passenger side. The design of the car makes changing lanes and merging a little tricky. Given that this can compromise driver and passenger safety, I have to shave off a couple of points. But an owner of the car will get used to it, and learn to adapt.

Autoblog: The sound that does come through from the engine and exhaust is uninspiring. While the Gamma [engine] isn't particularly raucous or coarse, it also isn't sporty. Hopefully Hyundai is leaving a more assertive soundtrack on the table for future variants.

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Bottom Line
  • Image Credit: Autoblog

Bottom Line

The only thing consumers really need to consider about the Veloster is if they are on board with the polarizing design. Bold, new cars like this are sure to alienate some people who are looking for a more conventional-looking vehicle. But if you like the way the Veloster looks, and you won't be alone, you should absolutely consider this vehicle. The balance struck between affordability, technology, fuel economy and performance will be exceedingly difficult to pass up.

AOL Autos Score:
  

(4.5/5)

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